Art / Composing / Music / Singing

Mémoire

Today, I recorded an old song that I wrote back when I was 19 years old. I wrote it as a part of a song cycle of three songs called Drieluik. The cycle is about the sea, traveling, the unknown and exotic, and the longing to see what’s beyond the horizon. I have tried to capture the sea and the waves in each of the three songs, but it different ways.

The first song of Drieluik is called En rade, and its lyrics are the famous poem by the Dutch poet Jan Engelman. Groen is de gong, groen is de watergong.
It’s word play, inspired by an old movie of the same title, and it mentions far away destinations – Sulina, Braïla, Singapore… there is a longing in there to see what’s out there.

The third song is called Hommage à Klee. The poet is Theo van Baaren. In this song, someone sails away to the land where the swallows of the evening live. Between evening and night, he lands on the clouds of dreams.

The second song connects the two poems. It doesn’t have text, it’s just a vocalise. It’s called Mémoire, and it’s about looking back at the past, and deciding to move on, about freeing oneself from the urge to run away. It is reflective and a bit moody. After this, the singers are ready to explore what’s out there, which is a reflection of their inner experience. If you have a rich imagination, you don’t have to go to exotic destinations after all.

Mémoire

I’m singing all three voices myself. That was a bit of a challenge! I started with the lowest voice, and recorded that. Then I played the lowest voice in my head phones, and sang each of the other voices on top of it. Then I mixed it all up in Audacity and lo and behold, it did fit together! It’s funny to hear myself singing together with myself.

I actually performed this song cycle twice together with other singers. The first time was when I had recently written the songs, and two of my fellow students and I sang it at a singing evening at the conservatory. That was so much fun! Unfortunately, my minidisc player was quite far away from the stage, and it didn’t catch everything.

The second performance was four years ago with my Phoenix Trio. We did record the performance, but some mistakes were made, and I wanted a recording with the right notes. So until I perform it again with some colleagues, this will have to do!

The other two songs are much more upbeat than this one, and thus a bit more complex to record this way. I may give it a try, though, when I have some time.

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