Holt, Simeon ten

Simeon ten Holt was born in Bergen on January 24, 1923. He studied piano and theory with Jakob van Domselaer (1890-1960). In 1949 he moved to Paris where he received lessons ...

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Canto Ostinato : voor toetsinstrumenten, 1976-79 / Simeon ten Holt

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Lemniscaat : voor toetsinstrumenten = for keyboard instruments, 1982-83 / Simeon ten Holt

Publisher: Amsterdam: Donemus, 2005
Publisher's number: 03364
Genre: Chamber music
Subgenre: Variable instrumentation
Year of composition: 1983
Status: fully digitized (real-time delivery)

Program note (English): Lemniscaat was first performed in 1983 in Bergen, Holland in an old out-of-use cinema. Without furnishing and with its bare floorboard the hall somewhat resembled a ballet studio. The still remaining film screen could be used for the projection of slides: eighty more or less stylized images of the handwritten score being used by the performers. The tape was a recording of the preceding parts of the concert-performance. Besides the composer, who played the solo-episodes, the performance was realized by four pianists. The live-parts took three to four hours. For the performance which would last thirty hours non-stop, a kind of schedule was designed. The audience could, using the schedule, determine which part it would attend. Despite the coming and going of the audience intense concentration prevailed in the hall. Lemniscaat is written for keyboard instruments, the choice of which depends on the ensemble that undertakes the performance. The score is a compromise between too much
and too little instruction, between being bound and being free; an open scenario. The duration of the piece is indeterminate but is sustained by a concept ion of time where the clock can be forgotten, an anti stopwatch timing. Time plays an important role. The score is constructed from bars or groups of bars which carry a repeat-design. In practise this amounts to the performers determining the number of repetitions. As described in the notes to Canto Ostinato, a piece written previously and related to Lemniscaat, the repetition-procedure serves here also to create a situation in which the musical object can acknowledge its independence. Time becomes space in which the musical object starts to float. A process occurs in which attention is not focused on the expansion but in the inside of the sound. Also unforeseen - for the composer - and thus indescribable possibilities of the musical event come to the fore. Making explicit the implicit potential. This process is not born from
specific musical-technical instructions e.g. phase-shift, slight variations in the musical figurations, etc. (although these could occur) but through the momentary frame of mind (togetherness) of the ensemble. Unnecessary to emphasize that this solidarity is the fruit from preparatory effort. Put this way, the piece, if played by one and the same ensemble, will appear in a different guise in the morning to that in the evening. This is one of the aspects by which this 'work in progress' distinguishes itself. - SIMEON TEN HOLT

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