Tuesday, December 13, 2011

vigilia II in the concertgebouw with the nieuw ensemble

Would there be room for any existence if the Universe were a tremolo of successive Big Bangs?

When I was asked to write this piece, I thought of a work behaving as the attack-resonance envelope of the plucked strings: a huge amount of energy released in the beginning and its inevitable decay. There is nothing that can be done to a plucked sound after it comes into being, but to resign  and contemplate its extinction. One vain attempt to prolongate it is to attack it again and again in a helpless obsession to revive the initial moment, tending to become a pervasive tremolo which paradoxically produces the sensation of time being frozen. That makes me wonder if the insistence in starting over again isn't exactly what holds the flow of existence back. Isn't the belief that a fresh new start would save us what blocks a truly new future from emerging?  

The word vigília originally means to watch or surveil. It may refer simply to sustain the state of consciousness opposed to sleep, but it is used in many cases in the sense of voluntarily staying awake for a long period into the night. The reasons for assuming such an attitude are diverse: to watch over the dead body of a dear person, for religious purposes in ceremonial dates, to party all night long or merely because one works in the night shift.
What if everyone chooses to sleep and there is no out there awake, carrying her or his consciousness alit through the darkness, preparing the new morning to come?

By the way, I have never written a vigília I.  We have been long too much attached to number ones, so I found it could be nice to give the two a chance to come in the first place.

vigília II was commissioned by BAMDialogue and the Nieuw Ensemble, being premièred Oct 22nd Oct 2011 in the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, and performed again the next day in the Korzo Theater (The Hague). With Arie van Beek (conductor), Margreet Niks (flute), Ernest Rombout (oboe), Arjan Kappers (clarinet), Hans Wesseling (mandolin), Helenus de Rijke (guitar), Godelieve Schrama (harp), John Snijders (piano), Hermann Halewijn (percussion), Eeva Koskinen (violin), Frank Brakkee (viola), Maartje-Maria den Herder (cello), Rob Driksen (contrabass). My stay in the Netherlands was supported by the Prince Claus Fund, which also published a text about vigília II. Read it here.

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