Et in Arcadia ego (2005)

Duration: 8'

flute, viola, harp

Premièred on november 18th 2005 at Lantaren/Venster in Rotterdam by Maria Marin, Cristina Izcue and Sabine Meijers conducted by Miranda Driessen

When I decided to write a piece for flute, viola and harp I wanted to avoid every association with the famous Debussy trio. Althought the piece is very dear to me I wondered whether I could live with the arcadian, pastoral character of it which I think is especially evoked by the choice of the instruments. Furthermore writing a pastoral piece in a world that’s far from Arcadia didn’t make sense to me.

The title is taken from a painting by Nicolas Poussin: (1594 – 1665) ‘Les bergers d’Arcadie’. A few shepherds in an arcadian landscape are looking at an inscription (‘Et in Arcadia ego’) on a tomb. Because the latin sentence doesn’t contain a verb it may have several meanings: ‘I too have been in Arcadia’ but also: ‘Even I am in Arcadia’.

The ambiguity of the picture evoked by the ‘memento mori’ of the inscription fascinated me. Even in an ideal world death is present. This makes Arcadia much more earthly. At the same time it doesn’t disturb the beauty of the landscape and even the shepherds seem fascinated but not upset by their discovery.