On Wednesday December 18, Insomnio will play a special concert with works by Bernard Benoliel (1943-2017). This unknown composer wrote 15 uncompromising works in often very unusual instrumentation, half of which were never performed before.
With this concert, Insomnio offers its listeners a unique opportunity to be the first to experience works by Benoliel that were never heard in live performance up to now. Unconventional music that demonstrates craftsmanship and adventure…
– The Black Tower Variations (1968, rev. 1999; 14 min.). For soprano and 12 instruments.
– Invoking Sonic Stone (2003, 40 min.). One of his core works, for an extremely unusual instrumentation with e.g. church organ, amplified piano and viola, 10 timpani and all kinds of percussion. Underlying to this work is the 9th-century hymn Veni Creator Spiritus.
Like many great composers before him, Bernard Benoliel was uncompromising in his artistic choices. He sometimes opted for very unusual instrumentations, making his works difficult to perform. Only now do possibilities exist for this, so that the entire oeuvre of this hitherto unknown composer can be unlocked.
During the concert, a further explanation of the composer and his works will be given by Bruce Walter Roberts, who has known Benoliel very well, and Ulrich Pöhl, conductor of Insomnio.
All of Benoliel works will soon be published by Donemus and posthumously recorded on CD. Insomnio was the first to be asked to contribute to this project and will be entering the studio in January 2020 for this purpose.
Bernard Benoliel was born in 1943 in Detroit (USA) from parents of very diverse origins. He died in Amsterdam in 2017. He was a musicologist by training and gained fame and a social position in England as the administrator of the Vaughn Williams Trust, from which he could offer opportunities to many young composers. Benoliel was someone with a profound interest in philosophy by, among others, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Thoreau and poets such as Whitman or Emily Dickinson.
As a composer, Benoliel has always been looking for his own sound. His music is rooted in the canon of our music history (Beethoven, Brahms), but his musical sources of inspiration were mainly Schoenberg, Wolpe, Busoni, Skriabin and Varèse. Benoliel’s work is quirky, often with wonderful instrumentations. He has never had the opportunity to hear half of his work performed.