Kalenda Maya


String Quartet


For the young Giocondo Kwartet, commissioned by Coosje Wijzenbeek, 1st perf. Copenhagen 2003, Dutch Ambassy
(The audio clip features the first half of the first movement.)

    1. Pavane
    2. Estampida


“”…a wonderful mix of non-Western culture and contemporary Western music, yet in an accessible idiom. An excellent piece!”

(Pianist Ralph van Raat over Kalenda Maya)

For her pupils, violin pedagogue Coosje Wijzenbeek commissioned this quartet piece in two parts, slow-fast. Her question immediately resulted in the conventional ‘slow stately dance – fast jump dance’ that I understood as Pavane – Estampida. It thus became a slightly ironic divertimento-like dance caprice, one based on melodies that have mostly to do with Spring and the Month of May and that gradually blossom up when the music progresses.
The main theme is the heavenly hymn Ave Maris Stella, the melody of which is already suggested in the tango-like opening Pavane.
Both movements have their separate, secular themes. The first movement: Ecco la Primavera by 13th-century composer Francesco Landini, the second: Kalenda Maya (The Month of May) by troubadour Raimbaut de Vaqueiras (11th century).
In the Pavane small bits of Landini’s melody gradually shape into into a short series of exotic little dances that eventually result in the original melody.
The second movement, Estampida, varies upon two themes: one is, very recognizably, the estampie Kalenda Maya; the other the Maria-hymn, that only finally reveals itself on a dance rhythm.
Kalende Maya was written in 2003. The audioclip here is from the recording by the young Giocondo Quartet (average 14 years old): Noa Eyl and Mei-Li Nieuwland (violin), Mei-Ing Nieuwland (viola) and Mascha van Nieuwkerk (cello).

Kalenda Maya

  1. The audio clip features the first half of the first movement.