contents

1. listen
2. abstract
3. program notes
4. in the press
5. technical details
6. performances

listen

abstract

dreams of airs (2017-18) is a cycle of poetry and music by Rozalie Hirs. Its sound world features eight musicians, a singer who speaks, and electronic sounds. The visual artists Boris Tellegen and Geert Jan Mulder designed a live video installation for the performance. The duration of the performance is around 60 minutes.

Thanks to the Netherlands Performing Arts Fund and the Stimuleringsfonds Creative Industry for financial support. Thanks to MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and Maison Dora Maar for their generous and indispensable residencies and fellowships. With special thanks to Johan Reyniers (dramaturgical advice) and Martín Mayo (amanuensis).

Rozalie Hirs – music (score, electronic sounds), poetry
Boris Tellegen, Geert Jan Mulder – moving image

program notes

dreams of airs: the longing of language – spoken word, binaural beats, brain waves, mirror neurons

The new full-length composition dreams of airs (2017-18) by the Netherlands-based composer/ poet Rozalie Hirs offers a unique listening experience. The listener is guided through mesmerizing accelerandos and rallentandos in a lounge-like environment. The combination of spoken word, music, and visuals serves to stimulate various senses at once. The audience is seated around the room, as are the musicians, to ensure unencumbered interaction. This intimate concert setting can also be regarded as a visual installation, including moving images by Boris Tellegen and Geert Jan Mulder.

Spoken word is the bedrock of Rozalie Hirs’ new cycle dreams of airs (2017-18). The completed work will fully integrate music and poetry in various forms. The text is at times a conveyor of meaning, at times it serves as pure sound poetry. The instruments emulate the speaking voice. First they shadow it, to then take up an autonomous role in constant dialogue with each other and with the voice. The composer-poet has performed her own poetry since 1991 and has developed an inimitable elocution style down the years. Hirs refers to the underlying, intrinsically musical, structure of language as the longing of language. In the poetry cycle long at present longing in her fifth poetry book gestamelde werken (Amsterdam: Querido, 2012) Hirs uncovers this phenomenon through Markov chain analysis, a mathematical statistical model revealing the underlying patterns within any structure.

Like the musicians, the listeners are seated around the room so they can more easily relate to the players and their physical gestures via the process of automatic imitation; a staple of everyday communication due to the mirror neurons that are constantly firing in our brains. This phenomenon, which we associate with empathy, reinforces the notion of the listeners that they understand the music and words ‘from within’. The moving images provide an additional visual connection between performers and audience.

Everyone has two ears but only a few people are aware of the fascinating universe hidden behind those auditory canals. For example, binaural beats are created when our left and right ears simultaneously hear two specific tones that differ only slightly in frequency, causing the brain to generate an illusory pulse. Specific frequencies produce brainwaves that match certain mental states such as waking, sleeping, focusing, learning, dreaming or meditation. Rozalie Hirs’ new work activates binaural beats that correspond to patterns that we associate with, for example, lucid dreaming and creativity. The binaural beatings create flow and help listeners to be in the moment. A plethora of binaural beats to which many beneficial characteristics are attributed can be found online. Binaural beats are known to aid sleep and increase one’s energy, motivation, and IQ. Come, listen, and experience for yourself what it does to you!

©2017 Rozalie Hirs

in the press

“And also here Nora Fischer takes the audience by the hand along the colourful words drawn out by Rozalie Hirs, reinforced with binaural beatings. With these beatings Rozalie Hirs seeks to evoke brain waves that bring us into a meditative state. She must be doing a pretty good job, because I have rarely encountered such a breathlessly listening audience.”
Ronald Rijken: Rozalie Hirs’ klankwereld van de binaural beats, Klankgat online, 12 november 2018.

dreams of airs is a complex piece of art, and very beautifully performed. In addition, it is also highly effective, for me any case. I feel clear and very energized.”
Ronald Rijken: Rozalie Hirs’ klankwereld van de binaural beats, Klankgat online, 12 november 2018.

technical details

commission
dreams of airs (2017-18) was commissioned by Stichting Iris or Hazel, with financial support by the Netherlands Foundation for the Performing Arts.

instrumentation
voice
flute
Bb clarinet & bass clarinet
percussion
electric guitar
piano
violin
viola
cello

a MIDI pedal for triggering the electronic sounds, to be played by one of the musicians, and laptop

duration
60′ ca.

publisher
Rozalie Hirs’s music scores are published by Deuss Music. The score of hand in hand (2020) can be purchased through this link (click here).

further technical requirements
1.) QLAB software, to be installed on the above mentioned laptop
2.) The ‘dreams of airs’ QLAB sampler, to be obtained through Deuss Music.
3.) Microphone and stand for the voice
4.) Amplifier and mixer in the concert hall
5.) Stereo loudspeakers, to be placed within the ensemble
6.) Optional amplification of the ensemble (i.e. microphones, cables)
7.) Beamer, projection screen

performances

31 October 2021, 14:00, Rozalie Hirs (portrait concert): dreams of airs, Orgelpark, Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Spectra Ensemble, Filip Rathé (conductor)

6 January 2019, 20:00, Rozalie Hirs (portrait concert): dreams of airs, Avontuurlijke Muziek Series, Tivoli|Vredenburg/ Hertz Hall, Utrecht, The Netherlands – Spectra Ensemble, Filip Rathé (conductor), Nora Fischer (voice)

10 November 2018, 19:00, Rozalie Hirs (portrait concert): dreams of airs, November Music, Willem Twee Concertzaal FKA De Toonzaal, Prins Bernhardstraat 4-6, 5211 HE Den Bosch, The Netherlands – Spectra Ensemble, Filip Rathé (conductor), Nora Fischer (voice) – world premiere