Just like a singer-songwriter introduces his song, so does the spoken text sound: it starts off dreamlike and gradually becomes more lyrical. Simultaneously the music also becomes more lyrical. The piece is a fully composed entity, i.e. having refrains at the end of every stanza. The entity alternates between insecure glissandi and illustrious ambitions.
‘This Song’ is a reverence to people like Tim Buckley and the victims of that time, e.g. the Vietnam War.
Recording:Kees van de Wiel live 18.04.2010 Nederlandse hervomde kerk, 's-Hertogenbosch The Netherlands
This song (2010) 8:30’ mixed choir lyric": Tim Buckley, spoken words by Paul Frankhuijzen Commissioned by BkkC Written for Brabants Kamerkoor Free score
Text lines from the poem ‘Dover Beach’ (1867) by Matthew Arnold* have been used in it. In the poem Arnold reflects on the loss of Christian faith and its subsequent outcome. ‘The sea is calm tonight’ is about contemporary culture that is threatened with loosing its right to exist. The composition stands up for sound: cheering and singing the praises of tones and words. The singers come into conflict with such a contemporary process: culture as merchandise, culture as basic instinct, culture as an object without a subject. The organ represents here the cyclic activity of the sea. It is an instrument on the brink of extinction, just like the carillon.
The composition commences solo by using the organ, with a tranquil wave, which is, however inconspicuously, not so peaceful at all. The men launch their voices in a narrating way: ‘listen, you hear the grating roar…’. Gradually the composition develops into an alternating between lyrical singing and reciting. It is only towards the latter part that organ, carillon en chorus come together as one great wave. At that point there is a sense that something has changed. We look around us. ‘And we are here as on a darkling plain’. However, it is yet the cyclic activity which keeps on repeating itself constantly.
*Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) A British critic, poet, cosmopolitan and humanist.
Paul Frankhuijzen was inspired by the text from ‘Song to the Siren’ by the American singer-songwriter Tim Buckley (1947-1975). He takes us back to the times of the seventies with this piece of music. It was a time of enormous social contrasts: Communist hatred, the Vietnam War and the resistance against that. By using Buckley’s text he wrote a musical piece that breathes the atmosphere of the illustrious ambitions of the younger Flower-Power generation of those days.