500 years of Dutch music!
from Josquin to Roukens
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the existence of Genootschap Nederlandse Componisten (GeNeCo, Fellowship of Dutch Composers) the Rubens Quartet is presenting a program of Dutch music spanning over several centuries. The music and transcriptions of our composer in residence Joey Roukens play an important role in this special program. Click here for more about the collaboration between Joey and the Rubens Quartet.
This celebratory program consists of the following works:
Josquin Desprez / Joey Roukens - And David Sang (1500/2009)
Samuel de Lange - Quartet in D Major, Op. 81
Joey Roukens - Ecstasy (from Earnest & Game, 2007)
Jan Vriend - Critical Mass (2008, world premiere)
Joey Roukens - "Visions at Sea", commissioned by the Ship Museum in Amsterdam (2011)
We are especially proud that four of the five works are specifically written for the Rubens Quartet! The quartet of Samuel de Lange is a late romantic work which is the perfect counterbalance for the more adventurous sounds of the music from Roukens and Vriend.
You can listen to this special program in various venues all over the Netherlands. The first concert will also be recorded for the radio by Concertzender. Below are the dates and cities where the concerts will take place; more info on our Concerts page:
September 14 - Utrecht, Geertekerk
September 16 - Rotterdam, Arminiuskerk
September 23 - Oegstgeest, Groene Kerk
October 2 - Oirschot
October 9 - Lambertschaag (without Ecstasy), Groene Kerkje
The Rubens Quartet is currently recording a new CD, on which the Josquin Desprez and Joey Roukens (Earnest & Game) will be played. The CD release is being prepared for the fall of 2011. You can already listen to small fragments of the CD here!
More about the composers:
Josquin Desprez lived during the late 14th/early 15th centuries, in the Spanish Netherlands Territory, France and Italy. He was a celebrated composer during his lifetime; Martin Luther said that Josquin could manipulate the notes however he wanted, while for many of his contemporaries experienced the opposite. Josquin was influenced heavily by the differing styles of the Franco-Flemish and Italian schools. The Franco-Flemish school consisted of polyphonic music (several different voices), and the Italian school, in particular the music from Venice, was expressely composed with the enormous space of the San Marco cathedral in mind (which was later to be the church of Antonio Vivaldi), namely that the compositional style of including several choruses catered specifically to the architecture of the cathedral. This approach allowed for myriads of sound and color possibilities. Important trademarks in the works of Josquin, which also appear in "And David Sang", are imitatio (imitation of melodic material present in all voices), and suavitas (sweetness and softness of melody).“And David Sang” is a transcription of Joey Roukens from 2009, taken from the motet “Planxit autem David”. Joey has transcribed it in such a way that the musical content of the motet is still clearly present, while at the same time the transcription can exist on its own as a new work. It is filled with unconventional techniques for string quartet, such as natural and artificial harmonics, tremolo and ponticello.
Jan Vriend was born in 1938 in the Netherlands but has lived in England (Gloucestershire) since 1984. He is comfortable writing in several differing styles and plays many instruments himself, including piano, organ, violin and clarinet. In the past he has been active as an orchestral and choral conductor. The relationship between music and its audience is extremely important for Jan Vriend; this musical, educational, and philisophical subject has brought about a intensive, long-term collaboration with Jos Kunst, a versatile artist and music educator. Jan Vriend is the founder of the ASKO ensemble, a modern music group based in Amsterdam, for whom he has composed several works. The concentrated, intense quartet of Jan Vriend that you will hear in this program, “Critical Mass” (2008), was especially written for the Rubens Quartet.
Samuel de Lange was a Dutch romantic composer, who was born in 1840 in Rotterdam and died in 1911 in Stuttgart. He received a extensive musical education during his childhood from his father, Samuel Sr, who himself was a versatile musician and composer. He toured Europe often in his youth to play concerts with his brother Daniel, a virtuoso cellist. His unprecedented technical level as pianist and organist brought him to the most important musical centers in Europe, such as Basel, Cologne and Stuttgart, where he had the opportunity to meet many celebrated composers, including Johannes Brahms, Max Bruch and Max Reger. His extensive compositional output includes 5 piano trios and 13 string quartets. Samuel's compositions are relatively unknown, even in the Netherlands, possibly because he spent much of his adult life abroad and many of his works have therefore disappeared in various archives all over Europe. His 4th String Quartet, which you will hear in this program, was premiered in Leipzig in 1901, and the music was only found years later in the archives in Stuttgart. Thanks to the extensive research of the Stichting de Lange (De Lange Foundation) the Rubens Quartet is able to bring this work back to life.
Ecstasy by Joey Roukens is the 2nd movement of his string quartet “Earnest and Game” (2007), written for the Rubens Quartet, and commissioned by the Rotterdamse Kamermuziek Vereeniging (Rotterdam Chamber Music Society). The title of the work is an homage to the life motto of author Geoffrey Chaucer. Ecstasy is clearly a representation of the “Game” portion of the title. In the words of Roukens: “The players must perform with an utterly sweeping energy to be sustained from beginning to end". Joey is the Rubens Quartet's composer in residence, thanks to financial support from the Nederlands Fonds voor de Podiumkunsten (Dutch Foundation for the Performing Arts). The quartet and composer have worked together intensively since 2007, and in September 2011 the result will be evident in a newly-released CD, which will also include “And David Sang…” of Josquin. Joey has also transcribed folk music for the Rubens Quartet with marimba, and on October 1, 2011 a new work, commissioned by the Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam (Ship Travel Museum), will be given its world premiere by the Rubens Quartet to celebrate the re-opening of the museum after many years of renovation. A fruitful and inspiring collaboration!