Willem Jeths – Monument to a Universal Marriage

On December 2dn ‘Monument to a Universal Marriage’ will be performed at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

I breathe your sweet breath
which comes forth from your mouth;
when I am reborn each day;
I behold your beauty every day./
[every new day I behold your beauty.]
I long for the sweetness of your voice,
like a taste of the northern breeze./
[It’s my desire that I may hear your sweet voice,
even in the North Wind]
Love shall bring life to my limbs.

Give me your hands, holding your soul, I shall embrace it and live.
Speak my name, again and forever:
it shall not sound without answer.

Give me your hands, holding your soul,
I shall embrace it and live.
Speak my name, [my love] again, [my love] and forever, [my love]
it shall not sound without answer
my love [my love] my love [my love] my love [my love] my love
love love.

After a love song found in the grave of King Teje; Egypt, 18th dynasty (3300 years ago)
taken from: “The Life and Times of Akhnaton Pharaoh of Egypt” by Arthur Weigall (1910/1920)

translation: Alan Gardiner/Em Angevaare

Monument to a Universal Marriage can be performed by Soprano and Alto or Soprano and Baritone or Tenor and Baritone

More about the concert

Monument to a Universal Marriage at Donemus

Listen to the original version

Bram van Camp – Music for 5 instruments

Het Collectief will give the world premiere of ‘Music for 5 instruments’ of Bram van Camp. The concert will be on December 2nd in Tivoli/Vredenburg…   

By simply taking “Music” as the title, the focus of the composition lies on the abstract, musical content without the listener’s imagination being guided beforehand by a story. Just because of the objectivity of the title, the experience of the music can go in all directions.
This idea also applied to Music for 3 instruments (2010), which resulted in a fruitful collaboration with Het Collectief, an ensemble that later commissioned this composition for the 5 instruments of their solid nucleus.

In both compositions, Bram van Camp searched for a fusion of the different instruments so that the compositions sound like they were played by one instrument. Although the instruments merge into one another in timbre and harmony, they rarely play simultaneously, so that they seem to be constantly searching for one another on a rhythmic level.

At the beginning of “Music for 5 instruments”, this is done by having the instruments imitate each other in different tempi. In this way, the music comes to life seemingly improvisationally. In the middle movement, the instruments merge using special techniques: whistle tones in the alto flute, multiphonics in the clarinet and high harmonics in the strings. The first major contrasts can only be heard in the last movement, where the instruments also enter into discussion with each other and evolve into a final climax.

Due to the intense collaboration with the musicians, it was possible to write a score in which each musician not only plays a virtuoso, quasi soloist part, but where the greatest challenge is reflected in the interaction between one and another.

More info about Bram van Camp

Music for 5 instruments at Donemus

Matangi Quartet plays Canto Ostinato

The Matangi Quartet will perform ‘Canto Ostinato’ of Simeon ten Holt on December 7th at the Nieuwe Kerk in The Hague and on December 9th at the Amstelkerk in Amsterdam…   

Just before the Dutch composer Simeon ten Holt changed the secular for something else, he spoke with the Matangi’s about a new string quartet to be composed. He felt himself too old to write one, but he advised the members of the quartet to dive into his rich oeuvre for piano and transcribe them for stringquartet themselves. In doing so, all the possibilities of the string instruments had to be used in particular; from ponicello to pizzicato and from sul tasto to battuto. And so they did! Come and listen to the result of Canto Ostinato Strings Attached on Friday 7 December at 20.30 in the Nieuwe Kerk in The Hague or on Sunday 9 December at 15.30 in the Amstelkerk in Amsterdam.

More info concert in The Hague, December 7th

More info concert in Amsterdam, December 9th


Calliope Tsoupaki – Composer Laureate

Donemus congratulates Calliope Tsoupaki who since November 25th has been appointed ‘Componist des Vaderlands (Composer Laureate)’ for the next two years. She will be the new ambassador of all composers and share with the world what composers do and how they work…   

Calliope Tsoupaki will take over from Mayke Nas, and before her Willem Jeths. She has now finished a new composition for panpipes. Premiere at December 10th by Matthijs Koene at the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the Dom, Utrecht.

In 2018 she had great premieres at the Holland Festival and the ZaterdagMatinee. Great projects are coming up. Stay tuned for more news about this ambassador of composers and contemporary music.

More about Calliope Tsoupaki at Donemus

Jan van Vlijmen – Kunst de Fuge

On Sunday, December 16th, Ensemble Montaigne will perform Jan van Vlijmen’s arrangement of ‘Die Kunst der Fuge’ in MaiHof Luzern. This arrangement was made in 2001 and recorded by the Dutch Viotta Ensemble…   

Every year on one of the last Sundays of Advent, musicians gather in a Swiss city for the performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s monumental work “The Art of the Fugue” – in the sense of a kind of meditation. Meditation here refers to two levels: on the large scale, it refers to the cycle of the years which the performances form, in the small case the work itself, which deals with the same principle in different forms: the fugue.

Bach’s Art of the Fugue is a work that was not written for a particular cast – in this context, the American composer John Cage once mentioned it in a lecture as an example of a work in music history in which coincidence plays a role. Introducing chance into music is the credit that is commonly attributed to John Cage.

The instrumentation to be used for the performances of the Ensemble Montaigne was written by the Dutch composer Jan van Vlijmen in 2001. It liberates the structure of Bach’s music in an almost analytical manner, using the instrumental instruments of the wind section (alto flute, Cor anglais, bass clarinet) and the line-up of the string quintet with only one violin but two violas, the ensemble’s register shifts conspicuously towards the depths. The result is a sound that in a peculiar way and reminiscent of the means of contemporary music to historical instruments – a meditation in the form of a flight of thought into distant times and lonely musical heights.

Read the old review in the Dutch newspaper ‘Trouw’

Jan van Vlijmen at Donemus

Van Vlijmen’s arrangement at Donemus

R. Escher and C. Debussy at Willem Twee (Den Bosch)

The hundredth anniversary of Debussy’s death is a great occasion with the Dutch composer that he strongly inspired: Rudolf Escher. This Dutch composer developed a unique style with the Debussy idiom as a starting point. He deserves much more attention for sure. On December 1st, there will be 3 concerts around Rudolf Escher and Claude Debussy…   

Concert 1: 15.00 uur

Debussy liet zich bij het schrijven van zijn sonate voor cello en piano inspireren door François Couperin. Doordat hij ook de pentatoniek en de heletoonsladder gebruikte, ontstond er een kleurrijke mix van barok en impressionisme. Het is één van de meest geliefde stukken uit het cellorepertoire. Veel minder bekend, maar daarmee niet minder indrukwekkend, is de Sonata Concertante van Rudolf Escher. De Nederlandse componist vertrok vanuit het idioom van Debussy, maar ontwikkelde steeds sterker zijn eigen taal. Laat u verrassen door dit meeslepende werk van Nederlandse bodem. Celliste Doris Hochscheid en pianist Frans van Ruth vormen al jarenlang een succesvol duo dat zich heeft gespecialiseerd in Nederlandse muziek. Tussen de stukken door geeft musicoloog Leo Samama een toelichting op de muziek.

Claude Debussy: Sonate voor cello en piano
Rudolf Escher: Sonate Concertante

concert 2: 16.45 uur

Arcana is één van de meesterwerken van Rudolf Escher. Hij schreef deze vierdelige suite in de oorlogsjaren, en de betekenis van Arcana (geheim geneesmiddel), was een symbolische verwijzing naar de oorlogssituatie. In Estampes laat Debussy zich van zijn exotische kant zien en horen; oosterse invloeden, een habanera en een virtuoze finale komen samen. Pianist Tobias Borsboom voert verder nog een selectie van de preludes van Debussy uit. Borsboom was prijswinnaar bij verschillende grote concoursen en wordt gezien als één van de beste jonge pianisten van Nederland.

Claude Debussy: Estampes, Préludes (selectie)
Rudolf Escher: Arcana

concert 3: 19.30 uur

Debussy en Escher wisselen elkaar af in dit concert. Hoewel Escher een heel eigen stijl ontwikkelde, klinkt er toch steeds een belangrijke overeenkomst met de muziek van zijn grote inspirator: een grenzeloos palet aan klankkleuren. Met Lars Wouters van den Oudenweijer (klarinet), Marieke Schneemann (fluit), Elisabeth Smalt (altviool) en Ellen Corver (piano) kunt u zich geen betere ambassadeurs voor deze bijzondere kamermuziek wensen.

Claude Debussy: Syrinx voor fluit solo,
La plus que lente, Beau Soir, Romance.
Rudolf Escher: Sonate voor klarinet solo,
sonate voor fluit solo, Trio voor klarinet, altviool, piano

More info about the concerts


Emre Sihan Kaleli – Adjacent rooms, for Borges

On December 12th, the ensemble xx. jahrhundert will perform Emre Sihan Kaleli – Adjacent rooms, for Borges. The concert will take place at the Off Theatre, Vienna with conductor: Peter Burwik…   

In this piece, Emre Sihan Kaleli aimed to create a continuous stream of different thoughts and emotions. It is not only that the consecutive sections significantly differ from each other, but also a number of contrasting layers are often superimposed, i.e. presented simultaneously. The music is dynamic with often and abrupt changes and goes to unexpected directions. The piece is inspired by the fictions of the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges and dedicated to his memory.

Adjacent rooms, for Borges at Donemus

More about Emre Sihan Kaleli

More about the ensemble xx. jahrhundert

Petra Strahovnik – Prana

The newly written piece Prana is commissioned by RTV Symphony Orchestra in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The premiere will be held on the 11th of December in Gallus hall of the Cankar Centre. Rossen Milanov will be the guest conductor of the evening…   

The piece of Petra Strahovnik is written for Large orchestra and soloists, spread around the concert hall in order to achieve a live effect of surround sound. The orchestra gave Strahovnik the opportunity to experiment and try out new techniques and use of the preparations, such as magnets on Strings, Styrofoam on Piano and Harp, etc. The sound sculpture which comes from the basic use of those preparations is so interesting and refreshing, that the whole orchestra agreed to prepare their instruments.

The inspiration for the piece came from the idea of creating and capturing the atmosphere of attraction between two contrasting poles (e.g. magnetic resonance). The concept of capturing Prana, as the breath, considered to be a life-giving force. “Prana is seen as a universal energy which flows in currents in and around the body.”

More about the concert

Prana at Donemus

Hanna Kulenty – Double Cello Concerto

On Tuesday, November 27th, Magdalena Bojanowicz and Bartosz Koziak and the Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra will give the world premiere of Hanna Kulenty’s “Double Cello Concerto”. This concert is part of the 1st International Music Festival of Central-Eastern Europe EUFONIE…   

For years Hanna Kulenty has been dealing with the phenomenon of time in music. Music is for her the most perfect language to express this so-called “time” in the most appropriate way. The art she deals with, is an attempt to touch metaphysics. By trying to subdue the phenomenon of time she tries to purify the so-called soul – katarsis and body – emotion.

For her, imitating nature, interpreting nature, e.g. imitating the glissando of a flying plane, imitating the glissando of the wind, interpreting the singing of birds, dolphins, whales, bees, frogs, cicadas, even people and some human deeds is art. Art is perfection in a worthy, noble imitation of nature. Art is perfection in the interpretation of nature.

Art is to touch mysticism and the art is to convey it. Kulenty tries to embrace this cosmos with her human senses, where everything is in its own time, and she only transforms this time, slowing down or accelerating this cosmic nature. And here she shares another conclusion: art is to slow down or accelerate the time of nature. The unrealisation of nature’s time, the unrealisation of nature, the unrealisation of time. This is the art she wants to do by writing subsequent works, like her “DoubleCelloConcerto”.

She presents musical surrealism in this “DoubleCelloConcerto”. Recently she called her music not only “polyphony of space-time”, but also “Musique Surrealistique”. Because she is a composer who consciously connects and will combine individual musical elements in such a way as to change time.

For example, she tries to stretch the melody so that the apparent lack of contact with this melody strikes our subconscious, or she tries to accelerate this melody so that there is no room for any reflection, and only our subconscious guesses to the possible prose of this melody. She changes time for the musical elements. Changes their states.

Hanna Kulenty calls herself a music surrealist, not a conventional surgeon, because she does not “bury” in the convention for the sake of compositional principle or technique, but only “rubbing” against the convention. She is a music surrealist because she conveys to the listener the states and emotional gestures that may accompany the convention, but do not have to. She is more interested in imitating and transforming nature directly than in imitating someone else’s imitation, i.e. convention.

Emotional gestures, which should move, have been known since the beginning of music’s existence and this is what interests her the most. She’s interested in making these gestures unreal and the fact that there are elements of a convention at the same time, such as a “human” melody, is a secondary matter.

She doesn’t “play” with e.g. Baroque, but plays with the emotional state, the energy that can accompany Baroque. Not afraid of emotions, because music is, and perhaps even above all, emotion. That is why she prefers to move rather than bore. And this is precisely the attempt to move, move her musical surrealism, immersed in the polyphony of space-time continuum, she will undertake once again.

With great pleasure, she presents “DoubleCelloConcerto”, which is dedicated to great soloists: Magdalena Bojanowicz and Bartosz Koziak. The title “DoubleCelloConcerto” is deliberately written continuously and in capital letters. It is supposed to suggest the musical trance that Kulenty wants to achieve in this work.

The parts of both cellos throughout the piece, regardless of the changing “themes”, form an inseparable musical tissue that resembles the natural delay of one or the other cello: the signal and the echo of the signal. It does not matter which of the soloists initiates the leading narrative. The soloists exchange both the initiation of the narration and their echoes. Sometimes it is a very short echo, sometimes longer, sometimes the cellos play in a rhythmic unison, so that in a moment they “divide” again more or less. In the culmination of the piece, the cello is gradually added in both parts also electronic delay, which is supposed to strengthen and make even more unreal the already unreal, already existing music material. 

The first (the name is conventionally) “theme” of the song is a simple, calm and nostalgic melody, as if a pop song, maintained on the sound plane, resembling the key of C major. The pop melody rises upwards in a somewhat predictable way. Why is the development of the melody “in a certain sense predictable”? Because by raising the sound tissue upwards, human emotions naturally and physiologically grow as well. Kulenty wants them to grow because she can now cut them off in an unpredictable way and thus control emotions. The unpredictability in this predictability lies in disturbing this nostalgic emotion with a different, violent and surprisingly contrasting emotion.

The second “dam” will be the aggressive, sharp “interludes” of this pop melody, which are based on the Hindu scale, always initiated from the sound of F sharp – this is precisely the contrast. It is never known when the “interlude” will break the calm of the melody and here the main tension of the initial phase of the piece is built up. The specific bitonality of these musical tissues develops for several to several minutes. It accelerates the tempo and pulse. The melody is consistently replaced by “interludes” developing in their virtuoso matter, which finally become the most important. Fortunately, however, the pop melody has “nestled” in the subconscious for good. We are waiting for it all the time. It is supposed to be like that! Will she come back?. For now a secret.

The third “theme” is the rock climax of the song. It is a “gallop” of the cello, which also culminates, with natural delay, and finally also with electronic delay. Against this background also the culminating drums. Total trans? A ritual? Yes. The third theme is also the natural culmination of the second theme. We are waiting for it, we expect it, but we never know when it will happen.

The second theme transforms into the third theme fluently, organically. The structure of music changes from jazz-and-Hindu music to more rock music. The orchestra, in the whole construction of the “overlapping” of these three themes by solo cellos, participates under similar conditions: narration and echo, light and shadow, black-and-white, one would like to say: zero-one….

So, without stops, without division into parts, without a “hold”, we will rush into her cosmos, controlled by her emotions, her compositional skills and her choice of music, which she wants to write and which cannot be imposed on her in any way. So she won’t be “inventing”, but she’ll enjoy her next combinations and permutations of orchestral instruments, the sequences of which have not been exhausted yet for a long time, and which music can restore emotions and give emotions back to the music. 

Through the sounds of the two cellos of the soloists and the orchestra, Kulenty will “sculpt” in her own subconscious, superconscious, sur-conscious… Or, if you prefer, she will continue to discover her sub-reality, over-reality, sur-reality…. – “Musique Surrealistique” – and share it with others. “Musique Surrealistique” is, in Kulenty’s opinion, the future of music, and “DoubleCelloConcerto” is one of the ways of this realization.

Donemus network meeting!

On Friday, January 11th, the Donemus Foundation welcomes composers, musicians and other music friends at the Hague Tower.
Enjoy the view, meet your friends.
A time to reflect on 2018
and discuss our ambitions for 2019…