May 16, 2021. “Rozalie Hirs creates a fanciful labyrinth of sounds, which is still a pleasant place to stay” – a four-star ★★★★ review by Frits van der Waa in de Volkskrant about the streaming portrait concert infinity stairs in the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, last Ascension Day (13 May 2021). Read the entire Dutch review here. Below is the English translation of the text.
Rozalie Hirs creates a fanciful labyrinth of sounds, which is still a pleasant place to stay
Frits van der Waa
May 16, 2021, 16:59
“The music of Rozalie Hirs cannot be easily categorized, but it certainly does possess its own sound world. It’s not easy music either, although it does take you by the hand as a listener. Which certainly applies to Infinity Stairs, a sort of composer’s portrait that went online on Friday in the Up Close series of the Amsterdam Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ (YouTube link).
Hirs, not just a composer, but also a poet, precedes each of the four compositions by reading a poem from her cycle ‘Say love’ (Dutch: ‘Zeg Liefde’). These are clear, yet evocative, texts in which mythical references, humor, and philosophy go hand in hand.
Hirs’ poetry is more accessible than her somewhat hermetic tonal language. Here, this hermeticism is unlocked by bass clarinetist Fie Schouten, flautist Marieke Franssen, and electric guitarist Wiek Hijmans. They each perform a solo composition, after which the three pieces are superimposed to form the total composition Infinity Stairs. Each work is accompanied by an electronic soundtrack, in which subtly intertwined electronic tones gradually slide up and down. This provides a backdrop for the distinctly rhythms and melody lines of the solos, but it it also serves as an alienating effect.
Of the aforementioned three solos, article 6 [waves] is the most captivating, mainly due to the fact that the electric guitar is such a versatile instrument. Yet, especially in the pieces together, the music composition gets to be really exciting. The rhythm is still elusive, but, in addition, now a fascinating discourse unfolds in which the three musicians share common anchor points, rise and fall in sound clouds, coincide in dim harmonies and separate again. In this way, Hirs creates a fanciful labyrinth of sounds, which is still a pleasant place to stay.”