Endless House



Ivo van Emmerik - Database © 2019

Programme note

The Endless House is not a real building, but an idea for a new architecture by Frederick Kiesler (1890-1965), of which he, despite years of designing, has never been able to realize anything. The starting point was to design an 'elastic' open space that can be subdivided by the residents into different rooms that meet the life needs of the moment. The function of the Endless House is "to shelter those 'continuous mutations' of the life-force (…)."


The music in my composition ‘strolls’ from one room to another in a continuous movement, always changing, like Endless House, its musical 'function': there are 'waiting rooms' in which you hear the time ticking away, 'living rooms' in which conversations take place, 'bathrooms' where you see each other in the mirror and 'bedrooms' where thoughts turn into dreams.


This intrinsic architectural flexibility is expressed in various ways in the formal strategies of the composition: for example, there are no measures, but only time zones that are characterized by different pulses and gradual changes in tempo; harmony is not formed by a succession of chords, but by intervals that form an expanding and shrinking sound complex.


Larger parts of the work are dominated by the exploration of the interior of the sound: a variety of overtone combinations (multiphonics in the pianos) that show the world behind the sound surface.


scored for 

  • 2 pianos and
  • 2 percussionists:

- [1] woodblock, guiro, tamtam, 2 bongos, 3 sheets of paper, a jug and a water bowl, vibraphone (with bow);

- [2] 2 templeblocks, ratchet, 2 tomtoms, 2 timpani [range: d-f], a jug and a water bowl, marimba (with bow))

Duration: c. 20 minutes



Ivo van Emmerik introducing Endless House (2019) at the first performance in Zeewolde, 12 April 2019. Photo: Jasper van Emmerik

    First performance:

    12 April 2019, De Verbeelding, Zeewolde  by Doppio Kwartet (Tamara Laverman & Hanke Scheffer, piano; Helmer Bijl & Robert Bullinga, percussion)

    Doppio Kwartet (from left to right: Helmer Bijl, Robert Bullinga, Tamara Laverman, Hanke Scheffer). Photo: Mariavi Molina