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Art association "The Bond"          Print Version/Afdruk Versie

The ‘Bond’ operated as a worldwide agency and it is almost inconceivable that the preparation for and execution of the tours was in the hands of volunteers, enthusiastic co-operators, who carried out their tasks for the organisation in addition to their regular jobs.

It is unfeasible to give a historical overview of everything the 'Bond' has accomplished in the course of the pre- and post-war years. We must confine ourselves to the years after the transfer of sovereignty. Partly because we have the disposal of a lot of documentation-material on this period, and partly - and this may sound paradoxical - because it was preciselyin these turbulent years that the 'Bond' actually became unprecedentedly prosperous. Not only did the tours in the realms of music, theatre and ballet succeed each other in a rapid tempo, often they overlapped and performances, all over Indonesia, would take place at the same time.

In 1955, 291 performances were given; in 1956 (the 40th anniversary of the 'Bond’) the tours numbered 375, whereas one must consider the fact that virtually none of the tours would go off according to the original scheme: connections would sometimes be withdrawn, reservations would unexpectedly be cancelled, instruments that were brought overseas would, as a result of the hot and humid climate, refuse to work properly, in short, a range of unforeseen occurrences would draw on the talent for improvisation of both the artists and the organisers. One may wonder how the 'Bond' had earned such good reputation in the world, that it happened many times that artists of the international stage would turn to the representation of the 'Bond' in Amsterdam after they finished their tours, to inquire after the possibilities for a future tour. The goodwill that the 'Bond' had build up sprang from the fact that during their tours the artists would be accommodated at the private addresses of Dutch or Indonesian people who offered their hospitality to the local 'Kunstkringen'.

Apart from this, a short stay at Bali was often laid down in the contracts of tours of a somewhat larger dimension.

In 1951, the bass-baritone Laurens Bogtman gave his first recital. In the same year, a trio consisting of Jean Pierre Rampal (flute), Robert Veyron (piano) and the Dutch soprano Elisabeth Lugt gave a great number of performances in Indonesia.

In may 1952, the 'Bond' welcomed Walter Gieseking, who, in the course of his 10 days visit, would give 9 concerts.

It is impracticable to pass in review all the pianists who toured in Indonesia during the post-war years. Whilst confining ourselves to a few names only, we mention: Theo Bruins (1953), Cor de Groot (1954), Daniel Wayenberg (1955), Louis Ketner (1955), Eugene List (1956), Hans Richter-Haaser (1957) and Julius Kaetchen (1957).

Of the solo string-instrumentalists we mention the cellists Caspar Cassado (1953), Edmund Kurtz (1954) and the violinists Lola Bobesco, accompanied on the piano by her husband Jacques Genty (1951), Ricardo Odnoposoff with accompanist Gerard van Blerk (1955), Henryk Szeryng with Geza Frid (1956), Ruggiero Ricci with Carlo Bussotti (1957).

In the jubilee year 1956, the baritone Peter Pears performed at a series of recitals, accompanied by composer-pianist Benjamin Britten.

Attention was drawn to chamber music by performances of, amongst others, the Koeckert string quartet (1955), Robert Masters piano quartet (1956), the La Salle and the Parrenin string quartet (1956) and the Smetana quartet (1957).

This enumeration is only a pattern card of the activities that were achieved in the period after the transfer of sovereignty. Reports about this era are in general characterised by a somewhat negative approach in Holland, often placed in connection with a reputed post-colonialism. For that reason, it makes sense to point out that precisely in those years the interest in Indonesia increased in a great measure. The membership in every 'kring' and also thenumber of 'kringen', that wanted to join the 'Bond' increased to unprecedented heights. This rise proceeded for the biggest part from Indonesian 'kringen'. With the universities, especially in Djakarta and Bandung, and with radio Republik Indonesia a veryclose co-operation was effected, which led to a great number of student concerts and radio-broadcasts.

Useful contacts were developed between the 'Bond' and the 'Sticusa' (Stichting Culturele Samenwerking) (Foundation for Cultural Co-operation), that paved the way for two-way traffic: exchange of eastern and western cultural values. All the same, things came to an abrupt end: at the end of 1957 and the beginning of 1958 the political developments also deluged cultural life in Indonesia. The east-west relations in this field, that had unfolded in a promising way over the past years, were all blotted out. The escalating New Guinea-issue finally led to an exodus of Dutch people. The Sticusa was discontinued; the 'Bond' - as an organisation vulnerable because of the departure of numerous voluntary co-operators and the dispersal over the whole archipelago - vanished in a vacuum of a future that was at the time unknown.

H. van Weeren.

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