The chamber music group Het Collectief was founded in 1998 in Brussels. Working consistently from a solid nucleus of five musicians, the group has created an intriguing and idiosyncratic sound, achieved by an unfamiliar mix of strings, wind instruments and piano.
Over the years, Het Collectief has developed a strong affinity with music from the United States. What struck us most in our quest for the most convincing pieces from that repertoire was its enormous diversity of a typically ‘American style’, there can be no question whatsoever: each composer gives of modernism his highly personal interpretation.
The godfather of American experimental music is undoubtedly Charles Ives .In some ways, the revolutions in composition brought about by Schoenberg and Stravinsky pale before the daring avant-garde experiments of this insurance agent and amateur composer from Connecticut.
In a similar vein, the ‘Bad Boy of Music’ George Antheil caused quite a stir with his modernist adaptations of jazz and light music. Time and again, his provocative compositions met with riots in concert halls.
After the Second World War, the experiment was carried on with the same intensity as before. George Crumb created his very personal sound universe by developing a large number of alternative playing techniques. As for John Cage and Morton Feldman they are widely known for their conceptual music. In their compositions, sound, silence, time and space are turned into tangible notions. All this is without mentioning ‘Minimal Music’. This distinctly American musical style is based on a mesmerizing repetition of slowly transforming sound patterns. Steve Reich was and still is the protagonist of this current.