Duke Ellington’s jazz and classical music in Amsterdam church

This video from the Netherlands says about itself:

When Amsterdam expanded in western direction in the beginning of the 17th century, new churches were needed. One of these new churches was the Westerkerk (The Western church), built between 1620-1638. The initial designer of the Westerkerk was Hendrick de Keyser, whose son Pieter took over after his father died in 1621.

On 15 November 2015, there was a concert in the Westerkerk in Amsterdam. This church is not far from the Anne Frank House. Anne Frank could see the church’s tower from her window in the secret annexe during World War II.

The big church was full of people for the concert. There ware many people on stage as well. The Nationaal Symfonisch Kamerorkest this time, besides their usual classical music instruments, had jazz instruments like drums and saxophones as well.

There was also a big choir. Really, a merger for this concert of two Amsterdam choirs: GrootNoord, from the north of the city. And Singi Nanga Firi, a Surinamese name for a multicultural Christian choir.

Westerkerk concert flyer

The music was by Michael Tippett, a British classical composer, inspired by African American music in the ‘Five Negro Spirituals’ in his work A Child Of Our Time. After Tippett came the Sacred Concert, by famous United States jazz musician Duke Ellington, with classical music influences as well. This was the first time ever for Ellington’s Sacred Concert in the Netherlands, as one needs many people to perform it. Tippett’s Spirituals had been performed only rarely in the Netherlands.

This music video, recorded in Hong Kong in 2007, is called Michael Tippett: Go Down, Moses.

The five spirituals, performed in Amsterdam, were: Steal away to Jesus; Nobody knows the trouble; Go down, Moses; By and by; and Deep river.

While they are Christian religious songs, based on the Bible, there is an undertone of the struggle for freedom in African American history, against slavery and discrimination. Eg, in parallels with the Bible story of ancient Israelites escaping from slavery in Egypt, led by Moses.

This undertone of secular opposition to oppression within religious music is also present in Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concerts. They frequently have the word ‘freedom’, sometimes in many languages. The Christian right in the USA did not like that, claiming that Ellington had ‘polluted’ religion with jazz.

This music video, recorded on 17 March 2013 in San Marino, is called Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concerts (Full Concert).

Duke Ellington wrote three Sacred Concerts. In 1993, a compilation of these three was arranged by John Hoybye and Peder Pedersen. The Amsterdam performance was based on that compilation.

There was much applause after the music stopped.

Wigeon and tufted ducks

This video is called Wigeons – Anas penelope.

Today, 25 October 2015, to Waterland, the region just north of Amsterdam city (partially part of Amsterdam local authority).

Near a ship close to the Schellingwoude bridge, about a dozen tufted ducks resting in the water.

As the walked along the IJsselmeer dike to Durgerdam, starlings sitting on top of masts of yachts.

Between Durgerdam and Ransdorp, about a hundred wigeons in a ditch and on its banks.

From the hide: grey lag geese, grey heron.

Just before Ransdorp: a great egret flying.

Back to Schellingwoude. A male gadwall duck swimming in
a canal.

Mute swans in a ditch.

A flock of Egyptian geese in a meadow.

A great crested grebe swimming.

Squirrel lives saved by rope bridge in Amsterdam

This video shows a red squirrel in a forest in the Netherlands. Irma Kion made this video.

Three years ago, a rope bridge was made between the Amstelpark and the Amsterdamse Bos forest in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Before that wildlife bridge came, many red squirrels had been killed crossing the busy road.

Now, the squirrels use the bridge. No roadkill animals have been found there any more.

Kingfisher cleans himself in Amsterdam, video

A day aftyer the young kingfishers have fledged, their father cleans his feathers, in a park in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Bram made this video.

2015, good year for Dutch kingfishers: here.

Forty kingfisher nests, bats in Amsterdam

This video is about a kingfisher nest.

Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands. Even in this urban environment, animals live.

This morning, Amsterdam ecologist Anneke Blokker talked about these animals on Dutch radio.

She said about forty kingfisher couples nest in Amsterdam. This Internet page says thirty couples, but may be outdated.

According to Ms Blokker, there are at least eight bat species in Amsterdam; the most frequent species being the common pipistrelle. Maybe there are more species, including the soprano pipistrelle.

Young long-eared owl in tree, video

This video shows a young long-eared owl in a tree in an allotment complex in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

George VanLente made the video.