Boogman, Willem

Willem Boogman was born in 1955 and grew up near the river IJssel (Netherlands). He studied Philosophy at the University of Utrecht for a year (1974-1975). Then he went to ...

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Distant Voices (Modulationes super Missam Maria Zart) : for nine musicians / Willem Boogman

Publisher's number: 15760
Genre: Chamber music
Subgenre: Mixed ensemble (2-12 players)
Scoring: fl cl 2perc pf org vl vla vc
Duration: 15'30"
Number of players: 8
Year of composition: 2016
Status: fully digitized (real-time delivery)

Distant Voices, with the subtitle Modulationes super Missam Maria Zart was commissioned by the SPECTRA Ensemble from Gent (Belgium) for their program ‘Distant Voices’. In this program a con-nection is being made between the music of the Franco-Flamish polyphonists of the fifteenth andsixteenth century and contemporary music.
The Franco-Flamish polyphonists often used popular melodies to build their sacred music on. The profane melodies they ‘borrowed’ served as a structural element that provided unity in their masses, as well as guideline for the listener in a complex polyphone texture.
One of the most impressive Masses which was conceived this way is Missa Maria zart by Jacob Obrecht. In this mass the simple and in its day popular song Maria zart is being ‘modulated’ in many ways. A grid constructed according to certain numerical proportions makes out the duration of the various parts of the mass. The numerical proportions such as used by Obrecht had religious meaning and were also used to strive for perfection in architecture. The term ‘modulation’ (modulatio) thus applies to the original meanings of measuring and of singing.
In my composition Distant Voices I follow this remarkable working-method of the Franco-Flamish polyphonists. The term modulationes in the subtitle concerns the techniques with which I transform thirteen well known riffs fom pop music into a diffeent musical reality, using a numerical grid which is derived from the Missa Maria zart by Obrecht.
For Distant Voices I chose the following riffs: Money (Pink Floyd), Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana), Smoke on the Water (Deep Purple), You Really Got Me (Kinks), Beat it! (Michael Jackson), Owner of a Lonely Heart (Yes), Iron Man (Black Sabbath), I Can’t Get No Satisfaction (Rolling Stones), Wild Thing (The Troggs), Into the Void (Black Sabbath), Day Tripper (The Beatles), Message into a Bottle (The Police), All Along the Watchtower (Bob Dylan/Jimmy Hendrix). All Along the Watchtower, which I combined with the other riffs, runs as a thread through the whole composition.

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