flying eyes with springy wings lights shed
on a map sketched in hands flaming wide-awake
I didn’t say that a breathless featherweight
nectar guide and pollen of living poppies blue
fields of cornflowers like heads popping out a one-eyed
cloudless sky that dreams emerge from
silkworms in thousands of yards
spinning languages on green-grey mulberry leaves covered
with hairs revealing threads come to meet
an amorous sun just like that uninvited or rain
stretching antennae for just a moment a touch
of unfolding wings towards what is (a day)
where do butterflies come from that invasion of springlike
sensitivity to light unbearable off-white spotted
wings woken from a dream night so early
a handful of morning dew drunk from shining
leaves of grass and a few hours that sounded like deep bells
in a village between non-specified mountains
where people live somewhere on earth harvest leaks and onions
in the crevices apples in an orchard and trees blossom
grapes burst for fermenting in stainless steel barrels
soon tantalize a nose the palate then
slide over the tongue as a foretaste of who tonight
in a few hours prelude to once more (a day)
is a country of kingfishers revealed in the window
then frost flowers crackle on warm breath towards lips
move like memories, loosened hair past clouds
paths not visited by spotted butterflies or the wind
a house the brushwood rainwater frozen in a roadside verge
earth vanishes under a white glittering expanse
wrapped in rays of light the same clouds sketch
again some mist past the chilly morning
flakes spring into the light an arching
of horizons lets shadows finger by finger
glide past trees wakeup repeat oneself
word for word a breathing into (a day)
Halfway into the writing process of the poems of Logos (Amsterdam: Querido, 2002), the frequent appearance of body parts, colors and numbers became apparent. The poet decided to include an anatomical map within the collection, by which the reader might navigate through the book as if it were a body. The artist Noëlle von Eugen was invited to create this map. Along with the body parts, von Eugen listed abbreviations for the titles of all the poems in which that body part appears.
Since the anatomical map in fact functions as a hyper structure of the collection, it became a natural next step to present the entire collection online as well. Matt Lee programmed the site in Flash and presented the Logos website in September 2003. By following hyperlinks on the anatomical map, and within the poems, the reader can navigate directly to the poems in which the body part in question appears, and also jump from poem to poem.
The website is available now as an autonomous app [on Mac OsX] through the above download link.
During the Tenso Conference on 23 and 24 January 2017 Rozalie Hirs is one of the panelists on a debate on words and music in choral art. Possible questions could include: which are the challenges a writer faces when his or her texts are – or would be – used in choral music? How can a composer treat texts in a setting for more voices?
Date: 2017-01-23 Location: Philharmonie de Paris, Paris, France The Conference is organized by Tenso in collaboration with Philharmonie de Paris and Le Biennale d' Art Vocal, as part of the project From Poetry to Music.
Introduction: Love for music, poetry, science, technology, for learning
Chemical Engineering (Twente University, MSc)
Music Composition (Royal Conservatoire, MMus; Columbia University, DMA)
The creative process
A maker, making things
Dialogue, feedback, change
The reading experience, the listening experience, the senses, perception
Mathematics, algorithms, functions
Sung words: vocal music
Arbre généalogique (2011)
Rozalie Hirs (music, poem)
Music composition for soprano, ensemble, and electronic sounds, based on the poem ‘Stamboom’. World premiere by Susan Narucki (soprano), Pierre-André Valade (conductor), Asko|Schönberg.
PROMS, Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 10 November 2011, 20:15.
Commissioned by Asko|Schönberg, with financial support by Fonds Podiumkunsten.
Family Tree app (2006), a digital poem, in collaboration with new media artist Harm van den Dorpel
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)
Poetry and music hybrids
In LA (2010)
Electroacoustic composition by Rozalie Hirs with poetry by the composer/poet. Performed by Arnold Marinissen (voice). In LA (2003, Dutch version) was composed as a portrait of the composer Louis Andriessen and is dedicated to him. The text is based on an interview with Andriessen that Hirs conducted in 2003 inquiring after his first memories. In 2010 Hirs translated the piece into English.
In LA (2003, 2010) is inspired by the psychoacoustic ‘cocktail party effect’, which was taken as a metaphor for the act of remembering, for ‘hearing’ a particular stream of memories within a cacophony of competing memories during its emergence into consciousness.
In LA is the second track on the portrait CD ‘Pulsars’ (Amsterdam: Attacca Productions, 2010) of Rozalie Hirs, featuring her electroacoustic compositions and her poetry.
Bridge of Babel (2009) Bridge Of Babel (2009) is an electroacoustic composition by Rozalie Hirs (music, poetry, voice). A trip around the world in twenty languages. For the collage poem Rozalie Hirs quotes thirty-five poets from all over the world. The composition sets out in the Netherlands, travels through France and Germany, through Southern and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, through Australia, Southern America, across Iceland to Scandinavia. We hear the poet’s voice (trying to) speak in different tongues. The electronic sounds are synthesized with help of CSound software.
Geluksbrenger online (2008)
In collaboration with new media artist Harm van den Dorpel
More info on the digital poetry of Geluksbrenger/ Lucky Charm
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: mobile
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) crystal
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
An example of the appearance and disappearance of letters and text Tekstverschijning (available in French, Dutch) halo
A halo that obscurs the actual object when pointing at it Ziverdauw (available in English, French, Dutch) daily flying
An example of daily flying Dagelijks lines
An examples of lines to write on or read from Toen leerde ik (0-38 jaar) deconstruction
An example of deconstruction applied by hand Maken breken like water
An example of a poem as a vessel filled, then emptied Gedichtenwater sources
Examples of quotations, references, sources Gevonden voorwerpen Straatnamenregister
Work in stuttering
in collaboration with graphic designers Ines Cox & Lauren Grusenmeyer
The Belgian duo, Cox & Grusenmeyer, designers and visual artists, created six online personas for six poems or cycles from the collection gestamelde werken (work in stuttering; Amsterdam: Querido, 2012), by Rozalie Hirs. They let these six characters – or alter egos, as they call them – come alive on six different social networks. In choosing the poems, Cox & Grusenmeyer took their own reading experience as a starting point, their encounter with the poem in question. What does the poem speak of? How does it appear? How does it show itself? Does it speak slowly, quickly, loudly, in a singsong, awkwardly? Is it neutral in tone, aggressive, longing, lyrical or seductive? They chose very diverse poems or cycles and characterized their encounter with the poetry in catchwords. That way, they developed six very different characters for the poems, characters they made come alive on the social network that seemed to fit the character most closely. By way of the links below you can visit the characters and become part of Cox & Grusenmeyer’s reading experience.
You are cordially invited to two panel discussions with fellow composers and writers this morning at Philharmonie de Paris, France, as part of the International TENSO Conference. We will discuss all kinds of uses of words in music and the intrinsic music of words and poetry. The event is open to the public. Welcome!
opening words with Emmanuel Honoré (FR) and Leo Samama (NL)
keynote: the verbal and non-verbal aspect of music Eero Tarasti (FI)
10:15 CET the composer face to face with the text
panel: Philippe Hersant (FR), Thierry Machuel (FR) Violetta Cruz (COL) and Sebastian Androne (RO)
moderator: Laurent Slaars (FR)
11:30 CET the writer face to face with the music
panel: Rozalie Hirs (NL), Nicole Corti (FR), Aoife Mannix (IE), Stephen McNeff (UK)
moderator: Sylvie Douche (FR)
Addition 17:30 CET Here is the page with some of the works and topics I mentioned this morning.
Roseherte (2007-08), for a ninety-piece symphony orchestra and one hundred and fifty electronic sounds, borrows its name from the Middle Dutch mythical animal that lives in the depths of the heart. Roseherte (Rose hart) is roused from her eternal sleep by the Occitan unicorn. They set out in the rain as the sun breaks through and rainbows appear in the silver-grey sky. They sing about the zeppelins and air balloons flying by. Along with humming high-tension cables they sing of clouds and time. They are fond of pairs of dominant seventh chords whose roots are separated by the consonant interval of a perfect fifth. These pairs of seventh chords occur in various transpositions throughout Roseherte, and can be conceived as combinations of two or three harmonic series with matching partials. Roseherte employs ring modulation calculations between the two dominant seventh chords occurring within a pair. In this way, the two chords are, as it were, heard in the light of each other.
All calculations were done with OpenMusic software and transformed into the orchestral score by hand and ear. The calculated frequencies underlying the instrumental score were, then, used for sound synthesis with Csound software. During the performance of Roseherte, a musician triggers the synthesized sounds with a sampler, while two stereo loudspeakers that are placed next to the orchestra on stage project the electronic sounds into the hall. The resulting flexible soundtrack amplifies the orchestral mass during the performance: It adds perspective to the orchestral sound, blends with it mysteriously as a kind of aural halo, and, then again, sets itself apart placing the orchestra, as it were, in a sound space.
instrumentation (2008, version for symphony orchestra: 91 players)
3 flutes (flutes 2: also piccolo)
3 oboes (oboe 3: also cor anglais)
3 clarinets (clarinet 3: also bass clarinet)
3 bassoons (bassoon 3: also contrabassoon)
timpani (1 player)
4 percussionists: crotales (bowed and hit), 3 glockenspiels, 4 thai gongs, tubular bells (twee octaves: one standaard and one low set), vibraphone (4 octaves), marimba, 12 bell plates (or bell plate sampler, to be obtained through the composer), 3 cymbals (high, medium, low; to bow with string bows), 2 sand paper blocks, bass drum
celesta (1 player)
midi keyboard & laptop for electronic sounds (1 player)
16 violins I
14 violins II
8 double basses
instrumentation (2014; revised version for orchestra: 42 players)
2 flutes (flute 2: also piccolo)
2 oboes (oboe 2: also cor anglais)
2 clarinets (clarinet 2: also bass clarinet)
2 bassoons (bassoon 2: also contrabassoon)
2 percussionists: crotales (bowed and hit), glockenspiels, thai gongs, tubular bells, vibraphone (4 octaves), marimba, 3 cymbals (high, medium, low; to bow with string bows), 2 sand paper blocks, bass drum
midi keyboard & laptop for electronic sounds (1 player)
6 violins I
6 violins II
2 double basses
further technical requirements
1.) Logic software, to be installed on the above mentioned laptop
2.) The ‘Hirstotaal’ sampler, to be obtained through Donemus Publishing.
This sampler with 150 electronic sounds was programmed by sound engineer and designer Jan Panis. The sounds were synthesized by Rozalie Hirs with technical assistance by Casper Schipper. The sound synthesis was done with the help of Csound software. Together the electronic sounds become a flexible soundtrack, that is used both as a reference for the orchestra with respect to the microtonal tuning as well as shaping a sound space within which the orchestral sound can evolve.
3.) Amplifier and mixer in the concert hall
4.) Stereo loudspeakers, to be placed next to or near the orchestra on the podium
6 November 2014 (version for orchestra: 42 players), 19:00, November Music, Verkadefabriek (Grote Zaal), Den Bosch, The Netherlands – Philharmonie Zuidnederland, Bas Wiegers (conductor)
21 September 2012 (version for symphony orchestra: 90 players), 19:30, Fifty-fifth International Festival of Contemporary Music Warsaw Autumn, Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw, Poland – Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Pascal Rophé (conductor)
8 November 2008 (version for symphony orchestra: 90 players), 20:15, Nederlandse Muziekdagen: Oer, Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Micha Hamel (conductor) – world premiere
Dear friends, these weeks I shall be sharing a few more sound recordings of my works through SoundCloud. First of all here is the live recording of Roseherte as performed by the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Micha Hamel (conductor) in November 2008. This live recording received additional mastering by Guido Tichelman. For more info on the composition, please visit its main page.
Happy new year – wishing you love, happiness, and lots of new music, poems, and other arts in 2017!
Here is a photograph taken by my sweetheart on a rooftop in Amsterdam just after midnight, where we were celebrating with friends. Yes, it was this foggy, and yes, the fireworks were this red (at times).
Absolutely delighted to officially announce the forthcoming publication of gestammelte werke by kookbooks, Berlin, later this year. kookbooks has been one of my favorite publishing houses for years, so I feel deeply grateful. Daniela Seel and I have been working on the translations together intensively over the past few years. The book is a selection from five of my poetry books, and contains original poems in Dutch, German, English, and Spanish, and translations into as many as ten languages, such as Chinese, Russian, Swedish, Albanian, among others. More info to follow soon.
Rozalie Hirs gestammelte werke Gedichte
Reihe Lyrik Band 39/ ca. 240 pages
kookbooks, Berlin, Germany