[ACTUS TRAGICUS] [1992-1993]
For Five Performers and a Sound Engineer

Cornelis de Bondt / Ensemble LOOS
Preis / Price : 16.35 €
Bestell-Nr. / Purchase Order No. : DONEMUS CV 58
Cornelis de Bondt composer
Peter van Bergen piccolo & contrabass clarinet, tenor saxophone
Gerard Bouwhuis piano
Huib Emmer bass guitar
Paul Koek percussion
Patricio Wang guitar, bass guitar
Paul Jeukendrup sound engineer
Total time:  55:34

Composed for the Ensemble LOOS with financial support by:
Fund for the Creation of Music, Prins Bernhard Fonds
Recorded by Geijsen Muziekproducties on December 12-15, 1995, @ the ´Korzo Theatre´, The Hague (Netherlands)
Artistic supervision recording: Cornelis de Bondt
Photography: Michiel Voet et al.
Design: Samenwerkende Ontwerpers bv
Production : Donemus, 1996, Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
Liner Notes: Frits van der Waa / Donemus
Booklet: dutch/english

First release: 1996
Ensemble LOOS
(…) The music of LOOS cannot be defined in terms of a single category or genre. (…)
LOOS places itself in the no man´s land between composition and improvisation. These two elements influence each other continuously, creating a tension both among the musicians and between the musicians and the public. What the audience in fact witnesses at each concert, is the genesis of a composition, from within the given structures of the composed units. The compositions are based on the musicians´ individual contributions which, however, spring from common roots and preferences. Their individuality guarantees the continuous flux of polyphonic music they envisage. Their common experience ensures it works.

The specific tension of composition versus improvisation is also apparent in the background of the musicians who make up LOOS. Founder Peter van Bergen is primarily involved in contemporary and improvised music, while Gerard Bouwhuis, Huib Emmer, Paul Koek and Patricio Wang are mainly concerned with 20th century composed music. Yet they all share a fascination for precisely that indefinable area where the musician seeks on the one hand to be free of the constraints of composed structures, while on the other he probes for a structural framework for (free) improvisation. The result is an extremely vital, spiky music, which leaves nobody unaffected. (…)

As the title suggests, ´De Tragische Handeling´ has the character of a ritual or, more specifically, of a requiem. The title is taken from Bach´s Cantata No. 106, the ´actus tragicus´, Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit. In Bach too it is funeral music. One component of de Bondt´s composition - the notes of the sampled boy soprano - comes directly from this cantata, from the passage where, above the three lower voices (with the text: "Es ist der alte Bund: Mensch, Du mußt sterben") a joyous soprano part continuously sings: "Ja, ja, komm, Herr Jesu, komm", and finally, when the wheels stop turning, dissolves in a solitary liberating melisma - as of the soul leaving the body.
This final melisma also forms the conclusion to ´De Tragische Handeling´.

The work is, according to the composer, wholly based on series of the type 1 / 1-2-1 /1-2-3-2-1 / 1-2-3-4-3-2-1- etc. where it is understood that the ´curve´ of this series can also be projected on itself: 1 / 1-2-1 / 1 / 1-2-1 / 1 / 1-2-31 / 1-2-1 / 1 / 1-2-1 / 1-2-3-2-1 / 1-2-3-4-3-2-1 / 1-2-3-2-1- etc.Virtually all parameters of the work are set by means of these series (or rather: networks of series). (…)

The piece is tailor-made for the members of LOOS. (…) At the première of ´De Tragische Handeling´ de Bondt made a brief statement: "That which applies to most of my works, applies to (…) ´De Tragische Handeling´ in great measure. It was not written to please, seduce, or (…) amuse the listener (…) even less to imitate or describe nature. It is not a direct expression (or report) of my emotions, because I don´t need music for that. But it is true that emotions play an important role in the production of a work. (…) Nature gives life and takes life away; man sets an action beside it. Nothing more, nothing less. (…) Art is then no longer about that one death or about this one lover, but about Life and about Death." (…)

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