Seven (2005-2009. rev. 2015)

String Quartet


DoelenKwartet – live performance (2009)

Until now I have written three compositions that have a number as titel: Three for horn, violine and percussion; Six: a line is a dot that went for a walk for flugelhorn, double-bass and percussion and Seven for string quartet. (IX: Invisible Cities is almost finished). In all these works the number is the starting point of the composition. As well in a structural way, as in a more subjective associative way.

In Seven there are seven movements that last in an ideal performance 21 minutes. These 21 minutes can be divided in three blocks of seven minutes. The beginning of block 2 and 3 can be recognised by the sound of the great tit (‘comme une pompe de vélo gémissante’). As well in micro- as in the macro-structure the number seven was the decisive factor.

But maybe more important is the way number seven guided me in a subjective associative way. Seven is a number that is as well important in the book of Genesis; as in the Apocalypse. Between the beginning and the end of the world. Seven is a portrait of humans between beginning and end, without a real goal; with war as a seemingly necessity to get into ‘paradise’, which equals ‘nowhere’. Each of the seven movements is connected with a quote (see below). From literature (mov. 3 and 6), from a historical figure (mov. 2 and 5) or from a popsong (mov. 1 and 7). The central movement (4) is based on a musical quote: Monteverdi’s madrigal Lamento della Nimfa. My 4th movement is called Lamento della…. because it is not clear about what we should morn. Morn about something that repeats itself generation upon generation seems senseless.

  1. 1.“we’re on a road to nowhere, come on inside” David Byrne (1952)

  2. 2.“The essence of war is violence.” John Arbuthnot Fisher (1841 -1920) First Sea Lord during World War I

  3. 3.“Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,  Have no delight to pass away the time,  Unless to spy my shadow in the sun.” King Richard III W. Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

  4. 4.Lamento della….

  5. 5.“History is moving, and it will tend toward hope, or tend toward tragedy.” George W. Bush 43rd President of US (1946 – )

  6. 6.“guerra è ‘l mio stato, d’ira e di duol piena: e sol di lei pensando ho qualche pace.” Francesco Petrarca (1304 – 1374)

  7. 7.“we’re on a road to paradise, here we go, here we go” David Byrne (1952)