At half past eleven on a Sunday morning, it might be a bit much: Maya Fridman, improvising on her cello. Watching her play, together with pianist Maarten van Veen, is an intense experience. She becomes one with her instrument, it overwhelms her, it is almost too intimate to watch. But what warmth waves through the audience at the Bossche Vinegar Factory!
Such a start to a day of Music Route during November Music sets the bar high for everything that comes after. Fortunately, the programming is so varied that every performing ensemble can bring its own bar. Whether in the library café in House 73, where Bart van Dongen plays his sometimes quite doomy notes with piano, bass and sax amid playing children and lunching elderly people, or in the Verkadefabriek, where musicians stretch boundaries.
In between, I found myself in the State Room of the North Brabant Museum, where I heard light breaking. It happened in a composition by Christiaan Richter with the prosaic title 'Afspiegelbreuk'. Having previously written a work for accordion solo that this remarkable composer titled 'Afbending yoke', the successor Afspiegelbreuk, written especially for accordionist Vincent van Amsterdam and the Luna Quartet, now sounded. Strings had been added to provide all the intermediate tones that an accordion cannot create. The result was an unprecedented rarefied piece of floating notes that indeed sounded like refracting light causing glare and flecks through a sprinkled window or a scientific prism.
Synesthesia, causing the blending of senses in a spectator who has no real talent for it: Richter succeeded. And then I had not yet experienced Dyane Donck. In the Verkadefabriek's Small Hall, she had built a set with exciting instruments (electronics, solid drums, rarefied vocals) for a concert in which she perfectly summed up the first two-and-a-half months of the pandemic (early March to late May 2020) in half an hour. The band plays behind a mesh screen on which rarefied drawings by Iris Bouwmeester are projected, which, thanks to animations by Jos Meijers, give the stage a fascinating 3D effect.
Frontier explorations at the Verkade Factory
What happens at the Verkadefabriek is the kind of boundary exploration that warms my heart as an art lover. Not all colleagues can do something with it because they are still bound by strict genre demarcations. This is especially true of the work of harpist Andrea Voets, who has created an extraordinary gesamtkunstwerk with Millennial History.
I saw a journalistic podcast, heard a concert, felt singing and experienced a film that therefore also just makes you wiser. The theme of this cutaway was children shaping growing up in their own way in a world destroyed by adults: Romanian orphans, Northern Irish schoolchildren during the Troubles. It is topical without referring to the news, and immerses you without suffocating you.
The striking mix of genres and professions confuses professional audience members, Voets confided to me afterwards. That's reason enough to address it in a podcast of my own soon.