Three pieces for pianosolo


Performed by Maarten van Veen and Commissioned by the DoelenEnsemble

0.06    I. Sí calpestando fiori errava hor qua, hor là…

5.36    II. A Toccata: What is Beautiful is Loved, what is not is unloved.

9.51  III. …Lying is a delightful thing, for it leads to truth…

One of the important influences during the compositional process of the three piano pieces were two novels of Umberto Eco. The way Eco builds up his narratives in The Prague Cemetary and Foucault’s Pendulum already fascinated me for some years. Eco uses multiple layers of story-telling, using (real) historical events and characters in a setting in which the reader is constantly challenged to question Eco story in relation with real history. His books are like a house with many windows, when you open a window to look outside, a new landscape with it’s own specific sounds and colors reveals itself and add up to the main story of the book. In my interpretation Eco works in both books with one central topic. The central topic of The Prague Cemetery is Forgery, and this is deftly worked out in every detail; from the main character Simonini, who is a script forger and turns out to be schizophrenic (which can also be seen as a kind of forgery), to the forgery of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion that inspired Hitler’s extermination of the Jews. What especially struck me was the fact that next to references to historical events and characters The Prague Cemetery is packed with references to other 19th century books that were plagiarized in the Protocols of Zion. And finally the whole novel itself is structured like a forgery.

(One can find a similar structure in Foucault’s Pendulum, where the main theme is conspiracy.)

The three piano-pieces ‘What is Beautiful is loved and what is not is unloved’ are also packed with references, in this case to other music and other art. I try to create a referential network in which ‘What is Beautiful is loved and what is not is unloved’ is one of the nodes. This network contains: Monteverdi, Rinnuncini, Theognis, Dostojewski, Razumikhin, Ades, Wagemans, Rihm, Me, Chopin, Skrijabin, Maarten van Veen and Marcel Worms