'Some friendships grow gradually, ours I remember as one that was immediately there in full force,' Elmer Schönberger writes in Keten & stompen about the many years he and Louis Andriessen played the piano, engaged in conversation, at the age of twenty-one, drank whiskey, gossiped, wrote each other letters and commented on each other's work. The instigator of the friendship was their shared love of Stravinsky, about whom they wrote the still-leading monograph The Apollonian Clockwork in 1983. It all began shortly after the premiere of The State (1976), the composition that sowed the seeds of Andriessen's worldwide fame, and ended almost half a century later with glimpses of unabridged alliance in the nursing home where Andriessen spent his final days, lost in spirit but still inimitably himself.
Trips to Stravinsky, hours with Bach, premieres in America, proletarian shopping in Switzerland, compositions from Hoketus to May and from The Time to Agamemnon: life and work are one in this intimate account of a friendship. Keten & stompen, which aims to be a response to a powerful sense of lack, contains some of Schoenberger's most personal pages.
Composers in the crosshairs of our attention