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Brucknercasco

Rick van Veldhuizen & Seung-Won Oh

the composer

Rick van Veldhuizen & ‘Null’

the ensemble

Ensemble Klang

the composer

Seung-Won Oh & No.4

the ensemble

New European Ensemble

Saturday September 14, 16:30

Muziekgebouw Order Tickets

Seung-Won’s new Piece: She interprets Bruckner 4 as a spellbinding ritual based on a great variety of percussion, referring to Bruckner’s expansive sound. Brace yourself for a spellbinding mix of East and West. Listen to Seung-Won’s YeonDo and hear what’s in store for you.

Rick’s new Piece: Bruckner cancelled this symphony because a well-known conductor couldn’t find a theme. Rick will rearrange this symphony so that none of the material seems recognizable… until the undetected theme gloriously appears, played by guitars, saxophones, and electronics. Listen to Unde Imber et Ignes and hear what’s in store for you.

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.

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’.

the composer

Seung-Won Oh

Her music has been performed across Europe, North America, and Asia, transcending traditional boundaries. Seung-Won connects East and West, vibrant movement and stillness, pure sound and ritual theatre, layered structures and transparency. The conflict between the will of the individual and the demands of the collective is a recurring theme in her work. Her growing interest in theatre, space, movement, and audience interaction has led to projects requiring close collaboration with performers. Recently, she won the Kees van Baaren Prize.

Many of these characteristics of Seung-Won’s work are also typical “Bruckner Essentials.” Bruckner often provoked or enchanted his audience by excessively stretching his music and letting his themes alternate between plunging into the abyss and suddenly emerging. This is especially true in the 1874 version of the Fourth Symphony, which makes it so logical for Seung-Won to choose this extreme and very different version as her inspiration. What makes Seung-Won so intriguing for Bruckner Casco is her openness to the archetypal Central European Bruckner and her desire to make his sound world collide with her enchanting one.

the new composition

Seung-Won on her composition

‘In my 45-minute new work, I want to create a personal reflection and reaction to this monumental symphonic work by reworking my own musical language in the tint of Bruckner’s musical spirit. The intricate relationship of musical themes used throughout the Fourth Symphony is one of the main components for achieving the coherence of this gigantic work. I intend to approach these close thematic relationships – based on the first version (1874) – as the driving force of my compositional creation.’

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

‘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

Emlyn Stam on Seung-Won

‘Since 2020, we have worked intensively with Seung-Won, beginning with the premiere of YeonDo at November Music, a large-scale work for ensemble and choir that brings together music from historical Korean traditions with Western idiom and sound. Other highlights include Modular 1 for 8 musicians, full of surprising sound colours with aleatoric structures, and Spiccato for solo violin, recorded by Rada Ovcharova in 2023. The ensemble is fascinated by the unique combination of Korean sounds and Western architecture in Seung-Won Oh’s music. Both the composer and the ensemble aim for long-term collaboration; Seung-Won Oh’s vision on Bruckner 4 is an important next step for the New European Ensemble during Bruckner Casco and beyond.’

the ensemble

New European Ensemble

New European Ensemble Founded in 2009 by passionate international musicians, the New European Ensemble has been praised by the press for its “fantastic” (NRC) and “exemplary performances” (Volkskrant). Leading composers including Saariaho, Lindberg, Turnage, and Thorvaldsdóttir have worked with the group. The ensemble’s mission is to present contemporary and 20th-century repertoire in an engaging and accessible way to a broad audience. They often seek combinations with film, literature, dance, theatre, and visual arts.

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.

FAVORITE YOUTUBE VERSION

Symphony No. 4

Sir Roger Norrington is unparalleled in highlighting the pastoral elements in this symphony. From minute 14:00 to the end, you can hear potentially the most thrilling coda of a Bruckner symphony.