PASTICHE ?  

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much the same way as it must have inspired the old masters.

I had the privilege of gaining hands-on experience with several historical harpsichords from European collections which encouraged me to think, feel and play ‘out of the box’ as these instruments are so surprisingly individual, thereby defying any easy stereotypical categorizing.

In the early 90s all these slumbering ideas came to the open. Living at the time in Canada I was invited by a producer of Radio Canada Quebec to add an ad hoc improvisation in a live broadcast of my harpsichord recital in the 1992 Domaine Forget Festival, a fortuitous beginning which was followed up by several all-Bouman programmes of improvisation and / or composition in period style by CBC and ATC Radio and Television (Halifax, Charlottetown, Montreal, Toronto, Moncton) and Radio France.

But it was my beloved wife Anna who had persuaded me that by moving from the ephemeral art of improvisation into recordable and reproducible art of notated composition in baroque style, I would break with the last taboo entertained in western classical music circles (including the early music scene), that writing in historical styles could be taken seriously artistically. It is our experience that baroque music has a special harmonizing quality which the public appreciates in these troubled times. And indeed, the public has been most receptive, for which I am sincerely grateful: to world première my new compositions for an attentive audience is to share together a unique moment, bridging the apparent time gap, as it were.

My works have been world premiered in festivals and concerts in Canada, France, Belgium, United Kingdom, and in my native Netherlands and in India. My works are also performed by colleagues in Norway, Germany, Italy and Sweden. My 5 Baroque Concertos were premiered in the United Kingdom and then recorded on CD at Vicount Gage’s ancestral Manor, Firle Place in Sussex by my friends and colleagues from France, Norway, Germany, United Kingdom, Netherlands and Canada who joined together to form my ensemble Baroque SaMuse / The Baroque Muse. It is highly stimulating to write music for specific musicians and to play the music with them when possible. Needless to say, their enthusiastic and dedicated participation lends credibility to my endeavour, as Arthur Kaptainis, music critique of the Gazette, Canada put it - “a fascinating project; the fact that you have attracted so many eminent players certainly says something about your work.”

©Hendrik BOUMAN January 2015, Nice France

Recently I was asked to consider piloting a project which would consist of arranging and assembling excerpts from various historical repertoire into a pastiche opera.

The work ethos however, that I have consistently applied in my composing in historical styles is incompatible with the nature of such pastiche projects.

In my commitment to writing in pure historical styles of the Baroque and Classical periods spanning both the 17th and 18th centuries, I have at all times scrupulously evaded any borrowing of existing material. The only exceptions on this self-imposed principle in my creative output are explicit transcriptions of whole works from the historical repertoire, which consist in a re-instrumentation with its inherent modifications according to the idioms specific to the new instrument(s). I wish to respect and honour the author rights of the old masters as much as those of our contemporary composers.

Additionally, I chose from the beginning to conserve and develop my originality while using a historical medium. In the process of composition I have approached ‘period style’ as a whole universe which I have internalised and to which we still have access through the various windows of its extant repertoire, and additionally, the accompanying evidence from period sources, instruments, iconography and other silent witnesses in objects, architecture and writings, all conveying the Zeitgeist.

Just as modern players have acquainted themselves with the actual language of period music for the purpose of performance - I am thinking of articulation, ornamentation, its indebtedness to dance and rhetoric, the significance of tonality, temperament, intervals, Affect and expression, the extent of which is only partially revealed by the score - in a similar manner I have turned this close acquaintance, in addition to my natural affinity and performing experience, into the creation of new works: the medium, the ABC of the musical language, the idiom, the structure is strictly historical, the works themselves are new and bear my personal stamp.

I have always been interested in feeling the player behind the composer. As a music student, I spent much time in consolidating that which I had learned in terms of musical language, idiom, cadential formulas and so forth, through improvisation and thereby widening my personal concept of the instrument from it being exclusively the vehicle for performing existing repertoire, to it becoming a close partner, as it were which inspired me to new musical ideas in