"... things that exist are somewhere, because what is not is nowhere (...) Yet what is somewhere is in a place, and what is in a place is somewhere."
Everything that exists must be somewhere, according to Aristotle, so “place” is a fundamental category in our existence. Our sense of place is an important part of our experiences. The pieces that make up this series highlight these connections to ‘place’ in different ways.
The first composition in the series was called m2. This title refers to the small space of a living room concert for which it was intended. The four sections represent the four walls with repetitions as small niches and fermata as windows to the space outside. The first performance took place in the studio of the artist Michiel Knaven on a snowy December afternoon by recorder player Geesche Geddert, to whom this work is dedicated.
spaCe is a doubt is a song for mezzo-soprano and alto saxophone and an extension of m2. The text is a mesostichon (with the word SPACE as the central axis) derived from a reflection on space by Georges Perec in which a multitude of associations and ideas emerge about our relationship to places. Perec writes about the places that "might be points of reference" but is concerned that "time is going to wear them away" and concludes that places can only survive by meticulously describing them. spAce is a doubt was first performed in a small café by Berber Vis with Jos Baggermans on saxophone.
a fEw signs (written for Jelle Beckers) consists of twenty fragments in four parts that can be read like a poem: with short silences between the individual lines. It is also derived from m2, and like m2, the four sections represent the four walls of an interior space. Within these four sections, however, the space is viewed from different perspectives. They are the traces with which a faded place can be reconstructed.
Like an archaeologist exploring a site, marking and describing the traces, the twelve character pieces of scrAps from a traCe, written for RabbiT & HaaS (Tamara Laverman and Hanke Scheffer) explore our connections to "place" without ever naming a specific place.
In exiSt, space and time are demarcated, the fundamentals of which are probed in birthplAce. In depArture, the music meanders to other places, some untouChed (or untouchable), others full of piled-up memories as in attiC, or conversely unfamiliar and therefore unrecognisable places that make us feel disoriented (shaPeless).
In traCe, the pianists try to follow each other's trail, without finding each other; houSe is a hiding place and offers shelter. Using reference points, we continue our way in Points through a vulnerable landscape (frAgile), whose fading contours we try to preserve in retAin. In the end, space is only expressed in the things it contains: in incorPorated the world is internalized.
The stop-motion film that was created by Tamara Laverman to the music of scrAps from a traCe tells the story of Shell and his friendship for Schaap (sheep). It forms - complementary and independent - a visual counterpoint to the music, showing the fragility and imminent destruction of the space.
RabbiT & HaaS (Tamara Laverman & Hanke Scheffer) performing scrAps from a traCe
In connection to music we often talk about time, but rarely about place. Plato used the term “chora” for the place where abstract concepts were cast into transient, perceptable forms. In a sense, this is also a metaphor for music: a place where ideas take on an ephemeral form.
In Places, this materialization emerges in the alternation of four different themes in the fourteen sections that make up the piece. In the sections called Lines, the melodies of the first piece in the series, m2, are given a new counterpoint. The other sections, entitled Clouds, Circles and Colours, are more or less articulated manifestations of the same underlying basic material. The indeterminacy of some passages fits the "logic of the ambiguous" with which Plato's concept of "chora" is interpreted by philosophers.
fragment of houSe (#8 of scrAps from a traCe), with a 'cut up' quote from m2
Sketch for attiC (#5 of scrAps from a traCe)
tenor recorder (and piano ad lib.)
ca. 3 minutes
First performance: 10 December 2017, Atelier Koewegje, Zwolle by Geesche Geddert
Geesche Geddert performing m2
Text: after Georges Perec
ca. 6 minutes
First performance: 10 December 2019, Café De Kuiperij, Zwolle by Berber Vis, mezzo soprano and Jos Baggermans, saxophone
Jos Baggermans, saxophone and Berber Vis, mezzo-soprano performing spaCe is a doubt
ca. 7 minutes
First performance: pending
With video by Tamara Laverman
ca. 30 minutes
First performance: 15 April 2023, Akoesticum, Ede by RabbiT & HaaS (Tamara Laverman and Hanke Scheffer)
(unspecified instrumentation; at least 2 wind players, 2 string players, 2 percussionists, 2 singers)
ca. 10 minutes
First performance: 9 September 2022, Reulandzaal Conservatory Zwolle by the ArtEZ Project Orchestra, Harrie Janssen conducting
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