Rozalie Hirs


Composer in Focus at November Music 2014

Rozalie Hirs (©2008 Co Broerse) attending a rehearsal of 'Roseherte' (2008) with Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Micha Hamel (conductor), 5 November 2008, Hilversum

Rozalie Hirs will be one of the Composers in Focus at November Music, the contemporary music festival of The Netherlands, this year. Her composition Roseherte will be performed by philharmonie zuidnederland at the opening concert. Her brand-new string quartet with electronic sounds will be played by the Montréal-based Bozzini Quartet at their concert on November 8. And her sound and poetry app Curvices will be a permanent installation for the duration of the festival. More news will be posted on the November Music website soon!


Curvices (2013)


Download Curvices PDF [English]


1. Program notes
2. Technical details
3. Opening, entrance

Program notes

Curvices (2013) is a digital application, a virtual poetry and sound installation for cell phones, that accompanies you on your walk through the museum park Klankenbos/ Sound Forest in Neerpelt, Belgium. By changing location you codetermine the development of the music and the poetry. Where are you? What do you hear? Is it indigenous birds that are singing in the forest or do you hear birds from Portugal through your cell phone? Is it a siren you hear or is it the wind? By exploring the terrain you probe sounds and words, you make a journey through the forest, around the world, in as many steps as you like.

The forest has been divided into ten zones, virtual spaces, each with their own composition and animation, that have been composed, designed, and programmed, respectively by Hirs, Cox & Grusenmeyer and Yvan Vander Sanden. The soundapp Curvices registers your location through the GPS on your cell phone or tablet. If you enter a new zone, the corresponding composition sounds and the animation becomes visible. If you are between zones, you hear a recognizable interlude full of birds and sparkling overtones.

Rozalie Hirs (music, poetry, voice)
Cox & Grusenmeyer (design, animation)
Yvan vander Sanden (software design, realization)
Machiel Spaan (spatial design)

Wiek Hijmans (electric guitar)
Patricio Wang (bass guitar)
Martín Ibarburu (drums)
Magnus Robb (birdsong recordings)
Carlos Dalla-Fiore (mixing, mastering)
Mathijs de Valk (technical assistance)

Technical details

Rozalie Hirs: Curvices, Map in detail (design: Cox & Grusenmeyer; spatial design: Machiel Spaan)
The composition Curvices (2013) consists of ten movements and an interlude, which correspond to the ten zones and an interzone within the soundapp:

A Six destinations (2013) duration 3’32”
B Aurora borealis (2013) duration 4’49”
C This singing of tongues (2013) duration 1’58”
D Ladders of escape (2013) duration 3’37”
E Too many snakes here (2013) duration 2’26”
F Climbing a small rock (2013) duration 3’01”
G Substance of memory (2013) duration 2’03”
H Proofs of love (2013) duration 3’40”
J Words roll into brightness (2013) duration 2’44”
K Lines of moving about desert, salt water, cities (2013) duration 1’30”
Interlude (2013) duration 17’32”

speaking voice (A, B, D, E, F, G, K)
vocals (C, H, J)
electric guitar (C, H, J)
bass guitar (A, C, H, J, K)
drums (A, C, H, J, K)
electronic and electroacoustic sounds

The composition Curvices (2013) is composed by Rozalie Hirs on the basis of her bibliophile poetry collection Curvices and Musicles (Bleiswijk: Studio 3005, 2013). The book is designed, set, and hand printed by Marc Vleugels.
Rozalie Hirs: Curvices and Musicles (Bleiswijk: Studio 3005, 2013) Chapbook cover

Lines of movement. Mark six destinations of your
choice on a map of your choice. The destinations may
possess significantly different histories, ages,
numbers of inhabitants, and snackbars. Trace six
different paths of your choice from [here] to each
of the destinations, adding up to thirty-six different
paths. Add one more path connecting all six places,
preferably with the shortest possible distance, taking
into account unsurmountable obstacles such as mountains,
lakes. Buy one pair of new shoes. Pack your backpack.
With what? A tent, sleeping bag, gun?

The total duration of the entire compostion is 47’11”. The duration of the sound walk is determined by each individual visitor.

Opening, entrance

23 November 2013, 15:00 CET, Official opening with a guided tour and lecture by Rozalie Hirs, Cox & Grusenmeyer, and Yvan Vander Sanden.

From 23 November 2013 onwards the installation is permanently accessible to the public, and free of entrance fee. The Curvices sound and poetry app (2013) is available as a free download through scanning the below QR code. Please note that the Curvices app is location specific, hence it only works when actually present at Klankenbos/ Sound Forest, Neerpelt, Belgium.


Commissioned by Klankenbos / Musica, Neerpelt, Belgium. With financial support from a Composition Stipend 2012-2013 from Fonds Podiumkunsten. In collaboration with Wiek Hijmans (electric guitar), Patricio Wang (bass guitar), Martín Ibarburu (drums), Carlos Dalla-Fiore (mixing, mastering), Matthijs de Valk (technical assistance). Special thanks to Magnus Robb for giving permission for the use of his bird song recordings.

Published on: 2013


[Speling] ([Leeway], 2005)

Image: 'De opgerolde weg', Voebe de Gruyter, 2004; Cover design: Brigitte Slangen

Published on: 2005
ISBN: ISBN: 9789021467344


Recital by Todd Moellenberg [invitation]

Todd Moellenberg: Solo Recital, 15 May 2014

You are cordially invited to the solo recital by Todd Moellenberg today, 19:00 PDT, at the UCSD Conrad Prebys Music Center, 9500 Gilman Drive, San Diego, California. He will be playing works by Pierre Boulez, Rozalie Hirs, Olivier Messiaen, Katharina Rosenberger, and Ori Talmon. Welcome!

Pierre Boulez – First Sonata
Rozalie Hirs – article 1 to 3
Olivier Messiaen – Canteyodjaya
Katharina Rosenberger – Torsion
Ori Talmon – Learning from the laughing man


Curved Space (2009)

Location: Goethe Institute, Herengracht 470, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Performers: Ned McGowan (flute), Tobias Klein (clarinet/contrabass clarinet), Joost Buis (trombone, lapsteel guitar), Stevko Busch (piano), Robert van Heumen (computer, controllers), Arnold Dooyeweerd (double bass), and Rozalie Hirs (voice)
Commissioned by Stevko Busch/ Gallery of Tones/ Pianolab with financial support of Alida Beekhuisfonds/ Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds


article 7 [seven ways to climb a mountain] (2012)

First live performance 11 November 2012, November Music, Lutherse Kerk, Verwersstraat 49, Den Bosch, The Netherlands – Fie Schouten (bass clarinet)

Fie Schouten: Ladder of Escape 11 (Amsterdam: Attacca Publishing, 2014) with works by Stockhausen, Kagel, Rozalie Hirs, Robin de Raaff, Unsuk Chin
The composition is part of the solo CD Ladder of Escape 11 (Amsterdam: Attacca Publishing, 2014) by Fie Schouten.

Harmonien (2006) – Karlheinz Stockhausen
Schattenklänge (1995) – Mauricio Kagel
article 7 (2012) for bass clarinet and electronic sounds – Rozalie Hirs
Contradictie IVa (1998, 2001) – Robin de Raaff
Advice from a Caterpillar (2007) – Unsuk Chin

Location: November Music, Lutherse Kerk, Verwersstraat 49, Den Bosch, The Netherlands
Performers: Fie Schouten (bass clarinet)
Commissioned by Fie Schouten, with financial support of Netherlands Performing Arts Fund

Published on: 2011


Zenit (2010)


1. Program notes
2. Technical details
3. Review
3.1. Mark Swed: Gérard Grisey’s spacetime epic receives its U.S. premiere at REDCAT
4. Performances

Program notes

The string quartet Zenit (2010) consists of four movements which are [north], [east], [south], and [west]. All movements investigate the overtone realm of the string quartet. Zenit is scored for a relatively high register of the string instruments with a quick highly energetic bowing technique, resulting in a continuum between timbre, tone color, and harmony, pitch. In [north] each of its twenty constituent chords are articulated in a distinctly different way, the rests can be regarded as inhabited by inaudible harmonic progressions. In the [south] movement, clouds of tones are separated by shorter silences. In [east] several possibilities of harmonic movement are investigated in one continuous movement. In [west] a delicate web of harmonics is spun, and then unraveled through glissandi of harmonics like light falling onto the audience.

An earlier version of this string quartet is Zenit, uur nul (2007), which was commissioned by Zephyrkwartet, with financial support of the Netherlands Performing Arts Fund. Hirs used some of its material, yet thoroughly rewrote the entire piece. As a consequence, Zenit, uur nul was removed from the catalogue of the composer. It bears mentioning that without Zenit, uur nul (2007) the new string quartet Zenit (2010) would have not come about in is present form. Therefore, Hirs is deeply grateful to the players of the former Zephyrkwartet: John Addison, Elisabeth Smalt, Barbara Lüneburg, Jacob Plooij.

Technical details

Zenit consists of four movements:
I [north]
II [east]
III [south]
IV [west]

string quartet: violin 1, violin 2, viola, cello

Zenit is dedicated to Mark Menzies and Formalist Quartet.

17′-22′ ca.


Gérard Grisey’s spacetime epic receives its U.S. premiere at REDCAT
Mark Swed

Friday night, REDCAT was packed. A red-blooded audience filled every seat. Red-blooded musicians occupied every inch of the black-box stage. There was excitement in the air. Many concert presenters would consider a mainly young audience giving eager and undivided attention to a three-hour concert of complex modern music a happy fiction.

The crowd was real, but it was also spectral. Everyone had gathered for the U.S. premiere of Gérard Grisey’s complete, epic Les Espaces Acoustiques, the magnum opus of “spectral music.”

Now I’m stuck, needing to summarize Spectralism. It came out of IRCAM, the computer-crowded musical laboratory in Paris that Pierre Boulez established at the Centre Pompidou in the 1970s. Sound, for the young composers like Grisey who were there at the time, was a living, breathing thing in and of itself. Machines and mathematical analyses based on an algorithm known as the fast Fourier transform were tasked to serve the sonic organism.

But technology often has a mind of its own, so don’t discount the Frankenstein factor. “Les Espaces Acoustiques” is actually the invention of a weird and yet, I think, profoundly touching sonic organism that has sidestepped musical evolution. Grisey invented sounds never before captured by combinations of acoustical instruments, magnificently physical sounds that stir the body. That they also curiously stimulate the emotions may be related to the source of these visceral sounds being the overtone scale, which contains pitches not accessible to the human ear.

The full work is a series of six linked movements, the first five of which can serve as independent pieces. The Prologue, for solo viola, begins by obsessing over a handful of pitches. Each movement adds more musicians. The Epilogue is for full orchestra and four solo horns. The cycle, written between 1975 and 1985, lasts close to two hours and has had only a handful of compete performances, although there are two recordings.

CalArts was responsible for the U.S. premiere. The orchestra consisted of students, faculty and alumni. The performance, expertly conducted by Mark Menzies, was enrapturing. Andrew McIntosh played the important viola solos with commanding beauty.

The rare outing for Les Espaces Acoustiques invites a consideration of Grisey’s influence on modern music. And Saturday night, CalArts presented a marathon concert that continued on into Sunday morning titled “New Music After Grisey.” Grisey died at 52 in 1998, and the concert was really an evening of strange sounds that preceded him, coexisted with him and have continued in his wake.

For a long time, Spectralism pitted Europeans against Americans. Our Minimalists charged ahead with a horizontal approach to music based on rhythm and repetition. The French Spectralists – who influenced such Finnish composers as Kaija Saariaho and Magnus Lindberg as well as a number of German, Austrian and British composers — were builders of harmony and sonority who thought vertically.

Saturday’s concert presented a more complex picture. If we accept Grisey’s speculation that sound is a living organism, then Spectralism is virus that infected composers’ thinking about sound in any number of individual ways. None of the 10 works Saturday resembled any other. The earliest score, by the late American experimental composer James Tenney, Clang, is from 1972 and pre-dated any work in French sound labs but was the most magnificently “spectral” of all.

Clang, 15 minutes of glorious ground-shaking and ground-swelling overtone, was played at the midnight hour by the CalArts Orchestra to conclude the concert. Performances of the brilliant score are as rare and special as those of Grisey’s much larger project.

At the other end of history came the world premiere of Rozalie Hirs’ engrossing string quartet, Zenit, played by the superb new L.A.-based Formalist Quartet. Everything I might say about Hirs’ unsettled music I could also say the opposite. It is also quite settled. It forges ahead with tentative sounds and silences. It stops and starts yet flows. It has a hint of hard-hitting Dutch Minimalism, yet it offers a feast of radiant string harmonics, pulsating outside of rhythm.

Rand Steiger’s luminous wall of sound was for piano and electronics. A true “spectralist,” Gérard Pesson erased a Brahms ballad in a chamber piece leaving only ghostly traces of the original. Wolfgang von Schweinitz injected early music with microtones in a 35-minute brass trio. For these and other works, some performances were outstanding, some were not.
I have resisted describing the actual sound and shape of “Les Espaces Acoustiques” and have now conveniently run out of space. Grisey’s guttural seismic rumblings are felt in the feet, his dance of high frequencies is someplace outside of spacetime as we normally experience it. I trust the English language. But it wasn’t invented to serve this extraordinary French composer.

Los Angeles Times, Culture Monster – All Arts, all the Time, 2 May 2010


27-30 April 2020, TBA, ISCM (International Society for Contemporary Music) World New Music Days 2020, Christchurch, New Zealand – formalist quartet – New Zealand premiere of the movement Zenit [west]

11 January 2020, 13:00, TAMA Music Festival, Tokyo, Japan – greenroom players – Asian premiere

15 April 2018, 20:15, Van binnen naar buiten (The Red Sofa Series), Juriaansezaal, De Doelen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands – Doelenkwartet

24 April 2016, 10:30, Portrait concert: Rozalie Hirs, Theater Antigone, Festival van Vlaanderen, Kortrijk, Belgium – Bozzini Quartet – Belgian premiere

28 September 2013, 20:15, Amsterdam Sinfonietta Anniversary concert, Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Amsterdam Sinfonietta & Candida Thompson – world premiere of Zenit [west] (2010) for string orchestra

16 September 2012, 16:00, Moments musicaux III, Aarau, Switzerland – Quatuor Bozzini – Swiss premiere.

29 November 2011, 20:00, Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur, Montréal, Québec, Canada – Quatuor Bozzini – Canadian premiere

20 November 2011, 14:00, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, St. Peter’s Church, Huddersfield, England – Quatuor Bozzini – UK premiere

11 November 2011, 12:30, November Music, MC De Toonzaal, Den Bosch, Netherlands – Quatuor Bozzini

18 October 2011, 20:00, De Link, Tilburg, The Netherlands – Quatuor Bozzini – Netherlands premiere

24 September 2010, 16:00, Klank en kleur Festival: Confrontaties, AAA Concertgebouw series, Spiegelzaal, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Egmont Kwartet/ musicians of the Concertgebouw Orchestra (violin: Eke van Spiegel, Arndt Auhagen; viola: Edith van Moergastel; cello: Fred Edelen) – Netherlands premiere of the two movements Zenit [east] & [west]

1 May 2010, 20:30, Les espaces acoustiques and beyond: New music after Gérard Grisey, REDCAT, Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theatre, Los Angeles, United States – formalist quartet – world premiere

Rozalie Hirs en Egmont Kwartet na de uitvoering van 'Zenit (2010) tijdens de AAA serie, Concertgebouw, 25 september 2010Rozalie Hirs with the players of the Egmont Kwartet after the performance of Zenit (2010) during the AAA serie, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 25 September 2010.

Location: Les espaces acoustiques and beyond: new music after Gérard Grisey, REDCAT, Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theatre, 631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, United States.
Performers: formalist quartet, Quatuor Bozzini, Egmont Kwartet, Amsterdam Sinfonietta
Zenit was selected for Toonzetters 2011 as "one of the ten most beautiful works of the previous year".

Published on: 2010-05-01


Arbre généalogique (2011)


1. Program notes
2. Technical details
3. Performances


Paul Janssen: Arbre généalogique (English translation will follow soon)

‘Een stap richting opera’ noemt Rozalie Hirs haar nieuwe werk Arbre généalogique. Niet dat er direct een nieuwe opera klaarligt, maar het is wel ‘het eerste serieuze stuk met een prominente rol voor de lyrische zangstem’. En voor een componiste als Hirs is dat opmerkelijk. Hirs is naast componist ook een dichter met vier bundels op haar naam. Tijdens haar compositieopleiding aan het Koninklijk Conservatorium in Den Haag bij Diderik Wagenaar en Louis Andriessen studeerde zij aanvankelijk ook zang.

Het vocale element in Hirs’ werk ontpopte zich tot nu toe voornamelijk als spreekstem in stukken die zich op het grensgebied tussen muziek en poëzie bewegen en die zij zelf in binnen- en buitenland uitvoert. Haar wetenschappelijke talent en liefde voor techniek uitte zich aanvankelijk in een studie chemische technologie aan de Universiteit Twente en richtte zich vervolgens op het ontrafelen van de geheimen van de elektronische muziek en electro-akoestische principes binnen de muziek van Franse spectralisten als Tristan Murail, een van haar leermeesters. Ondanks een schijnbaar rationeel-analytische benadering is haar werk van een haast klassieke schoonheid en gaan heldere architectonische vormen hand in hand met een aansprekende expressieve inhoud. ‘Zal ik je eens vertellen wat mijn ideaal in de muziek is? Dat ik een soort muziek leer schrijven die een dialoog aangaat met de fysieke en emotionele processen in de hersenen’, zei ze al eens over haar werk in een interview met Trouw.

In haar poëzie bewandelt Hirs een vergelijkbare weg. Al sinds haar eerste gedichtenbundel Locus (1998) speelt ze met conventies, met grammaticale structuren, en laat woorden en zinnen ritmisch zingen, terwijl achter doorgecomponeerde vormen en structuren een verhaal schuil gaat dat voor velen herkenbaar is. Dat is ook het geval in Arbre généalogique, waarvoor ze gebruik maakte van haar eigen gedicht ‘Stamboom’ uit de bundel Geluksbrenger (2008). Verhalen over haar voorouders zijn in dit gedicht teruggebracht tot een aan elkaar geregen stroom van kernwoorden, die voor de goede verstaander aan duidelijkheid niets te wensen overlaten.

Hirs wilde het gedicht aanvankelijk in verschillende talen gebruiken, maar de Franse vertaling door de dichter Henri Deluy gaf met prachtige woorden als ‘mèremèrepèremère’ en ‘pèremèrepèrepère’ voldoende impuls voor een heel werk. De gezongen melodie van dat werk is min of meer intuïtief tot stand gekomen: ‘nieuwe lyriek’ in de vorm van een ‘archaïsch aandoende melodie’, aldus de componiste. Dat archaïsche moet begrepen worden tegen de achtergrond van het instrumentale en elektronische aandeel. ‘De complexiteit bevindt zich niet op het niveau van de vocale techniek’, zegt Hirs. Het muzikale materiaal dat in de opeenvolgende generaties in ‘Stamboom’ tot klinken komt, groeit in tussenspelen uit tot indrukwekkende klankvelden, opgebouwd uit zuivere boventoonreeksen. Door de variatie in de berekeningen tussen sopraan en bas ontstaan klankkleuren en harmonieën die een harmonisch ritme suggereren dat Arbre généalogique richting en stuwing geeft.

(program booklet Asko|Schönberg)

Technical details

flute/ alto flute
oboe/ cor anglais
clarinet/ bass clarinet
bassoon/ contra bassoon
French horn
percussion (vibraphone, glockenspiel, tubular bells, crotales, drumkit)
violin 1
violin 2
midikeyboard & computer with Logic software and Logic sampler with 300 electronic sounds (1 player)
optional: live ring-modulation

The music composition Arbre généalogique is based on the poem Arbre généalogique by Rozalie Hirs, translated into French by Henri Deluy (from: Action Poétique No. 198, France, 2009). The Dutch poem Stamboom was originally published as part of Hirs’ fourth poetry collection Geluksbrenger (Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Querido, The Netherlands, 2008).

The music compositon Arbre généalogique is dedicated to Susan Narucki.

23′ ca.


10 November 2011, 20:15, PROMS, Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Susan Narucki (soprano), Pierre-André Valade (conductor), Asko|Schönberg
13 november 2011, 14:00, November Music, Verkadefabriek Den Bosch, The Netherlands – Susan Narucki (soprano), Pierre-André Valade (conductor), Asko|Schönberg

Date: 2011-11-10
Location: Muziekgebouw aan't IJ, Piet Heinkade 5, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Performers: Susan Narucki, Pierre-André Valade, Asko|Schönberg.
Commissioned by Asko|Schönberg, with financial support by Fonds Podiumkunsten.


Geluksbrenger (Lucky Charm, 2008)


1. poems from Geluksbrenger
1.1. Family Tree
1.2. Tumbler
1.3. Read all poems online

2. review of Geluksbrenger
2.1. Alain Delmotte: Returning home in a mill

2. digital poetry Geluksbrenger online
3.1. mobile
3.2. crystals
3.3. rorschach shapes
3.4. text appearance
3.5. halo
3.6. daily flying
3.7. lines
3.8. deconstruction
3.9. like water
3.10. sources, references

poems from Geluksbrenger

Family tree

mother femme fatale pulled from the mud father weeds grow everywhere
brought the spirit from mothermother butterfly of tales worth a lifetime
motherfather in blue jaguar sugar-coated easter eggs of magic motherbrother
four years old ferried in pyjamas across the river IJ mothermothermother
died young mothermotherfather baritone undone by women and drink
mothermotherfathermother threw the digging of the Overtoom in a sock
100 saved guilders dream at the foot of the bed motherfathersister
cast away household drudge dismissed as mad born 19 October 1919
motherfathersister alleged mothermother fathermother imagined link
between everything tractatus fatherfather for cigars and a drink
neighbourhood letter writer fathermothermother unmarried without means
fathermotherfather in flesh and blood repudiated in the name of the stone
the fortune from his fathermotherfatherfather first paint manufacturer
in the netherlands established in haarlem gambled away on horses drowned
his 19th birthday fatherfathermother had 15 children of whom the youngest
fatherfather living tree brings to life music or is it words?

(translation: Ko Kooman)


blissful state of residing below sea level or above
the clouds finding a dusty feather the bird and all

changes in the twilight comments disappear from the sun
shimmering with rain the weight the things more

or less is what we call life small white flowers that grow
between stones are there enough memories for a stream

of things compressed into a moment with this image
or feeling the grass that waves the reed sings and water only rustles

in the language of birds or whales and flows just as long
as the air around trees loses itself in time and lives

in memories uninvited evidence in the presence
of whales and birds through water smoothened pebbles

color where this is going that you live and know you will pass
as all meaning in the end your consciousness a short summer

(translation: Willem Groenewegen)


review of Geluksbrenger

Returning home in a mill (selection of the review translated into English)
Alain Delmotte, Poëzierapport, Belgium, 14 May 2009

The musical poetry of Geluksbrenger (Amsterdam: Querido, The Netherlands, 2008) by Rozalie Hirs is constructed along the line of a ‘counterpoint’. Within a poem, Hirs seems to be stacking different poems on top of each other, processing them, splicing them, mixing them, shaking them, letting them flow into one another. And this is one single motion. In one breath. In sustained breath. However composed and constructed her poems may be: the writing never feels artificial. Her poems desire. Her poems are blazing with exuberance, offering a large choice of possibilities. […]

Breathing is probably a key concept in this collection. Breathing is the first thing a human being does. His first confrontation with the world. The first word we spoke may have been an inhalation. (I regret that this word can’t be spelled. It’s not in the Van Dale dictionary either. But it bridges all the meanings of all the words that can be found in that sublime book.) With the concept of ‘breath’ she immediately indicates the mental boundaries of her poetical domain: thinking and feeling are both part of that. With breathing, language commences, with breathing it commences within a body. Caught up in thinking and feeling breath is no more than the tangible presence of a body (that always finds itself within the now, within the today) within one poem, one word, one sentence. […]

And the mill keeps turning many a poem long, the words keep on coming, the words are streaming. A stormy homecoming. Technically, she achieves this word-stream effect by eliding the punctuation marks (consistently every poem starts with a capital, surely a detail, but indicative of a striking meticulousness). Ever since Apollinaire this technique is an old trick but it works. Sentences seem to form bridges across each other, to overcome one another, to be ahead of each other, to inflate one another. This way poems appear that are chock full of anacolutha: a deconstructive stylistic device that is being used throughout the collection and that, as has been mentioned, keeps its effect of surprise.

Geluksbrenger is divided into four cycles, distinguishable from each other in their visual design, but stylistically connected by minimal repetitions and subtly recurring motives that are confronted with different contexts. The visual design changes gradually from cycle to cycle: one notes a shift from compact blocks of prose-like text to a typography that branches out all over the page, eventually coming back to density in the final poem of the last cycle – called, probably not by coincidence, ‘In één adem’, ‘In one breath’. Something has set the cycles structurally (and physically) in motion: it is as if, all through the collection, the poet has been inhaling deeply.

Thematically, something similar happens. The themes shift from the concrete to the abstract, from the particular to the cosmological: from a poem about a family tree to a poem about UB313 2003; from the insignificantly small to the quasi spiritual (the mystic Hadewijch appears in one of the texts.) In both cases this happens at the level of language and always with the sensitivity of fingertips. […]

Read full article [Nederlands]


digital poetry Geluksbrenger online

In 2006, visual artist/new media artist Harm van den Dorpel collaborated with Rozalie Hirs in the second installment of Poëzie op het Scherm (Poetry on Screen), an initiative by the Dutch Foundation for Literature. At the official presentation at De Waag, Amsterdam, May 17, 2006, Hirs and Van den Dorpel presented two interactive poetry applications: Stamboom (click the icon under the poem to open the digital app), and Tekstverschijning.

When the collection Geluksbrenger (Amsterdam: Querido, 2008), of which these two poems were part, was sold out, the duo decided to offer the entire collection online. Harm van den Dorpel chose to work within an html environment, within which he developed all programs for the applications by himself. On February 11, 2011, Geluksbrenger online was released with poems, recordings and music (listening spaces, spoken word, and musical pieces with text) by Rozalie Hirs, and interactive poetry applications developed by Harm van den Dorpel.

The interactive applications make the experience of reading, normally restricted to the page and the head of the reader, tangible and visible. As a reader, one makes choices over and over again while reading, thereby actually recreating the text as one reads, usually more than one realizes. Interactive applications and digital poetry can provide an insight into these interventions into, and recreations of, the text, and show something of the reading experience, or even the writing experience of the poet. Because of the diversity of applications that were developed, several different approaches and resulting apps are being mentioned here separately:

Example of a mobile moving with the movement of your mouse, generating pseudo-wind and pseudo-gravity
Stamboom (available in Mandarin, Spanish, English, German, French, Dutch, Swedish; including a listening room)

Examples of underlying crystal structures, based on the recurrences of words, made visible
Hadewijch (available in Dutch only)
Definitie (available in Dutch only; including a music composition)
Een wens (available in Dutch only)
Zon dezelfde kamer (available in Spanish, English, German, French, Dutch; including a music composition)

Rorschach shapes
Examples of Rorschach shape apps
Prologos (available in Spanish, English, French, Dutch; including a listening room)
Van wegen (available in Dutch only; including a listening room)
Kijker oog grijs (available in Dutch only)
Wereld van nu (available in German, French, Dutch)
Topologie (available in Dutch only)
Nachthart (available in Dutch only; including a listening room)
UB313 2003 (available in Spanish, English, German, French, Dutch; including a listening room)
Leven mogelijkheden (available in Spanish, English, German, French, Dutch; including a music composition)
Vorm (available in Spanish, English, French, Dutch)

appearance and disappearance
A example of the appearance and disappearance of letters and text
Tekstverschijning (available in French, Dutch)

A halo that obscurs the actual object when pointing at it
Ziverdauw (available in English, French, Dutch)

daily flying
An example of daily flying

An examples of lines to write on or read from
Toen leerde ik (0-38 jaar)

An example of deconstruction applied by hand
Maken breken

like water
An example of a poem as a vessel filled, then emptied

Examples of quotations, references, sources
Gevonden voorwerpen

Published on: 2008-11-27
ISBN: ISBN: 978-90-214-3503-9


Curvices, Sound Forest Extra, Belgium

Curvices (2013): an interactive poetry and sound app for mobile devices.  Rozalie Hirs (music, poetry, voice). Commissioned by Sound Forest/ Musica, Neerpelt, Belgium. With support of a Composition Stipend 2012-13 of Performing Arts Funds, The Netherlands.The open-air museum Sound Forest (Klankenbos) recently has added a new work to its permanent collection: Curvices (2013) by Rozalie Hirs (music, poetry), Cox & Grusenmeyer (design, animation), Yvan Vander Sanden (software design, realisation), and Machiel Spaan (spatial design) is a application for mobile devices (smartphones, iPads, tablets), combining music, poetry, and animations. Your walk through the forest determines in which way you perceive the work.

On 4 May 2014, the first Sunday of the month, there is an opportunity to discover the work during Sound Forest (Klankenbos) Extra. Between 13:00 and 16hrs CET you can rent a tablet for €3,- and set out on your sound walk.

For whom prefers a guided tour, there is chance to follow a guide through the forrest either at 13:30 or 15:30 hrs. The guide will open your ears and eyes towards a new perception of the works that are part of Sound Forest (Klankenbos).


Date: 2014-05-04
Location: Sound Forest (Klankenbos), Dommelhof, Neerpelt, Belgium