Maarten Altena (1943, Dutch)

Compiling discographies of labels such as HatArt, NM Classics, Donemus Composer’s Voice, Attacca Babel, I happened oftentimes on the Maarten Altena Ensemble, but I always assumed it was an ensemble of Dutch free jazz or something. Apparently, yes and no. Altena is a conservatory-trained contrabassist, and his activities as performer and composer straddle both contemporary jazz and contemporary classical. The one disc by his Ensemble that I’ve heard so far, Working on Time, on NM Classics, is great. It contains a composition of his, Dowlands, an elaboration on two Dowland songs, not the most original piece in the program, but his orchestration is quite taking. He’s now quite his activities with the ensemble he founded to devote himself to composition. See his website for more, and a discography, where strangely that NM Classics CD is omitted.

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