Minimal Damage Albert van Veenendaal
solo prepared piano

Minimal DamageFoto: Cindy Heijnen

My fascination for the prepared piano started several years ago by hearing John Cage's Sonata's & Interludes. This astonishing and beautiful music opened up a completely new and unlimited perspective. Cage's music inspired me to start experimenting myself and over the years I developed various ways of altering the sound of the piano by positioning various objects and gadgets on and between the strings, transforming it into some kind of one-person percussion ensemble. My solo album with improvisations and compositions for prepared piano, Minimal Damage (Evil Rabbit Records #13) contains the results of the investigation into this intriguing world of sounds. It is a mixture of percussive and lyrical pieces, composed or improvised. And the exploration is ongoing. By playing solo concerts or using prepared set-ups in ensembles and by sharing insights with other pianists, listening to new music etc., new discoveries are made constantly. To be continued!

YouTube: Albert van Veenendaal speelt The Spy & The Vampire
(VPRO Vrije Geluiden, 20 maart 2011)

YouTube: Albert van Veenendaal speelt Frog Song
(VPRO Vrije Geluiden, 20 maart 2011)

YouTube: interview met Albert van Veenendaal
(VPRO Vrije Geluiden, 20 maart 2011)

YouTube: zo prepareer je een piano

Audio: Albert van Veenendaal solo tijdens VPRO Jazzlive weekend, Bimhuis, 10 maart 2011

Press quotes:

"This is a fascinating monologue. Through the prepared piano, astonishing sounds and sound combinations are generated and merged. Lyrical themes, african or almost balinese sounding, mesmerizing rhythms and repetitive mechanistic sound fragments are spun out brilliantly and in a well-balanced way. Van veenendaal reveals his soul in this surprising, captivating music that shines like a diamond." (Marc van de Walle, Jazzmozaik, december 2010)

"Van Veenendaal makes you believe that a prepared piano a la John Cage is primarily designed for jazz" (Remco Takken)

"Van Veenendaal's percussive style of playing is perfectly suited for the prepared piano, which is in fact a sort of “one-person percussion ensemble”. playful pieces like 'tear dance' or 'histoire pneumatique' are extremely rhythmical, and invite you to a peculiar dance and on top of it all, van veenendaal has a good ear for curious and catchy melodies. some of the themes keep echoing in your head for quite a while. it makes 'minimal damage' a varied, surprising album that puts the prepared piano on the map for once and for all. in the netherlands and well beyond." (Herman te Loo)

[...] His preference for scalar patterns and single-note lines emphasizes relationships to eastern and African traditions, sometimes setting up polyrhythmic dialogues between his two hands. Veenendaal doesn’t need much time to develop remarkable complexity: “Pirouetteke” is under two minutes and sounds like brilliant hand-drumming on chromatic drums or electronic sound sources. Given his general dedication to the keyboard, Veenendaal‘s occasional forays to the strings are especially noteworthy, as in the piece called “Whales” which mixes string stroking and keyboard thumps in an evocation of animal voices. The only piece credited to another composer is Mingus’s “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat,” which here sounds oddly like John Cage’s early sonatas for prepared piano. It has the tone of reserved lament with which it’s associated, but there’s also a quality that’s both playful and exotic, the engaging sense of a pan-cultural playground that links it to the other music here.
(Stuart Broomer, Point of Departure, Canada, december 2010)

back to top