So Tear


Three renaissance recorders


Written for La Fontegara Amsterdam, 1st perf. Venlo, Museum Van Bommel Van Dam


This piece uses my favorite recorder: the renaissance tenor with its wide, windy but clear sound. The piece first explores the instruments rhythmic capacities at some lenght, combining Burundi drums with utter melancholia, but then slowly marries this rhythmic manner with tuneful musics, eventually requiring the performers to Sing! and be Joyful! – balancing the almost Feldman-like immobilities in the opening episode.

The peculiar title of this piece may be explained by its motto, taken from the Old Testament book of Joel, Ch. 2, verse 13, in which the Lord, after exhorting his people to turn to him with all their heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning, says: “And rend your heart, and not your garments…”

‘So Tear’ indicates my decision at the time (1985) to separate myself (forcibly, if need be) from all musical trends except the ones I felt (and still feel) are of genuine emotional importance to me: melody, rhythm and ensemble playing.
The initially rather harsh use of the voice by the recorder players represents this ‘tearing away’ quite literally, as does their more harmonious singing with the instrument near the end.

A piece that in spite of its ‘difficulty’ ran a second edition with Ascolta. It was recorded, among others, by La Fontegara.