© Paul Frankhuijzen

Brabants kamerkoor
musical director; Fokko Oldenhuis
organ; Milena Ducanovic
carillon; Carl van Eyndenhoven

Recording:Kees van de Wiel
live 06.06.2009
Heikesekerk, Tilburg
The Netherlands
The sea is clam to-night (2009) 13:30’
chamber choir, organ, carillon
lyrics: Matthew Arnold
Commissioned by Compam and BraM
Written for Brabants Kamerkoor
Free score

'The sea is calm tonight',
alternates between lyrical singing and reciting.
'This song', soft notes with illustrious ambitions.
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.
Brabants kamerkoor
musical director;
Fokko Oldenhuis

Recording:Kees van de Wiel
live 18.04.2010
Nederlandse hervomde kerk,
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.

paul frankhuijzen