On 6 May 2020 it will be sixty years since Jan Rokus van Roosendael, one of the leading Dutch composers of his generation, was born. He left behind a very versatile oeuvre that is still important, especially right now. His interest in bringing together world music and modern classical music fits in seamlessly with trends in our contemporary pluriform society. On the occasion of his sixtieth birthday, there is now a YouTube channel in which his music, which still amply deserves a place in contemporary concert programs, is once again in the limelight…
Each phase of Van Roosendael’s career produces other interesting music. In his early works, such as Facetten (1981) and Chamber Music (1982), he is still searching for his way and tries to give his great examples, including Igor Strawinsky, a place, without losing his voice.
From the late eighties onwards he searched for other sources and eventually ended up with non-Western cultures. Especially the cyclical form and rhythmic principles from countries like India and Indonesia made a great impression on him. In that phase, he created his musical universe in which modal elements and musical concepts from other cultures found a place. This resulted in works such as Tala (1987) and Windows (1996).
In his compositions after 1996, he was inspired by Western European vocal polyphony and church music from before 1600. Also in his instrumental music from this period, religious sensitivity is evident.
Van Roosendael’s complete oeuvre can be heard as his life course. My music is the philosophy of life’, he once said. A YouTube channel Jan Rokus van Roosendael will be launched on his birthday. It will be supplemented in this year of remembrance. The double CD Static Motion (Attacca, 2008) with an overview of the composer’s most important works is available via the website www.janrokusvanroosendael.com.
Photo Marco Borggreve