Rozalie Hirs

MusicRecording



Roseherte (2007-08; 2014)

Contents

1. Listen
2. Program notes
3. Technical details
4. Performances

Listen

Program notes

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.

Technical details

duration
15′ ca.

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)

4 French horns
3 trumpets
2 tenor trombones
1 bass trombone
tuba

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)
piano
harp

midi keyboard & laptop for electronic sounds (1 player)

16 violins I
14 violins II
12 violas
10 cellos
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 French horns
2 trumpets
1 tenor trombones
1 bass trombone
tuba

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

piano
harp

midi keyboard & laptop for electronic sounds (1 player)

6 violins I
6 violins II
4 violas
4 cellos
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

Performances

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

Rozalie Hirs: Roseherte, 21 september 2012, Warsaw Philharmonic, Pascal Rophé

Photograph: Rozalie Hirs on stage after the performance of Roseherte by the Warsaw Philharmonic at Warsaw Autumn (photo ©2012 Jan Bogacz)

Location: Muziekgebouw aan't IJ, Piet Heinkade 1, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Performers: Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Micha Hamel (conductor)

Published on: 2008-11-08



Nadir (2014)

Quatur Bozzini, Rozalie Hirs, Arne Bock at the Dutch premiere of 'Nadir' by Rozalie Hirs on 8 November 2014 at November Music

Contents

1. Program notes
2. Technical details
3. Performances

Program notes

Program notes (Dutch below)

Nadir (2014), for string quartet and electronic sounds, is the second string quartet by the Dutch composer Rozalie Hirs. It can be heard as an answer to her first string quartet Zenit (2010) or perhaps its complement or shadow. Nadir was written to receive its world premiere at TRANSIT (Festival van Vlaanderen, Leuven) and its Dutch premiere at November Music 2014, played in both cases by the Bozzini Quartet. It is a commissioned work for November Music, with support from the Performing Arts Fund, The Netherlands.

Nadir (2014) explores binaural beatings and other subtle shifts of aural perspective, starting out with pulsating chords that resolve into a dance-like movement of (an albeit non-existent) celestial court. The titles of its five movements are astronomical terms referring to aspects of the shifting perception of heavenly bodies–orientation, eclipses–as well as cyclical processes: libration, nutation, azimuth, diurnal, syzygy. The Bozzini Quartet takes the listener through a journey of shades, the dark, invisible, hidden inner life of the heavens, as if through the midst of the universe.

With special thanks to Casper Schipper for assistance with the sound synthesis in SuperCollider.

Programmatoelichting (English above)

Nadir (2014) voor strijkkwartet en elektronische klanken is het tweede strijkkwartet door de Nederlandse componist Rozalie Hirs. Het kan gezien worden als een antwoord op haar eerste strijkkwartet Zenit (2010), maar is tegelijkertijd ook zijn tegenhanger. Nadir is speciaal geschreven voor de wereldpremière tijdens TRANSIT (Festival van Vlaanderen, Leuven) en de Nederlandse premiere tijdens November Music in uitvoering door Bozzini Quartet. Het betreft een opdrachtwerk van November Music met financiële ondersteuning van het Fonds Podiumkunsten.

Nadir (2014) onderzoekt binaural beatings en andere subtiele verschuivingen van het luisterperspectief. Het stuk opent met pulserende akkoorden die uitmonden in een dans-achtig deel afkomstig van een denkbeeldig hemels hof. De titels van de delen verwijzen naar astronomische termen die betrekking hebben op de waarneming van hemelse lichamen, plaatsbepaling, verduistering, en het cyclische proces van dag en nacht: libration, nutation, azimuth, diurnal, syzygy. Het Bozzini Quartet neemt de luisteraar mee op zijn reis door bewegende schaduwen en tinten donker, door het onzichtbare, verborgen innerlijke leven van de sferen, als door het binnenste van het heelal.

Met speciale dank aan Casper Schipper voor zijn assistentie bij de klanksynthese in SuperCollider.

Technical details

dedication
Nadir is dedicated to those who went before us.

instrumentation
string quartet (violin 1, violin 2, viola, cello) and electronic sounds.

duration
20′ ca.

stage plot
The four performers sit on stage in front of the audience. There are four loudspeakers (L1, L2, L3, L4) that are to be placed around the audience. The loudspeakers are either at ear level or higher, depending on the properties of the hall. The instruments are slightly amplified and are mixed with the electronic sounds.

sound setup
The electronic sounds are programmed in QLAB to be triggered by a foot pedal. The QLAB patch (20GB) may be obtained through Donemus Publishing.

technical equipment
4 loudspeakers on stands
2 additional subwoofers to be placed next to the stage
mixing desk
sound card 4 channels
4 microphones or pickup mics
cables
sound technician/ sound master during setup, dress rehearsal, and concert to ensure proper mixing

For future performances in halls with more limited technical possibilities, there is available a fixed soundtrack for stereo projection to be played over a CD-player with time code. This CD can also be used for rehearsal purposes.

Performances

25 October 2014, 16:00, Transit Festival van Vlaanderen, Leuven, Belgium – Bozzini Quartet and Arne Bock (sound projection in the hall)
28 October 2014, 20:30, November Music/ De Link, Het Cenakel, Tilburg, The Netherlands – Bozzini Quartet and Arne Bock (sound projection in the hall)
8 November 2014, 19:00, November Music, Muziekcentrum De Toonzaal, Den Bosch, The Netherlands – Bozzini Quartet and Arne Bock (sound projection in the hall)

(photograph above: Quatuor Bozzini, Rozalie Hirs, and Arne Bock, at the Dutch premiere of Nadir by Rozalie Hirs on 8 November 2014 at November Music, Den Bosch, The Netherlands)

Location: Muziekcentrum De Toonzaal, Den Bosch, The Netherlands
Performers: Bozzini Quartet, Arne Bock (sound projection)
Commissioned by November Music and Bozzini Quartet, with financial support by Fonds Podiumkunsten.



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.

TRACK LIST
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)

Contents

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

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

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

dedication
Zenit is dedicated to Mark Menzies and Formalist Quartet.

duration
17′-22′ ca.

Reviews


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

Performances

28 September 2013, 20:15 Zenit [west], Amsterdam Sinfonietta Anniversary concert, Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Amsterdam Sinfonietta & Candida Thompson.
16 September 2012, 16:00 Zenit, Moments musicaux III, Aarau, Switzerland – Quatuor Bozzini. Swiss premiere.
29 November 2011, 20:00, Zenit, Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur, Montréal, Québec, Canada – Quatuor Bozzini. Canadian premiere.
20 November 2011, 14:00, Zenit, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, St. Peter’s Church, Huddersfield, England – Quatuor Bozzini.UK premiere.
11 November 2011, 12:30, Zenit, November Music 2011, MC De Toonzaal, Den Bosch, Netherlands – Quatuor Bozzini.
18 October 2011, 20:00, Zenit, De Link, Tilburg, The Netherlands – Quatuor Bozzini. Netherlands premiere.
24 September 2010, 16:00, Zenit [east] & [west], Klank en kleur Festival: Confrontaties, AAA Concertgebouw series, Spiegelzaal, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Egmont Kwartet/soloists of the Concertgebouw Orchestra (Eke van Spiegel, Arndt Auhagen – violin; Edith van Moergastel – viola; Fred Edelen – cello). Netherlands premiere of the two movements [east] & [west].
1 May 2010, 20:30, Zenit, 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

2011-11-10

Arbre généalogique (2011)

Contents

1. Program notes
2. Technical details
3. Performances

Programnotes

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

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

poem
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).

dedication
The music compositon Arbre généalogique is dedicated to Susan Narucki.

duration
23′ ca.

Performances

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.