Straesser, Joep

Joep Straesser was born in Amsterdam on March 11, 1934. He died on September 22, 2004 in Loenersloot. Joep Straesser studied musicology from 1953 to 1955 at the University of Amsterdam.

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Symphony for strings : (2nd symphony), 1989 / Joep Straesser

Publisher: Amsterdam: Donemus, cop. 1989
Publisher's number: 05370
Genre: Orchestra
Subgenre: String orchestra
Scoring: str
Remarks: In opdracht van de NOS. - Opgedragen aan Esther Porcelijn. - Tijdsduur: ca. 25'
Duration: 25'00"
Year of composition: 1989
Status: fully digitized (real-time delivery)

Allegro energico
Molto tranquillo-Allegro
Program note (English): The 'Symphony for strings' is based on an interval cell consisting of a minor third and a minor second together forming a diminished quart (e - g - a flat). When the tone f is added a tetrachord is created (a flat - g - f - e) being half of the eight-tone mode which, together with two transpositions - a minor second downwards and upwards - constitutes the material of the whole piece. In the complete mode (a flat - g - f - e - d - c sharp - b - b flat) the mentioned interval cell can be traced 4 times (a flat - g - e, f - e - c sharp, d - c sharp - b flat, and b - b flat - g). In this way, Anton Webern handled the twelve-tone technique in his later works, changing the shapelessness of the chromatic series by an often symmetrical form of series based on only a few intervals. The choice of an eight tone series (mode) has the advantage for me however, that in the sound image that is thus created an ever present total chromaticism is avoided. This makes the pitch situation more
"sensible". There are always eight tones present and four tones not present, which gives the possibility to "modulate" and to surprise the listener with "new" tones. In fact this way of working is an integration of two different starting points which I used in previous works. Either there was a stringent limitation of possible intervals, nevertheless always presenting all twelve notes (by the way not based on a series), or there was a limited pitch series (mode) in which all intervals could be used. Since 1975, starting from the serial average of the sixties, there has been a development in my work in which I drifted ever further from the rigorous composing techniques of serialism. This gave way to more traditional elements such as the use of clearly recognizable motives, the introduction of musical development aspects which can easily be followed, to the re-interpretation of certain musical forms from the past, without lapsing into the use of literal quotations or stereotypes. Also
from this point of view there is an integration of musical technique achievements from the 20th century and from elements from the past. Of course one could call this way of working "anachronistic" or "post-modernistic": well, let it be that way! For me this procedure is an important challenge to keep my creativity going. The 'Symphony for strings' is of course classical in its structure consisting of four parts arranged in the usual order. The above mentioned starting point is exposed immediately in the beginning of the first part: a movement e - g and a minor second melody g - a flat above. - JOEP STRAESSER

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