No 10 Om Jou (1998)
For soprano, viola, double bass, piano & percussion
Commissioned by: Schönberg Ensemble and Netherlands Fund for the Creation of Music
First Performance: Schönberg Ensemble & Francine van der Heijden - soprano, 1998, Kleine Zaal Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. Cond. Micha Hamel
Instrumentation: soprano, viola, double bass, piano & percussion.
Written during a turbulent period in my private life, Om Jou is a highly malicious settling of scores vis-à-vis Love. The piece, meaning something like Regarding You in Dutch, carries the sub-title, ‘Three cynical Love Songs for Grown-ups’ and uses two texts by the Flemish writer Herman Brusselmans and one anonymous text.
In setting the texts, which particularly in the last song can be pretty malevolent and even perverse, I chose to combine quasi-naïve, childlike, vocal contours with a fragmented, at times very refined, musical setting. Pitting stylized vulgarity and refinement against each other in such a way obviously enhanced the poignant message of the piece - which was, after all, what I was after. Originally I intended to have the vocal part performed by a boy soprano; an idea I was, luckily, persuaded not to pursue.