Creative encounters in Crete to meet in Brugge: 26 Feb 2010 at 8 pm

When musicians and visual artists collaborate, ultimately there is an intersection of time and space. How does one condense a year of time into a physical space? Our exhibition entitled GAEA AEOLUS, the result of that one week of “Creative Encounters” in Paleohora Crete, will open at 8 pm on 26th February 2010 in Brugge. There will be an electric piano. It will be a surprise.

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Musicians work in the dimension of TIME, while visual artists deal with SPACE.

When musicians and visual artists collaborate, ultimately there is an intersection of time and space. How does one condense a year of time into a physical space?

After the EFFUSION house concert, the film maker Julian Scaff invited us to a one week working holiday on Crete. It was the 14th Interdisciplinary Meeting of Artists at Levka Ori. There were no obligations. However, if we did create something, we could get it exhibited in early 2010 at the art gallery of the founder of this annual project.

We’d pay our own way, arrange our own stay, and meet daily for “creative encounters.” I was curious. We had nothing to lose but everything to gain. So we went in August 2009.

I began a blog of Paleochora.

Every day we drove up the mountains. What was omnipresent was the wind. In fact, the wind AND the sun competed fiercely for attention. We walked and worked alone. The wind filled the silence. When the sun grew too hot, we retreated and returned when it got cooler.

It was inconceivable to give a concert in Paleochora (the way we’re used to). What could we, as classical musicians, possibly achieve by being far away from our instruments and environments?

The “creative” part of the encounter occurred after we headed down the mountains and met for dinner. There we introduced ourselves and shared our ideas. I decided to give up trying to find a piano. Instead, I’d collect items to make musical instruments.

A box of twigs, rocks, and goat deposits in Paleochora, Crete
A box of twigs, rocks, and goat deposits in Paleochora, Crete

 

I imagined making a wind chime out of twigs and branches. I envisioned making percussive instruments out of pebble-like goat deposits. I crouched on my hands and knees and collected what I could find.

Making a musical instrument in Paleochora, Crete
Making a musical instrument in Paleochora, Crete

 

While I was completely focussed on making my wind chime, Robert had finished his “wind guitar.” He came to me and saw that my wind chime was turning into a mobile. The twigs swung in the wind but did not touch. There was no chime about it. But this gave him an idea of making a wind harp.

A wind mobile not wind chime at Paleochora, Crete
A wind mobile not wind chime at Paleochora, Crete

 

Later I abandoned the goat deposits as they crumbled in the moist plastic bag in our hotel room. I had created nothing feasible or substantial.

What am I going to exhibit at the ARTONIVO art gallery in central Brugge (also known as Bruges) next Friday? Our exhibition entitled GAEA AEOLUS, the result of that one week of “Creative Encounters” in Paleohora Crete, will open at 8 pm on 26th February 2010 in Brugge. Everyone else has got something to show. What will I do?

Luckily there will be an electric piano. It will be a surprise.

ArtoNivo art gallery in Brugge, Belgium
ArtoNivo art gallery in Brugge, Belgium

Death and the blogmaiden

“Death and the Maiden” — a beautiful, moving work for string quartet — begins with great intensity, like there’s not enough time left in the world. I write this blog tonight because I just read an e-mail from someone I didn’t know announcing the death of someone I did know. Jeroen Muller was 44. In the final movement, I sensed a confirmation — there is indeed not much time left in the world to fulfill your dreams. Who will continue Jeroen’s mission?

As I type this, I am listening to Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” — a beautiful, moving work for string quartet. It begins with great intensity, like there’s not enough time left in the world.

While researching music suitable for funeral and memorial services, as part of a new offering of my solo and chamber repertoire, I came across various beautiful pieces equally suitable for wedding ceremonies. This activity reminds me of the memorial services we played in Amsterdam a few years ago. We didn’t know anyone there and compiled the following programme to deliver somber tranquility. We played the pieces interwoven between poetry reading and other reflections.

  • Fernando Carulli (1770 – 1841) First movement from Sonata no. 1
  • Joaquin Rodrigo (1901 – 1999) Villano from Fantasia for a Gentleman
  • J.S. Bach (1685 – 1750) Air on a G String
  • Edward Elgar (1857 – 1934) Salut d’Amour (piano solo)
  • Wolfgang A. Mozart ( 1756 – 1791) Adagio from Piano Concerto K488
  • Agustin Barrios Mangore (1885-1944) Prelude (guitar solo)
  • Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829) Lento from Theme and Variations op. 113
  • Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827) Adagio from Piano Concerto no. 5 (the Emperor) (arranged for duo by R. Bekkers)

In September 2008, we played at a memorial tribute concert in London for our beloved friend, the late architect Ayyub Malik. It was a personal tribute to someone whose friendship we valued greatly. Each piece was carefully selected for its meaning and purpose.

  • Joaquin Rodrigo (1901 – 1999) Fantasia for a Gentleman: first movement Villano & Ricercar
  • Anne Ku, Encounter for violin and cello (2004-2008)
  • Anne Ku, Elegy for string quintet (2008)
  • W.A. Mozart (1756 – 1791) Adagio from Piano Concerto KV 488
  • Luigi Boccherini (1743 – 1805) Fandango from Guitar Quintet no. 4
Jeroen Muller
Jeroen Muller, founder Disability Affairs Photo credit: H.J. Winkeldermaat from PunkMedia.nl

I write this blog tonight because I just read an e-mail from someone I didn’t know conveying the death of someone I did know. I had met Jeroen at the birthday party of my Dutch teacher last May. He was very engaging and friendly and even joked about his condition. We found we had many things in common: love of classical music, Bussum, Naarden Vesting, and Shanghai. We became connected on Linked-In.

I did not know him well. But I applauded his vision and purpose. He had started and led a Dutch foundation called Disability Affairs to raise awareness of people with disability and improve access for handicapped people. He asked me about playing the piano for a benefit concert for this purpose. I did a little research on my own and discovered that there was not as much information and wheel-chair accessibility as there should be in this country.

Here was someone with a serious cause. And I was a musician looking for a cause. I invited him to see a concert at the conservatory. When I introduced him to my friends and former teachers there, I found myself announcing that I was going to use my music to champion his cause. I was anxious to begin.

Upon learning the news of his death, I gleaned from various links on Twitter that he was a candidate for the Dutch labour party. Local elections are scheduled for 3rd March 2010. Jeroen Muller’s memorial service is scheduled for Tuesday 23rd February in Utrecht. He was 44.

“Death and the Maiden” has ended on youtube. In the final movement, I sensed a confirmation — there is indeed not much time left in the world to fulfill your dreams. Who will continue Jeroen’s mission


Update on 21 Feb at 19:30

I have been checking Twitter for latest updates on news of Jeroen Muller since this blog entry. I discovered that he had been following me on Twitter. The latest twitter from @jeroenmuller65 was broadcasted 6 days ago: “gave les gehad van Jeroen van der Schenk over wat je allemaal kan doen met verschillende netwerk- en zoeksites.mindz, rss, tag, enz. 3:09 PM Feb 15th”

There have been numerous tweets and retweets of the blog of Jeroen van der Schenk about the sudden and sad news. Google “Jeroen Muller” and you will find more, including earlier articles.