Complain as we might about living in the Low Countries (everyone does it, it is a local sport here) there are times that you can feel immensely lucky to be here in this space and time.
(photo: dick sanderman)
Yesterday a special treat for my ears: I decided to go to the polyphonic concert at Grimbergen Abbey by the Huelgas ensemble. Sheer bliss: the singers were singing in a circle on a platform in the middle of the cross formation made by the architecture of the church; the audience members were sitting in the cruciform directions around this centre, and the conductor moved around with the singers after every three or four songs so that each audience member would have the full panorama of acoustic experience. The singers, as soon as they came on stage, in their concentration, stopped being ordinary people, and instead became performers. It was like a silent ritual brought on by the concentration needed to sing these pieces. Every chord the voices made that dropped into silence resonated for a while and made the cavernous space more palpable.
It takes a while sometimes for your ears to open up. When it happened my ears started buzzing with delight. It was like I was constantly feeling different textures in my ears, going from the pale green to the very bright white. It was music by Jacobus de Kerle, a Belgian polyphony composer (born in Ipres and d. Prague in 1591) and it was performed in a building and formation it would have been composed for. After the concert an exhibition opening: Cesare Pietroiuisti was present: if you stared at his gold leaf drawing for 3 minutes and 30 seconds, you could have it. The 20 euro notes that you could have if you looked at them for 14 minutes (7 minutes each side) were already gone when we arrived; I am sure some of them ended up in the dish with sulphuric acid in which the artist molested any twenty euro note you handed him; only to return it to you, faded, with a certificate stating it is a work of art, in a folder..
These things make me think of concentration, beauty and silence.
There was a satisfying work by Marcel Broodthaers comprised of designs for a museum on a desert island to be built on the Rhine close to the Lorelei… a very beautiful idea…just think what that would mean for visitors’ numbers….and Guillaume Bijl presented his Souvenirs of the 20th Century; a hilarious yet carefully assembled collection of objects chosen to relate to celebrities. He has a deranged sense of composition which he imbues with his sense of farce and the ridiculous..
And here for your predilection, for something totally different, I present to you Angie Reed, who is very cool. Read more on the myspace bio part or visit her website. I particularly like the song “Habibi”…
love to you from me!