parallel world [breathing] (2017) by Rozalie Hirs is scored for flute, clarinet, 2 harps, percussion, electronic sounds, violin, viola, and cello. It was commissioned by Concertgebouw Orchestra and University of Amsterdam, with support of the Dutch Performing Arts Fund. parallel world [breathing] (2017) can be performed separately or in conjunction with parallel sea [to the lighthouse] (2018). Together the two movements form the cycle parallel world and sea (2017-18).

contents

1. programme notes
2. technical details: orchestration, other technical requirements, duration, publisher
3. performances

programme notes

parallel world [breathing] (2017) was composed by Rozalie Hirs for the programme Multiverse on the topics of particle physics, and parallel worlds. The work can either be performed separately or serve as the first movement of the cycle parallel world and sea (2017-18). Below is an excerpt from Joep Stapel’s interview with Rozalie Hirs for the Dutch newspaper NRC:

parallel world and sea (2017-18) is about perception, about perspective and a multiplicity of experiences. For Hirs, composing also starts with observation: why is something beautiful? Why does this sound affect me, move me? She investigates how these ‘moving’ sounds work physically: why do these tones fit so well together, which frequencies are present and how they reinforce each other? ‘I want to understand why something works’, says Hirs.

A composer, who completed a degree in chemistry before entering the Royal Conservatoire, The Hague, loves to investigate frequency calculations that smack of musical complication. But whoever listens to Hirs’ work is struck by its intuitive beauty. For Hirs, creative research is always driven by the ear and balanced by perception. She analyses complex calculations and reduces them to clearly observable differences – ultimately her research must always be ‘functional’, i.e. audible.

In fact, Hirs firmly believes in ‘simplicity’. And in this, she resembles both of her teachers, Louis Andriessen and Tristan Murail, whom she names as her stylistically most important influences. The Hague School founder Andriessen and spectralist Murail are opposites at first glance, admits Hirs: ‘On one hand, Andriessen is the jovial guy who writes boldly clear structures. And Murail possesses the more shy, withdrawn personality, who composes refined French sounds. But when I studied with them, I discovered that their methods are, in fact, very similar. Both are utterly concise in their working methods, and everything they write is stripped bare, reduced to the essentials. For both of them, even ornamentation is functional. And that goes for me as well. I love the essential. And in this can I deeply relate to my mentors.’

Awakening
Parallel sea [to the lighthouse] is the second movement of Hirs’ cycle parallel world and sea. Hirs compares parallel world and sea to the poem ‘a day’ in her poetry collection gestamelde werken (English: work in stuttering; Singel Uitgeverijen|Uitgeverij Querido, 2012). In this cycle, Hirs describes how language comes about, is formed during awakening, finding its way back into consciousness. Feelings and thoughts are, as it were, re-formed through the remembering of sense and the sentence. For Hirs, this awakening can also serve as a metaphor for creativity: ‘What we call inspiration is the creation of a space, where new things emerge. Of course, one is been influenced by tradition and by one’s teachers. But to achieve something new – and innovation is a very important aspect of my work – you need that space.’

Joep Stapel: Inspiration is the space where new things emerge. NRC Handelsblad Cultuur & NRC online [interview; Dutch].

technical details

commission
The new work is a co-commission of Concertgebouw Orchestra and the University of Amsterdam with financial support of the Netherlands Performing Arts Fund.

orchestration
flute
clarinet

2 harps
percussion
electronic sounds

violin
viola
cello

technical requirements

QLAB sampler with Rozalie Hirs’ custom-made sounds, to be obtained from the publisher
QLAB player installed on a computer, MIDI pedal to be played by the flautist
amplification system
loudspeakers

duration
13′ ca.

publisher
Rozalie Hirs’s music scores are published by Deuss Music. Score and parts of parallel world [breathing] (2017) can be purchased through this link (click here).

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The photograph above was made by Renske Vrolijk during the concert parallel world [breathing] (2017) by Rozalie Hirs, performed by musicians of the Concertgebouw Orchestra and Alexander de Blaeij (conductor) at Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on 19 October 2017. The above portrait photograph of Rozalie Hirs was made by Renske Vrolijk during Rozalie’s preconcert talk on the same day.

performances

25 May 2019, 13:00 CET. Louis Andriessen Festival: Ter Ere. parallel world and sea (2017-18). Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands – ASKO|Schönberg and Reinbert de Leeuw (conductor), Ernestine Stoop (harp), Godelieve Schrama (Zoë Knoop), Arne Bock (sound diffussion).

13 May 2018, 20:30 CET. Obsessions #1. parallel world and sea (2017-18). Tivoli|Vredenburg (Hertz Hall), Utrecht, The Netherlands – ASKO|Schönberg, Etienne Siebens (conductor), Ernestine Stoop (harp), Godelieve Schrama (harp).

13 May 2018. 15:30 CET. parallel world and sea (2017-18). Fifth anniversary edition of the Dutch Harp Festival. TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht, The Netherlands – ASKO|Schönberg, Etienne Siebens (conductor), Ernestine Stoop (harp), Godelieve Schrama (harp). World premiere of parallel sea [to the lighthouse] (2018). During the concert the new work is preceded by Hirs’ recent parallel world [breathing] (2017), commissioned by Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the University of Amsterdam.

19 October 2017, 22:00. Multiverse. Late Night Entrée. Koorzaal, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Netherlands – Alexander de Blaeij (conductor) and soloists of the Concertgebouw Orchestra: Emily Beynon (flute), Hein Wiedijk (clarinet), Petra van der Heide (harp), Sandrine Chatron (harp), Mark Braafhart (percussion), Marijn Mijnders (violin), Frederik Boits (viola), and Honorine Schaeffer (cello). World premiere.

7 October 2017, 16:30. parallel world [breathing]. Open Dag. Brain Wave Pavilion, Science Park, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands – Alexander de Blaeij (conductor) and soloists of the Concertgebouw Orchestra: Emily Beynon (flute), Hein Wiedijk (clarinet), Petra van der Heide (harp), Sandrine Chatron (harp), Mark Braafhart (percussion), Marijn Mijnders (violin), Frederik Boits (viola), and Honorine Schaeffer (cello). World premiere.

7 October 2017, 14:30. parallel world [breathing]. Open Dag. Brain Wave Pavilion, Science Park, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands – Alexander de Blaeij (conductor) and soloists of the Concertgebouw Orchestra: Emily Beynon (flute), Hein Wiedijk (clarinet), Petra van der Heide (harp), Sandrine Chatron (harp), Mark Braafhart (percussion), Marijn Mijnders (violin), Frederik Boits (viola), and Honorine Schaeffer (cello). World premiere.

7 October 2017, 12:30. parallel world [breathing]. Open Dag. Brain Wave Pavilion, Science Park, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands – Alexander de Blaeij (conductor) and soloists of the Concertgebouw Orchestra: Emily Beynon (flute), Hein Wiedijk (clarinet), Petra van der Heide (harp), Sandrine Chatron (harp), Mark Braafhart (percussion), Marijn Mijnders (violin), Frederik Boits (viola), and Honorine Schaeffer (cello). World premiere.

The below photograph of soloists of the Concertgebouw Orchestra and Alexander de Blaeij was made by the composer during the rehearsal of her parallel world [breathing] (2017) at Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on 6 October 2017.

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