"I wanted to write a requiem for a long time," says Dutch composer Joey Roukens. "When I was an adolescent, I used to be bowled over by the requiems of Mozart, Cristóbal de Morales and Cherubini's first requiem. What brilliant music! You don't experience such intensity with those composers anywhere else in their oeuvre." The Netherlands Chamber Choir and Amsterdam Sinfonietta will perform the world premiere of Joey Roukens' Bosch Requiem on Thursday 3 November 2022 at the Muziekgebouw. The work was commissioned by the Muziekgebouw and November Music with support from Ammodo. A public rehearsal on Wednesday afternoon will give the public the opportunity to witness the process of the genesis of this new composition.
"I kept the requiem structure but opened up the text material," Roukens says. "It has become a contemporary piece and not necessarily a Christian work. Even people who don't believe should be able to relate to it. I left out many Latin texts, replacing them with non-religious English poems linked to the requiem theme of death. You can hear elements that refer to Bach and Renaissance polyphony, the setting of the English texts is reminiscent of intimate pop songs."
"It is a spiritual work that oscillates between serenity and intensity. The tone is comforting and radiates acceptance. That's what I would prefer to hear myself at a funeral. I imagine that at such a moment you need comfort rather than music that emphasises grief. My requiem contains many calm sections that are meditative in character. Opposed to that are pop-like and bright, Stravinsky-like rhythms. You can find this contrast in all my pieces. I like working with contrasts, varying the expression."
A public rehearsal, on the day before the premiere, gives the audience the opportunity to witness the process of the creation of this new composition. In the presence of Joey Roukens, the finishing touches will be worked on. Afterwards, music journalist Frederike Berntsen will have a conversation with composer Roukens and with Tido Visser (artistic director of the Nederlands Kamerkoor).
In collaboration with and at the initiative of festival November Music, the Muziekgebouw has presented an annual new funeral mass written by contemporary composers under the title Bosch Requiem since 2017. This year's Joey Roukens was preceded by, among others, Kate Moore, Calliope Tsoupaki, Hawar Tawfiq and Korean-Dutch Seung-Won Oh.
Concerts on November 3, 4 and 5