Skip to content
Brucknercasco

Rick van Veldhuizen & Ensemble Klang

the composer

Rick van Veldhuizen

the symphony

Bruckner ‘Nulde’

the ensemble

Ensemble Klang

Sat. September 14, 16:30

Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam

the composer

Rick van Veldhuizen

In the creation of Rick’s works, there is a desire to achieve something unique, something uncompromising. Rick wants to captivate you into his world by seducing and shocking you. In doing so, Rick imposes obsessive demands on his performers, which also intrigues and raises questions about how the result will sound. Bruckner “annulled” the “Null” following a comment by conductor Otto Dessof, who couldn’t recognize a theme. Rick immediately and emphatically chose the 0th symphony because he believed he could employ his creativity more colourfully and diversely in an earlier Bruckner symphony than in later ones. His pronounced preference for collaboration with Ensemble Klang is in this vein, especially due to the ensemble’s exceptional instrumentation, a musical infrastructure that gives Rick every opportunity to excel. Rick will surprise, and the audience will have opinions about it, that’s for sure.

the new composition

Nulls & Voids

Rick on his new composition: “Nulls and Voids” will be a radical reworking of material from Bruckner’s “Null” symphony, which he invalidated during his lifetime and therefore was only performed in 1924—100 years before “Bruckner Casco.” The piece will thus be about musical memory and association: all the material in the symphony essentially becomes a “found object” in Nulls and Voids, but also the genesis of the work and Bruckner’s biography play a part as found objects. Bruckner “annulled” the “Null” following a comment by conductor Otto Dessof, who couldn’t recognize a theme. Precisely because of this, it seems like a challenge to revalue the less lyrical material as lyrical and make the more lyrical material more aggressive. 

‘Part one, Nulls, takes elements from the entire symphony and treats them in a dry, non-lyrical fashion, as Bruckner might have seen the piece after Dessof’s comment. I arrange all those rhythmic and harmonic elements in a way that filters the material down to the smallest elements. So, the audience will occasionally recognize the march from the first movement, but often hear rhythms disintegrate into sputtering downpours. As a nod to Bruckner as an organist, the chorale that opens the second movement is introduced here. However, it will sound somewhat strange to the Bruckner enthusiast because my harmonies are always microtonal, based on just intonation. Consequently, they have no direction or tendency to resolve – which is precisely characteristic of Bruckner’s highly romantic music.’

In part 2, Voids, first, an ’empty’ musical space is constructed, and memories of Bruckner’s melodies begin to emerge. Often these will blend into each other or take on each other’s identities; a waltz becomes a march, a march becomes a lament. At certain moments, the indeterminate musical space threatens to tear, causing sudden landslides in the melodies, or notes to be lost. These are moments of aggression, pain, and fear, with room again for new materials. Until, at the end, I hope in a moving way, space is created for the disputed theme that caused Bruckner to declare the ‘Null’ symphony ‘invalid’.

‘Nulls and Voids is truly an exciting prospect. It draws on his knowledge and passion for music history. Rick’s ability to forge new relationships with music from the past promises a broad and varied concert life for this new work as it fits into many programs: from the contemporary music world to classical music stages and microtonal and electronic programs. We expect our collaboration with Rick to create a work that fits into our repertoire and will be performed for many years to come.’

the ensemble

Ensemble Klang

Founded in The Hague in 2003, Ensemble Klang’s innovative programs have quickly elevated them to “one of the top ensembles” (NRC) in the contemporary music scene of the Netherlands. The dynamic approach of Ensemble Klang to contemporary music and ‘sonic adventure’ has not only attracted a loyal audience but also led to active participation by some of the most prominent composers of the moment. A typical Ensemble Klang program combines complex music that requires virtuosic precision and musical risk-taking. They are natural ensemble players and participate in music theatre and dance projects almost every season. Klang members feel just as comfortable in the concert hall, outdoors at a festival, or on a pop stage.

photography: Schaapjesfabriek

FAVORITE YOUTUBE VERSION

Symphony ‘Nulde’

Listen to the complete recording of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra with Eduard van Beinum, 1955. In the Allegro, you can hear the motif from the first movement that people in Bruckner’s time could not (or did not want to) identify as a theme. Notice the orchestra under Van Beinum’s direction, playing by the orchestra as if possessed by the devil.