Hercules Segers mainly painted and etched mountainous fantasy landscapes, inspiring various artists and writers, including the Russian-French painter Nicolas de Staël and the Dutch poet Hans Faverey. In his composition, Elmer Schönberger reflects on the world of Segers and his townsfolk and contemporaries, including Sweelinck. Given Hercules Segers, music is like a landscape to disappear into.
Gezien Hercules Segers is after Seen Giacometti my second composition inspired explicitly with visual art. Seen Giacometti (2015) was a dance concert with a choreography from Beppie Blankert. In Seen Hercules Segers there is no dance, but live image, to an idea of Marijke van Warmerdam and Menno Otten. While I have not tried to compose Giacometti-like (whatever that may be) in Seen Giacometti, in Seen Hercules Segers I have strived to compose both full as well as empty landscapes of Segers into sound. Art with which I am feeling deeply connected, is art to disappear into.
Hercules Segers, older contemporary and fellow townsman of Rembrandt and Sweelinck, is known as the most original and innovative landscape artist of his time. As an etcher he was the creator of a mysterious oeuvre, which with its realism bordering on abstraction culminates in non-existent landscapes. Like Segers’ contemporary Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa was a source of inspiration for composers until well into the twentieth century, Segers has influenced a number of visual artists and writers, such as the Russian-French painter Nicolas de Staël and the Dutch poet Hans Faverey
Gezien Hercules Segers is presented in a program that moves between old music and visual arts. Stravinsky and Louis Andriessen added a fourth voice to Bach’s three-part Prelude in b minor; Otto Ketting cast a shadow over the Middle Ages in Quodlibet; Oliver Knussen borrowed more than just the title from Purcell in Upon one note, while his Reflection is inspired by Gauguin; Willem de Kooning gave his surname to De Kooning of Morton Feldman; and Stravinsky’s Double canon is an in memoriam for Raoul Dufy.
Score at the Donemus catalogue