'Rain' at the Spring Festival

Spring Festival 2013 @ Royal Conservatoire - Monday evening 22 April

The Spring festival is a yearly showcase for students of the Composition Department of the Royal Conservatoire of the Hague, The Netherlands. Although there was an earlier afternoon concert that day the Spring Festival Martijn Padding, lecturer and co÷rdinator composition of the Composition Department, kicked off the event at the evening concert on Monday 22 April 2013. He mentioned there was no theme chosen for the Festival. The happening is different in diversity and thus very much of this time. He came up with the following anecdote: "A woman told her three or four year old boy she was to attend the Spring Festival. The boy started to jump for joy. For you have to know spring means jump in Dutch. And so as the Festival started off some fifty years ago called May Festival. Subsequently the name was changed into Spring Festival. And now I suggest to rename it again in Jump Festival. I am proud for 48 of the 51 composition which will be performed are by our students. Together with three iconic works of contemporary music, this evening you will hear Linea by Luciano Berio (the cornerstone of this festival), they complete the event. So now the stage is set for the Ensemble Royaal, which will be conducted by famous pianist Gerard Bouwhuis."

Soli tonus gloria by American composer Noah Rectenwald was the first piece presented by the Ensemble. A composition with music coming over you in waves. And as stated by Noah himself pespecting the purest of intervals, the octave (2/1). With a strict symmetric set up of Royaal with two percussionists, two guitarists, two pianists, two harp=players and two accordionists. Afterwards Noah came running onto the stage, wearing a Panthers shirt #31 of a certain Powers, to celebrate the Ensemble and to be celebrated by the audience.

Niels van der Weijden's Swing & loop starts a a Spartanic piece with single notes being played by the musicians one by one. Gradually the composition develops into an ensemble play with the two xylophone players taking the lead and duelling with the two pianos. Then the two accordions start a kind of undercurrent. Culminating into rythmic notes played by the Ensemble as a whole, with a slight South-American accent.

In Timelines Krists Auznieks tries to generate with a minimum of notes a maximum of expression. A tranquil piece with one mini-eruption and culminating in piano crescendo, which gradually minimizes towards the very end of the piece.

Then the piece by Jan-Peter de Graaff called 'Overal is regen, regen' (Everywhere there is rain, rain). Beforehand Jan-Peter de Graaff confided:"I came to the Royal Conservatoire for Guus Janssen. And he indeed became my lecturer." A very mature and interesting composition, in which Jan-Peter transcibes into notes a poem by Jan Hanlo describing what rain means and what it does. Starting off with drizzle, I guess. Also fine orchestration work, with some nice accordion sequences.

The performance of Luciano Berio's Linea, a piece written to accompany dancers, rounded up the concert. A linear melody permutating in several ways in twelve sub-movements was very ably performed by the Ensemble.

    The musicians of Ensemble Royaal are:
  • Piano - Javier Crohn, Denise Lutgens, Nadya Janitra, Ji Hee Min, Juan Moreno, Amaya Oses Ruiz and Tim Sabel;
  • Percussion: Natalia Alvarez-Arenas, Ruben Castillo, Mario Garcia-Cortizo and Marianna Soroka;
  • Guitar: Joao Leitao and Antero Pellika;
  • Accordion: Tara Diepenveen, Elisa van Kesteren, Sofie de Klerk and Aldert Prast;
  • Harp: Dorienne Marseije and Roelina Schouten;
  • Conductor: Gerard Bouwhuis.