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Gaudeamus Sessies #20

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During its Sessions, which take place irregularly, Gaudeamus (the platform for young music pioneers’ development) presents previews, try-outs and work-in-progress sessions of its own productions, young ensembles and/or talented composers. The 20th edition focuses attention on the preview of Koerikoeloem, a musical theatre performance by Miranda Driessen based on the eponymous prose poem by Tjitske Jansen. A multidisciplinary work for 8 solo voices, sho (a Japanese wind instrument), recorder trio and a sound installation consisting of 8 wind harps. The programme also includes a first try-out of Disturbing Light, the sound installation by visual designer Marij Janssen and composer/pianist Rieteke Hölscher.

Tjitske Jansen’s text consists of a succession of anecdotes drawn from extremely personal experience. In a time when everyone posts their cares and woes on Facebook and other social media on an almost daily basis, this may not seem so unusual, but here it’s a different matter: due to the sheer number of stories, an image is gradually created of an existence in which every attempt to get a grip on life seems an almost hopeless task. And yet there is no mention of any indictment, accusations or need for retribution. She pilots us through her verses in clear language, often with a particularly humorous touch, without ever becoming woolly or melodramatic, and with a compassionate detachment.

Last December the first part of Koerikoeloem was presented in the Gaudeamus Sessions #17. Where in the first part of Koerikoeloem a gradual transition from spoken word to recitations, ‘Sprechgesang’ and eventually sung text, in the second part this development continues to an increasingly complex polyphony, which eventually dissolves completely in the thin, soft sounds of the wind harps.

Disturbing Light consists of a swarm of little figures suspended in a compact ‘cloud’, bobbing in space. A refined use of lighting results in an exciting play of light and shadow on the wall, in which the figures all take on an identity of their own. To accompany these images of Marij Janssen’s, Rieteke Hölscher composed a new minimalistic piece for electronics, piano and violin, full of repetition and variations on the motifs. Images and sound coalesce seamlessly and give the audience a feeling of an infinite time loop.