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Brucknercasco

Frieda Gustavs & Christiaan Richter

the composer

Frieda Gustavs & No.2

the ensemble

Lonelinoise

the composer

Christiaan Richter No.5

the ensemble

Camerata Rco

Sunday September 15, 15:00

Muziekgebouw | Order Ticket

New piece by Frieda: Imagine, you’re sitting below and 20 trombones are playing from the surrounding balcony of the Muziekgebouw above you, while Pitou Nicolaes and Jasmine Karimova, together with Frieda, sing about what is so different in our time compared to Bruckner’s time, but also about things that don’t change at all. Frieda’s four letters to her great-great-grandmother tell the story. Listen to Frieda’s Feed me Colors and hear what’s in store for you.

New piece by Christiaan: Christiaan is a hardcore Bruckner fan and especially loves his 5th Symphony. Christiaan merges all four movements of this symphony into a 45-minute super finale in which the sieved, pressed, and rinsed material is performed by two quintets and a piano. Christiaan promises that the piece will be disruptive for listeners. Listen to Christiaan’s Wendingen and hear what’s in store for you.

the composer

Frieda Gustavs

Imagine, you’re sitting below and 20 trombones are playing from the surrounding balcony of the Muziekgebouw above you, while Pitou Nicolaes and Jasmine Karimova, together with Frieda, sing about what is so different in our time compared to Bruckner’s time, but also about things that don’t change at all. Frieda’s four letters to her great-great-grandmother tell the story. Listen to Frieda’s Feed me Colors and hear what’s in store for you.

Frieda has composed innovative and acclaimed music for the Opera Forward Festival and the Holland Festival. Frieda draws inspiration from centuries-old polyphony and anything with a voice. She is fascinated by Mongolian throat singing, Bulgarian women’s voices, world music, and contemporary artists from all genres. Frieda enjoys storytelling in her pieces, using essential texts and narratives, sometimes accentuating her zeitgeist with visual elements and often directing her performances herself.

the new composition

‘Elisabeth’

Frieda on her new composition: “In celebrating Bruckner’s birthday, we look back in time. His name and those of his contemporaries are familiar and often associated with the term ‘composer.’ I wanted to become aware of how far back we are truly reaching and called my grandmother Jorinde, my source of information when it comes to the past. Together, we discovered the following: When Bruckner’s Second Symphony premiered at the same time as the World Exhibition in 1873, my great-great-great-grandmother Elisabeth was a young woman, about the same age as I am now. That spans six generations and five generations back: 6. Elisabeth Schnorr von Carolsfeld (born Kerner, from 1857), 5. Maria (born 1885), 4. Ingeborg (born 1910), 3. Jorinde (born 1943), 2. Svea (born 1966), 1. Frieda (born 1996).

  • Svea, the mother of Frieda, in the dress of her great-great-grandmother Maria; in the middle is Frieda’s sister, and on the right is Frieda herself.
  • On the left is Johanna (Maria’s sister), in the middle is Maria (her great-great-grandmother), and on the right is Elisabeth (her great-great-great-grandmother).

My grandmother Jorinde doesn’t remember much about her great-grandmother Elizabeth, except that her husband died young and that she raised her three daughters as a widow. With the interest from her shares in the mines owned by her family, the three women could afford several trips to Italy, a luxury grand tour from Saxony, Germany, at the time. My own great-grandmother Ingeborg died a year after I was born, and I know her only from stories that have been told to me. Will I still remember these stories in 50 years? And yet, we remember Bruckner’s music, which has a time-transcending power that even surpasses the span of grandmothers’ tales. That is more impressive than I realized. With the piece ‘Elisabeth,’ I want to use the time-traveling power of music to connect with my great-great-great-grandmother. I want to tell her about the things that have changed enormously but also about the things we might have in common.

To maintain the time-transcending link created by Bruckner’s music, I try to incorporate as many structural elements as possible. The piece will have four movements:

1. Moderato (mässig bewegt): A movement where I tell her about the changes on the planet and nature in C minor over the past 150 years.

2. Andante (feierlich, etwas bewegt): A movement in C minor where I tell her about how the role of women in society has changed.

3. Scherzo (mässig schnell): A movement in A-flat major where I tell her about my profession, being a composer, and how my search for inspiration must be similar to that of composers from her time, even though the profession has changed significantly.

4. Trio (gleiches Tempo): A movement in C minor where I tell her about the people around me who come from all corners of the world.

These four ‘letters’ will be set to music, both literally and purely musically. ‘Elisabeth’ will be performed by a trombone choir of 15 musicians, with Sebastiaan Kemner as the first trombone. This choice of instruments will contribute to a timbre reminiscent of Bruckner’s music. Together with Jasmine Karimova and Pitou Nicolaes, I will convey the sung parts of the letters to the audience. Pitou and Jasmine are both distinctive singers/composers who, with their background in songwriting, help the performance bridge the boundaries between genres to reach a wider audience. Bruckner’s Second Symphony, with its many falling silences (jokingly called the ‘Pause Symphony’), has a strong narrative quality. Not just narrative, but also telling. I want to reflect this aspect in my piece. Various motifs, chord progressions, or rhythmic cells that are characteristic of the symphony for me will return to strengthen the link between then and now. Will Elisabeth answer?

the singers

Pitou Nicolaes & Jasmine Karimova

Pitou had an early interest in music, initially with a love for classical music. From the age of ten to fifteen, she sang in the National Children’s Choir. After high school, she returned to music and auditioned for the pop program at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. Solo, she primarily pursued pop music, especially in collaboration with the Kobra Ensemble. For Pitou, emotion always takes precedence over technique.

Jasmine Karimova is a musician, painter, and actress. Karimova is of Tajik descent but was born in the United Kingdom and grew up in Australia and Amsterdam. She speaks English, Dutch, and Russian and lives in Europe. With a wide range of skills and talents, she has a kaleidoscopic approach to expression.

the composer

Christiaan Richter

IChristiaan earned his master’s degree in composition from the Royal Conservatory of The Hague in 2014. His works are regularly performed; in 2018, George Benjamin conducted Richter’s acclaimed composition “Wendingen” with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO). Here, Christiaan demonstrates his mastery in incorporating and dosing influences, transforming them into a distinctly recognizable sound of his own. This is particularly evident in “2270,” also composed for the RCO, where he magnifies themes from Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto, activating his imagination to reach entirely new personal insights. At such moments, he crafts his highly original (sound) world, subtly and perhaps imperceptibly drawing the listener in. Similarly, in his recent piano concerto “muTaTum,” where the music of jazz pianist Art Tatum, admired by Stravinsky and Rachmaninov, intertwines with Christiaan’s, creating entirely new structures as the foundation for a wholly original, individual, and standalone work.

the new composition

Christiaan on his new composition

‘A few years ago, I observed that at the end of the famous final coda of Bruckner’s Fifth, the climax of the entire work, several additional measures should be inserted to sustain the tension longer. Here, Bruckner, in my opinion, too quickly moves to the triumphant and safe tonic, whereas in this work, he achieves a mastery and logic in form that is beyond reproach, simultaneously maintaining its more capricious and pronounced improvisational aspects, characteristic of the original versions of the Third and Fourth symphonies. Bruckner 5 is an imposing structure that challenges not only in craftsmanship but also in perseverance and vision. Numerous moments trigger compositional potential towards further possibilities, such as measure 315 of the finale, refined measures that anticipate Webern, Xenakis, Feldman, or the sudden and brutal contrasts at the beginning of the work!’

‘Bruckner considers the first three movements as preparation for the enormous finale. While themes in parts 2 and 3 are similar, they have entirely different tempos, resulting in a completely different outcome. For my new piece, Bruckner’s Fifth will undergo various rinsings, pressings, and filtrations. I aim to collapse all movements into the concept of a ‘super-finale,’ a one-part work without breaks. This play with repetition, large and small, inversion, and the use of material at different speeds, I want to continue, magnify, and expand much further, to labyrinthine proportions. Bruckner’s Fifth is an ideal starting point to further develop my long-standing interest in counterpoint in my new work, perhaps more than I have ever been able to do. Contrasts will be magnified, even to the extent that it brings about a disruptive effect. With the chamber music setting of the new work, prominently featured passages will generate a kind of theatricality, highlighting the effort to form a significant tutti. Instrumental virtuosity and timbre will play a more prominent role in the new work than in Bruckner.’

the ensemble

Lonelinoise

Contemporary music may initially seem inaccessible, academic, or even ugly, but behind the rough facade lie powerful emotions, messages, atmospheres, affects, and ideas. Like other music genres—and like life itself—it can be beautiful, sweet, and comforting, but also confrontational, rough, and mean. Lonelinoise finds it important to stick its neck out and continue exploring the unknown, occasionally dropping a musical bomb. Lonelinoise was founded in 2020 by trombonist Sebastiaan Kemner and Vincent van Wijk and aims to find various ways to convey the wild and wonderful sounds of modern music to its audience. Sebastiaan will mentor and lead the trombone choir, selecting all 15 trombonists from four different classes within the Royal Conservatory of The Hague.

the ensemble

Camerata RCO

Orchestra, enjoying playing in small ensemble settings. Not only is the repertoire of a small ensemble different, but chamber music is also more personal and intimate. They have complete freedom in choosing repertoire, venues, and collaborators. For Camerata, Bruckner is both essential and integral. Firstly, because the members of Camerata regularly perform the traditional symphonies with the RCO, but also because Camerata collaborates with conductor Rolf Verbeek, who has arranged several Bruckner symphonies for the ensemble. The members of Camerata have worked with Christiaan on previous occasions; the RCO commissioned him twice for composition projects: with “2270” and “Wendingen.” Camerata RCO expressed immediate interest in collaborating with Christiaan for Bruckner Casco. Camerata RCO is eager to explore contemporary music and sees Bruckner Casco as the perfect opportunity as it bridges Bruckner with entirely new music.

FAVORITE YOUTUBE VERSION

Symphony No. 2

Listen from minute 0:00 to 2:00; immediately, you hear a good example of the pauses Bruckner inserted in this symphony. Bernard Haitink has a soft spot for this symphony, and you can hear it in this very early recording from the Holland Festival.

Symfonie No. 2: Bernard Haitink Concertgebouworkest Holland Festival 1959 live

FAVORITE YOUTUBE VERSION

Symphony No. 5

During Bruckner Casco, Christiaan Richter will create a ‘super-finale’ of the Fifth Symphony. From minute 48.30 until the end of the symphony, you can hear why this Finale is so famous. Moreover, for the ‘White Stripes moment,’ you should listen to minutes 18.00 – 18.30 in the first movement.