Black Business & Arno Hagenaars | Frank Witte: Works for Banjo

Go To Artist Page

More Artists From

Other Genres You Will Love
Avant Garde: Modern Composition Electronic: Experimental Moods: Type: Experimental
Sell your music everywhere
There are no items in your wishlist.

Frank Witte: Works for Banjo

by Black Business & Arno Hagenaars

Black Business charts new territory for banjo through eleven omnivoristic compositions by Frank Witte.
Genre: Avant Garde: Modern Composition
Release Date: 

We'll ship when it's back in stock

Order now and we'll ship when it's back in stock, or enter your email below to be notified when it's back in stock.
Continue Shopping
cd in stock order now
Buy 2 or more of this title's physical copies and get 10% off
Share to Google +1

To listen to tracks you will need to update your browser to a recent version.

  Song Share Time Download
1. Andante Al Dente
Black Business & Arno Hagenaars
5:30 $0.99
2. Machine II
Black Business & Arno Hagenaars
3:47 $0.99
3. Minimalarno Alias Nostalgia III
Black Business & Arno Hagenaars
10:03 $0.99
4. Lamentatione
Black Business & Arno Hagenaars
5:26 $0.99
5. H Arno H Banjo
Black Business & Arno Hagenaars
2:28 $0.99
6. Longing for More II
Black Business & Arno Hagenaars
6:26 $0.99
7. Thinking of Finland
Black Business & Arno Hagenaars
4:46 $0.99
8. Wrong
Black Business & Arno Hagenaars
5:09 $0.99
9. Requiem for a Space Banjo
Black Business & Arno Hagenaars
3:59 $0.99
10. Triptych
Black Business & Arno Hagenaars
5:14 $0.99
11. Stable Instability
Black Business & Arno Hagenaars
5:11 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
FRANK WITTE is a composer, musician and visual artist from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Born in 1951, he has been engaged in various forms of expression since early childhood.
Witte studied at the Tilburg Conservatory of Music with Jan van Dijk (composition), Marinus Kasbergen (music theory) and Pieter van Veen (recorders).
As a musician, he toured extensively with Airport, Bonfire, Black Business and Leonardo da Vintage, in the last two ensembles collaborating with his son Onno, a percussionist and sound engineer.
Witte has composed for a wide variety of instrumental and vocal combinations, ranging from progressive jazz rock and avant-gardistic works, to electronic and tape music. Sources of artistic inspiration include the incomprehensibility of nature with all its contradictions: the sun and moon, silence versus noise, humor and horror, people and animals, with all their peculiarities.
He currently lives and works in Noord-Brabant, a province in the south of the Netherlands.

Excerpts from a review in by Stormvogel

Frank Witte: Music For Banjo is peculiar, dark, sometimes grim, and the music is stimulating in a mysterious way. It follows “the undercurrent”, disrupts the endocrine gland system and dislocates the delicate soul, which can even be permanently affected, for which Witte and Hagenaars have included an anticipating and humorous disclaimer in the liner notes. For the eager enthusiast, the album is entertaining, exciting and adventurous from the beginning to the end. The music speaks to what it originates from: the imagination. From the start it is clear: here is an artist at work, a “sculptor”, a man with an artistic vision, a man with a mission. Actually, “good” doesn’t go quite far enough to qualify the album. It is not “beautiful” either. The music of Witte is not suitable for in the bedroom, unless the better half can appreciate shrill dissonants, strange time signatures and recalcitrant “Querstands”. This is theoretically not inconceivable, but unfortunately as good as theory itself. The music of Witte is also not suitable to be played in a retirement home, or it must be to “help” the worst cases. It is very suitable for children though, such as Strawinsky, Varèse, Coltrane and Zappa. Preferably heard all at the same time, and then really loud, maybe topped with a little bit of Stockhausen, to finish it off. Even animals will benefit from that. The music of Witte is not necessarily suitable for everyone; but certainly for athletes before the start of an important game. It all depends on the nature of the sport; snooker world champion Steve Davis cleared the table year after year on Mëkanïk Déstruktïw Kömmandöh from Magma.

The music of Witte "has mit Jazz nichts zu tun", to quote a famous statement by Austrian jazz pioneer Joe Zawinul. In “Works for Banjo”, the element of improvisation is limited to abstract and rhythmic atmospheres, synthesizers and percussion. Banjo virtuoso Arno Hagenaars exquisitely performs, while Frank Witte himself remains omnipresent as a composer, like an all-seeing eye across all layers of music, as a conductor, as a “performing composer”. The listener is constantly aware of the creator of this world, even though he is elusive and incomprehensible; an omniscient narrator, while on the other hand silent like an angel, like a druid with an incision in the vocal chords.
Witte is an ambiguous wizard, who usually packs his seriousness with ludity. We often see this in the artistic idiot savant, who seems deeply afraid of his own genius; who is fugitive for the heavy obligations it entails for heart and soul. The self-mockery is a defense mechanism of the genius, to tackle the fear of failure that comes with the urge for perfection. In the case of Witte, this is expressed through the airy liner notes of the tracks and the choice for a minimalistic artwork design.

The music of Frank Witte is Holland's last and only hope in dark days. It actually is "un-Dutch good", and has the allure to be embraced worldwide by the most influential culture figures, performed by the greatest talents, recorded in high fidelity in the best studios, and listened to by millions of people. If he was not a Dutchman, Witte might fit in a list with Terry Riley, Karl Heinz Stockhausen, Charles Ives or Philip Glass. He is an inspired autonomous artist, not stopped by anything or anybody from fulfilling his quest; who makes every effort to realize his own vision; an artist with a mission. From whom one may say afterwards that this person was truly a pioneer in the front line of music history.
Frank Witte can be proud of this absolute masterpiece.


1: Andante al Dente

The idea for this piece originated during a residency in Italy. It breathes the atmosphere of the rebellious and turbulent interbellum period.

“The first minutes of “Works for Banjo” will remind the Zeuhl-expert of Jannick Top's sinister “Ork Alarm”, the kind of tango that is heard in the Inferno of Dante's Comedìa.” (

2: Machine II

In search of a musical perpetuum mobile, a modulating atonal sequence has been integrated with the characteristic sounds of a machine.

“A perpetuum mobile, but increasing in volume and decreasing in the audible sound spectrum. Exactly what we want. Exactly what we are looking for. There is no way out, the banjo of Arno Hagenaars seems to laugh.” (

3: Minimalarno alias Nostalgia III

Childhood melodies of the composer, transformed into minimal music motifs, take the listener on a contemplative journey to an unknown destination.

“We actually thought that the repetitive motifs in this track were played on piano. It is always nice to be put off the scent, that's what we love. The composition is also called “Nostalgia” and under that name this music appeared earlier in the repertoire of Leonardo da Vintage, an ensemble of analog synthesizers. This version with banjo is much more dynamic due to the stirring drums of Onno Witte and the repetitive “piano” with reverberation.” (

4: Lamentatione

Scored for the unusual combination of solo voice, banjo, viola and cello, this persistent, tragic movement conveys a passionate expression of sorrow.

“Track 4 is touchingly performed and the first moment of rest on the album.” (

5: H Arno H Banjo

●●●● ●▬ ●▬● ▬● ▬ ▬ ▬ ●●●● ▬●●● ●▬ ▬● ●▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬
The title, written in Morse code, was used as the rhythmic basis for this composition, consisting of a dodecaphonic theme that develops into a cacophony of banjo melodies.

6: Longing for More II

Intricate banjo rolls, sophisticated percussion work and a cello improvisation are the ideal ingredients for an enjoyable musical piece that leaves one craving for more.

7: Thinking of Finland

This tranquil musical imaginary landscape is an atmospheric description of a land one never saw.

“Perhaps the most beautiful piece on the album.” (

8: Wrong

A profound fascination for the thin line between “wrong” and “right” has led to this energetic electro-acoustic creation, which is based on a Musique Concrète approach using prepared tapes and deconstructed sounds.

9: Requiem for a Space Banjo

The basis of this “galactic” elegy is a morphed recording of “Stung!”, composed and performed by Arno Hagenaars.

10: Triptych

Three confluent cinematic themes tell a haunting story that slowly builds up in tension and ends with an appropriate hint to Paganini’s “demonic” Caprice No. 24.

“An example of inspired ingenuity.” (

11: Stable Instability

The apotheosis! Black Business assumes no responsibility or liability for any physical or mental damage this album may have caused.



to write a review