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The 5 concerts you don't want to miss at November Music

The female composer, she continues to stir minds. My article following the world premiere of Damocles from Mathilde Wantenaar unleashed a fierce debate on Facebook. 'Why should women be favoured?" an angry man asked. 'All that matters to me is quality, not whether a piece of music is written by a man or a woman.' He grew leery of the m/f discussion, which indeed anno 2018 should no longer be necessary. Fortunately, the ratio of m/f in the modern music festival November Music Without further ado, about fifty-fifty. Hereby, five concerts you should not miss!

2-11 Kate Moore: Lux Aeterna

Last year, Kate Moore became the first woman ever to win the Matthijs Vermeulen Prize. This season, she is 'Soul Sister' of the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ and festival composer at November Music in Den Bosch. For the opening on Friday 2 November, she composed the now traditional requiem, Lux Aeterna: VIVID. Moore chose a special combination of early and new music specialists. Her requiem will be performed by Cappella Pratensis, a cappella women's group Wishful Singing, TEMKO and her own Herz Ensemble.

'While composing, Kate Moore winked at the three saints Saint Clare, Saint John and Saint Lucia, patron saint of the blind. These three saints guide us on the journey from darkness to eternal light and resurrection.' So says the web text. The titles of the three volumes are by no means childish. Lucidity: Eyes of Hands; Providence: Revelation of the Creatures and Clarity: In Praise of Poverty. Moore has proven not to shy away from the grand gesture. Her oratorio Sacred Environment, which had its world premiere last Holland Festival, had the allure of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana.

3-11 Jennifer Walshe: A History of the Voice

Like the Dutch Huba de Graaff Irish Jennifer Walshe is interested in the human voice. She likes to stretch the boundaries in vocal performances, alone or in collaboration with, for example, the renowned Arditti Quartet. A History of the Voice she wrote especially for the Brussels vocal ensemble Hyoid. The performance was a hit at Belgium's Transit festival in 2017.

According to the November Music website, Walshe unleashes 'a veritable big bang of the human voice. From ostentatious vocal imitations of Tom Cruise on his Scientology passion, to groaning death scenes from opera'. In addition, the singers also debate facts about the art of singing from the Middle Ages. Walshe uses YouTube material, winks at pop culture and snipes at pompous scientific research. According to Flemish magazine Veto 'Jennifer Walshe very deliberately breaks open the niche of new music with A History of the Voice'.

7-11 Jan-Peter de Graaff: The Border

Jan-Peter de Graaff organically pairs elements from jazz, film music and romanticism with Stravinskian-adventurous rhythmicity. He recently won the prize for composers under 30 from the International Rostrum of Composers. He wrote his chamber opera The Border for Opera South, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

The libretto zooms in on the day the German Kaiser Wilhelm II flees to neutral Holland. Exactly the moment of the official armistice. Thus, this historical event is highlighted in a personal and intimate way. Although the opera has been performed several times, I have not been able to find any reviews. All the more reason to travel to den Bosch.

9-11 Meriç Artaç: Madam Koo

We live in times of distrust and fear. Turkish-Dutch Meriç Artaç addresses this in her chamber opera Madam Koo. As in Zonderland she collaborated with Norwegian-Dutch director Ingrid Askvik. Madam Koo anxiously tries to maintain control over her life in a world she understands less and less. She compulsively organises her possessions and has a shaky relationship with her flatmate Mr Oak. Both lock themselves away in their own flat, fearing the unknown.

Madam Koo is particularly topical because of the current refugee issue, but Artaç and Askvik approach it in a light-hearted way. It is a kind of opera buffa, in which serious things are treated with humour and levity. Artaç: 'There are absurdist elements in it, with exaggerations and misunderstandings by Madam Koo. She sees little Miku as a potential terrorist, while the girl only wants to make friends with her. This brings us to the concept of perspective''. What we interpret as good or bad may differ from other perspectives.' Read the whole interview here.

9-11 Fantastic Women

Women are in power in Fantastic Women, an initiative by soprano Bauwien van der Meer. It grew out of frustration with the song cycle Frauenliebe und Leben by Robert Schumann. From his male perspective, the woman has a subservient role, like most female characters in classical music. Van der Meer wondered what women themselves have to say. What is their perspective on the world, what is their tone? She asked ten composers to write a song, including Calliope Tsoupaki, Yiran Zhao, Aleksandra Bajde and Kate Moore.

They address the position of women through current music and lyrics. Most of the songs were written especially for this project, but in addition, pieces rarely heard can be heard. 'Fantastic Women has the stature of a song recital and the liveliness of a variety act,' the website roars. It is directed by Jorinde Keesmaat. 'Using bizarre facts, humour, pure provocation and admiration, she creates a personal monument to the self-made woman, her doubt and her suffering; her struggle and her success. Fantastic Women is a stage for the fabulous woman.'

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Wijbrand Schaap

Cultural journalist since 1996. Worked as theatre critic, columnist and reporter for Algemeen Dagblad, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Rotterdams Dagblad, Parool and regional newspapers through Associated Press Services. Interviews for TheaterMaker, Theatererkrant Magazine, Ons Erfdeel, Boekman. Podcast maker, likes to experiment with new media. Culture Press is called the brainchild I gave birth to in 2009. Life partner of Suzanne Brink roommate of Edje, Fonzie and Rufus. Search and find me on Mastodon.View Author posts

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