Rifugio d'uccelli noturni, sonata per violoncello e pianoforte opus 31, was composed in 1986 by request of cellist René Berman. The sonata in one movement was inspired by a verse from the Italian poet Salvatore Quasimodo. Its form is based on the Indian raga. Like a sitar, the cello is playing a slow and meditative introduction, then joined by a 'tanpura-drone' from the piano. The piece, written intuitively and straight from the heart, is gradually accelerating and concludes with a romantic apotheosis.
*duration: 17'
*cd: Diverso il tempo BVHaast 9308


Rifugio d'uccelli notturni

In alto c'è un pino distorto;
sta intento ed ascolta l'abisso
col fusto piegato a balestra.

Rifugio d'uccelli notturni,
nell'ora piu alta risuona
d'un battere d'ali veloce.

Ha pure un suo nido il mio cuore
sospeso nel buio, una voce;
sta pure in ascolta, la notte.



Refuge of night birds

High stand a twisted pine;
listening to the abyss
its trunk bent like a bow.

Refuge of night birds,
in the deepest hour it resounds
the beating of swift wings.

Als my heart has a nest
hung in the dark, a voice;
it also listens to the night.
Diverso il tempo opus 51 for cello & piano was composed in 1991 for the Duo Berman Wieringa. The title comes from the poem Impercettibile il tempo by Salvatore Quasimodo, in which two ways of experiencing the 'imperceptible time' are compared. Inspired by this, I tried to find out what the experience of time is in music. Diverso il tempo means: time is different, or: the variable time. The composition consists of two movements, or dances, in which cello and piano play more or less in unison all the time, while a constant beat is 'measuring the time'. The music has a monochrome structure, in order to elicit the experience of something that is perhaps impossible: the imperceptibility of time. The first dance 'shows' time during the rotation of a mill.wheel, whereas the second one 'shows' time dancing on the skin of a reddening orange.
*duration: 10''
*cd: Diverso il tempo BVHaast 9308


May this bliss never end for ghetto blaster, cello and piano from 1996, is an homage to trumpet player Chet Baker. From the ghetto blaster excerpts are heard from Baker's last interviews, shortly before his tragic death in 1988. Some of these excerpts give a moving impression of the tough life he led as an artist and a junkie.

Try to be quiet
Itís that kind of tune you know
Those chords are in the first measure !
A lot of fucking attitudes going on here...
Getting the shock treatment
And at the same time
Kind of put myself in a trance and a
Dadada dadada dada
So it was kind of tricky business
Do my business
I didnít know that would be possible
Oh ssz bwh... I guess they call it athe speed bowl !

There was a bright blue color
Somebody put that down there
There was a bright blue color
When I say blue, I mean blue
He almost died that day

It was a dream you know
Things like that donít happen
Thereís pain in my heart
Every memory Iíll keep

Thereís pain in my heart
Devastating feeling...
Man that was a rude awakening let me tell you
May this bliss never end....

*cd: Heartbreakers, Emergo Classics EC 3920-2

*publisher: Jacob ter Veldhuis

Tatatata for cello and ghetto blaster (1998)
Some years ago I discovered a sound recording of an old man reminiscing about when as a child he met the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire. It was shortly after the First World War and Apollinaire took the little boy on his knee and sang a military tune, something like 'tatatata'. This recording, a sample lasting no more than five seconds, formed the basis of a composition I wrote in February 1998 for cellist RenÈ Berman. The sound fragment was expanded and compressed by means of 'time stretching' and it turned out to be full of unsuspected musical qualities. In addition, the voice combined miraculously well with the cello, and thus a series of 'variations on a theme' came into being, taking the form of an increasingly fast and virtuosic dialogue. The apotheosis is reached when in the final bars the voice of Apollinaire comes from a creaking old phonograph, reciting one of his most famous lines: 'vienne la nuit, sonne l'heure'. The picture shows René Berman performing Tatatata.
*cd: Heartbreakers, Emergo Classics EC 3920-2

*publisher: Jacob ter Veldhuis