Arntzen, Kees

Kees Arntzen was born on 5 September 1957 in Amsterdam. After finishing his degree in music education and guitar at the Amsterdam Conservatorium, Kees Arntzen studied theory and composition at ...

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Habibi cum figuris : Rondo for ensemble / Kees Arntzen

Publisher's number: 16950
Genre: Chamber music
Subgenre: Mixed ensemble (2-12 players)
Instruments: fl cl fg g vn vla vc db
Remarks: Marisol Gentile and the Ensemble Rosario premiered 'Habibi cum figuris' in Argentina, on June 29, 2019.
Duration: 6'00"
Number of players: 9
Year of composition: 2019
Status: fully digitized (real-time delivery)

'Habibi cum figuris' is an ensemble arrangement of the previously written piece for harpsichord. A number of compositional peculiarities can be found in this piece. Firstly, the composition is constructed aroud an oriental sounding 'gipsy' scale which meanders through the piece from start to finish without omitting a single note, like a a drawing in a single uninterrupted line.
This comparison holds for the harpsichord piece, but in the ensemble version an occasional octave-leap is smuggled in.
Secondly, the composition makes liberal use of so called 'soggetti cavati' or musical cryptograms, in which a sequence of notes can refer to a text outside of the music by some logical relationship, usually between note names and letters. The first composer who used such a sogetto cavato was the Burgundian Josquin Des Pres, who cunningly succeeded in smuggling the name of his patron Count Ercole de Ferrara into his church mass 'Hercules Dux Ferrariae' – a prescient example of flattery. Des Pres was imitated by many composers who hid their own names or those of loved ones in their compositions. Well known examples are the B-A-C-H motif in the German tone system and Robert Schumann's ABEGG-variations (opus 1). Also Johannes Brahms, Alban Berg and Dmitri Shostakovich loved playing the game of hide and seek with names.
Kees Arntzen, December 2019

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