Forms of opposition at the “Politiek‐Demonstratief Experimenteel” concert

Adlington, R. (2009) Forms of opposition at the “Politiek‐Demonstratief Experimenteel” concert. In: Sound Commitments: Avant-garde Music and the Sixties. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 56-77. ISBN 9780195336658 (paperback) 9780199868551 (e-book)


This chapter focuses on a singular event in the musical life of late‐1960s Amsterdam: a “political‐demonstrative experimental concert”, which brought together many of the leading lights of the Dutch musical avant‐garde, including Louis Andriessen and Peter Schat. At the time of the concert, its organisers—like many other avant‐garde musicians of the period—were newly in thrall to the social and cultural model of Castro's Cuba. Yet coexistent with this commitment was an equally strongly held belief in the apolitical nature of music itself. Closer investigation of the works performed at the concert reveals, however, that their musical processes were significantly shaped by the composers' earlier interest in anarchism. The resulting “forms of opposition” were not easily reconciled with their creators' new passion for communism.

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