World premiere 'Memorial' by Tarenskeen this autumn

Opera and architecture meet in an interdisciplinary performance on the art of commemoration. A project byBoudewijn and Bo Tarenskeen in cooperation with the Royal Military Band 'Johan Willem Friso' and Mecanoo architectsFrancine Houben and Rodrigo Bandini.

Commemorative monuments come in all shapes and sizes. From the stumbling stone, a dull shiny copper nameplate, a miniature monument measuring ten by ten centimetres in a pavement, to a field of 19,000 square metres with 2,710 solid blocks of grey concrete in Berlin. And somewhere in between, the sixty pairs of bronze empty shoes along the Danube in Budapest, and the new Monument to the Names in Amsterdam. Large or small, moving or confrontational: is there such a thing as the ultimate monument? The two collaborating architects in architects in Memorial, played by Marcel Reijans and Arnout Lems, think so.

But one is a rigid utopian, he wants to impress, he sings about 'a metre-high arm of reinforced concrete, with a clenched fist at the end'. reinforced concrete, with a clenched fist at the end'. The other is a doubter in search of for the human scale, averse to sentiment. Memorial is about the war that continues during Memorial is about the war that continues during each commemoration. About bickering and misunderstandings, where silence and reflection would be reflection would be appropriate.

Francine Houben, the grande dame of Dutch architecture, and her Mecanoo colleague Rodrigo Bandini make sketches of various possible and impossible monuments, based on the libretto. possible and impossible monuments, projected on a large scale above the orchestra during the performance. the orchestra. In this way, the performance is a meeting of opera and architecture.

Boudewijn Tarenskeen

In this new work Boudewijn Tarenskeen will, as is customary for him, fall back on genres such as opera, recital and oratorio. Genres which he calls comatose because they are weighed down by rigid formal conventions, to which he adds, in his words, 'reluctantly and sparingly, a few commas'. In the case of Memorial, his choice inevitably falls on the national anthem Het Wilhelmus, which will form the basis of Memorial's music. Because the melody, in its rough beauty, leans towards Bach's chorale O Haupt vol Blut und Wunden (Head full of Blood and Weeds), and because the melody always sounds like an echo of the military chapel at the Memorial Day service on Dam Square. Majestically, the song will unfold here, repeatedly, cyclically, infinitely, dismantling itself until there are no more than a few shards left, barely recognisable fragments. In this, Tarenskeen follows in the footsteps of his great examples György Kurtág and Giacinto Scelci, the masters of purposeful frugality.

Royal Military Band 'Johan Willem Friso

The 53-piece Koninklijke Militaire Kapel 'Johan Willem Friso', part of the Royal Netherlands Army Royal Netherlands Army, played the well-worn sounds at the commemoration of the dead in Amsterdam. Ceremonial music within traditional military ceremonies forms the main of the repertoire. Now the orchestra is venturing into a newly composed music drama out of social commitment, the military orchestra is participating in this project. project.

In the beginning, the music still unmistakably refers to the Dutch National Anthem, but when both architects run into architects run into difficulties, the music also reveals the unattainability of the utopia. All those military orchestras who want to perform at the foot of our monument', the architects jubilate at the start of the drama, "a sound wall of history!
The painful unfeasibility of their ideal, but the inevitable loss of their optimism is at least as impressive.

November 6 2022 - Theater aan de Parade, ’s-Hertogenbosch - Festival November Music

November9 2022 - Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, Amsterdam - herdenking Kristallnacht, Amsterdam

November 10 2022 - Amare, The Hague

More info

World premiere 'Memorial' by Tarenskeen this autumn on Spotify

World premiere 'Memorial' by Tarenskeen this autumn on SoundCloud

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