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Frieda Gustavs & Lonelinoise

the composer

Frieda Gustavs

the symphony

Bruckner No. 2

the ensemble

Lonelinoise

Sun. September 15, 15:00

Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam

the composer

Frieda Gustavs

Frieda grew up traveling between Amsterdam and Stralsund, a small town on the Baltic Sea coast. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Composition from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. In 2018, she participated in an Erasmus exchange program and studied at the Hochschule für Musik in Dresden. Her musical identity was shaped by singing in a choir, amidst human voices, her dearest instruments. This influence is evident in her choral works such as “We’ve Got a Body” and “HAN.” She 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 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 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.

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