CR: 70
Year: 2010-2011
Duration: 9'
Instrumentation: Soprano & Ensemble
show details

Clarinet in Bb




Bunch of keys
Triangle (suspended, and muted using hand or object)
Suspended Cymbal
2 Wood Blocks
Snare Drum (muted using cloth)
4 Tom-toms

Volume off
Volume slider
Volume maximum
Progress slider

Being unable to do something can be frustrating but it can also be funny, or lead to interesting and maybe even beautiful situations. What kind of interesting things happen when something fails or even appears to be impossible at all? In Unable a few possibilities are examined and objectified. In the opening part the singer cannot utter any vowels nor produce any pitches. What remains are consonants and various percussive sounds. This situation is reversed in the part that follows it: the singer can produce pitches, but only with closed mouth, which also presents difficulties concerning dynamic balance with the ensembe. Precisely at the golden section of the piece's duration the singer walks away and the ensemble starts playing loudly pulsating polyrhythms. This section creates a kind of paradoxical situation. The golden section has always been seen as the 'perfect' and most natural proportion, but this obstinate, rigid and exhausting material makes everything seem to be out of proportion. The musicians seem to be unable to stop their hammering.

show performances
  • 17 September 2011, 16.00, BethaniĆ«nklooster, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Premiere)
    Irene Maessen (soprano) & Leo Smit Ensemble conducted by Ruud van Eeten
    Final of Henriƫtte Bosmans- and Tera de Marez Oyens Prizes
    Conductor Ruud van Eeten
    Flute Eleonore Pameijer
    Clarinet Arjan Woudenberg
    Violin Elisabeth Perry
    Viola Ásdís Valdimarsdóttir
    Cello Michael Stirling
    Piano Marcel Worms
    Soprano Irene Maessen
    Percussion Tatiana Koleva

Awarded with the Tera de Marez Oyens Prize on 17 September 2011.


Score and parts available for sale: for more information contact us.