These things (2017)

 soprano, adapted guitar III, kithara, diamond marimba and bass marimba

commissioned by Ensemble Scordatura

Premiere on May 13nd at Dag in de branding#44, The Hague

My first introduction to the amazing musical world of Harry Partch was in 1992 when I purchased a CD called "Weird nightmare". It was produced by Hal Willner and a colorful parade of musicians from Keith Richards to Henry Threadgill, Leonard Cohen, Vernon Reid and Bill Frisell took part in it. It contained pieces by Charles Mingus played on Partch instruments. A very strange combination. Weird? Indeed! Nightmare? Not at all!

Ever since then my fascination for Partch' work was risen, and every now and then he sneaked into my musical life. His music comes from another world, and his almost mythical life, the incredible courage he took by simply creating his own instruments and tuning-system just because he felt it was the utmost necessary thing to do is just so admirable! And then his music-theatre pieces: celebrations of maladjustment in a High Mass of a self-made religion

But most of all I admire his disinhibitions, and just wished I could embrace my own maladjustments in order to create from a similar sense of freedom.

Ensemble Scordatura asked me to compose a piece that somehow connected to Partch's Li Po songs. For this I took a poem by another American Maverick: Charles Bukowsky as a comment on a tendency nowadays in The Netherlands of politians pleading citizens to behave 'normal', while lacking any moral nor politcal views on what really is crucial to our society.

these things

these things that we support most well
have nothing to do with us,
and we do with them
out of boredom or fear or money
or cracked intelligence:
our circle and our candle of light
being small,
so small we cannot bear it,
we heave out with Idea
and lose the Center:
all wax without the wick,
and we see names that once meant wisdom,
like signs into ghost towns,
and only the graves are real.

Charles Bukowski - The days run away like wild horses over the hills (1969)