Slagwerkduo Niels Meliefste en Claire Edwardes
Rüdiger Meyer - ý mMbira (35 minutes)
Damien Ricketson - Hol, Spannen, Luiden (18 minutes)
Louis Andriessen - Woodpecker (12 minutes)
Samuel Vriezen - Toccata III (10 minutes)
Jane Stanley - Celestial Dance (4 minutes)
This program was made possible with financial support from the Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst
Rüdiger Meyer - ý mMbira
Novels can be written in two ways. A John Irving for example might start with knowing only the first and last sentences of his book before gradually filling in the elaborate structure that separates them. Such writers usually claim to have to have a mental picture of the whole before being able to begin with the work itself. Another author on the other hand might begin a novel without having any idea of where it is going to lead and write the book in order to find out.
ý mMbira, which has nothing to do with Zimbabwean thumb pianos and perhaps everything to do with space and memory, is a composition of the latter type.
Damien Ricketson - Hol, Spannen, Luiden
The process of knowing, forgetting and remembering is a somewhat fluid interaction between the conscious and subconscious. The forces that drive us to forget knowledge, to block memory and at the same time strive to re-assemble and recreate memory and knowledge, provide both beautiful and incredulous insights into the workings of our mind and the act communication.
The first two movements 'Hol, Spannen', are based upon a narrative that is inevitably not realised. Technically, this involved the writing of a piece that was to never be literally heard. What is heard is a secondary narrative that meanders in and around the original in varying degrees of clarity and obscurity. While the basic intentions of the original are not forgotten, the narrator/composer_s need for drama and attention at a smaller time scale, results in a somewhat awkward and imprecise representation of the original.
In the third movement 'Luiden' however, all that is left is fragments of material from the previous movements without structure: images and impressions with no underlying narrative. In this way the character of the narration is remembered, but the intention is forgotten. Therefore a new narrative is extracted from these abstractions.
A certain subconscious however, pervades all three movements, just as instinct continues throughout the process of knowing, remembering and forgetting. It is this idea that provides the framework for a common treatment of the instruments. Like the skin and metal instruments of the second and third movements, the marimba is not treated melodically, but as a true percussion instrument: a convenient rack of wooden keys.
Hol, Spannen, Luiden was composed over 1996-97 in The Hague, The Netherlands. Many thanks to composers Louis Andriessen and Diderik Wagenaar for their feedback and especially to percussionists; Claire Edwardes for whom the work was written and premiered at the 1997 Sydney Spring Festival, and Alice Emor, for her constructive proofing and for premiering Hol in March 1997 in Amsterdam.
Louis Andriessen - Woodpecker
Louis Andriessen's Woodpecker was composed for the Tromp Concours 2000, which that year was devoted to percussion. The piece was inspired by the spectacular sound of many woodpeckers pecking away at Andriessen's temporary Princeton garden. However, Andriessen did not simply set out to naturalistically depict bird activity in his piece. By working with wooden percussion instruments that are both pitched (marimba) and in principle unpitched (woodblocks, temple blocks) the piece implicitly addresses the cultural styling of depictions of nature. The piece starts out with canon-like settings, and as the piece develops, the marimba's role becomes more pronounced.
'The sky was filled with winged men. Franklin stood among the mirrors, as the aircraft multiplied in the air and crowded the sky with endless armadas. Ursula was coming for him, she and her sisters walking across the desert from the gates of the solar city. [...] Happy now to be free of time, he embraced the great fugue. All the light in the universe had come here to greet him, an immense congregation of particles'
- from: J. G. Ballard, 'News from the Sun'
In the third in my series of Toccatas which explore the interweaving of diverse musical motions, two Glockenspiele play similar lines in different tempi and cause the material to echo back and forth between the two of them. Each section uses a different selection of materials, interlocking them in generally simple, repetitive ways and causing diverse interferences (harmonic, contrapuntal and form-relations) between the two voices. The result is a dense and dizzying web of implied voice leadings, types of motion and harmonic shadings. Differences between materials are not played out dramatically as contrasts to be resolved, but are made to play and interfere in a sequence of stretched presents. The form is at the same time completely static and completely dynamic. The sequences are interrupted by pauses and tiny crumbs of melodic solo writing, fragmentary remnants of linear time.
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