CR: 80
Year: 2011-2012
Duration: 67'
Instrumentation: Chorus, Organ & Orchestra
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6 Flutes (all alternating Piccolo)
4 Oboes ([A]2,[C]2 alternating English Horn)
4 Clarinets in Bb ([A]1,[C]1 alternating Clarinet in Eb)
2 Bass Clarinets
2 Bassoons
1 Double Bassoon
4 Saxophones ([A]1: Alto alternating Tenor, [A]2: Soprano alt. Alto & Baritone, [B]1: Soprano alt. Alto, [B]2: Alto alt. Baritone)

4 Horns in F
5 Trumpets in C
2 Tenor Trombones
2 Bass Trombones
Bass Tuba

5 Percussion

2 Electric Guitars
Bass Guitar

Church Organ

12 Voices: 3S.3A.3T.3B

12 Violins
6 Violas
6 Cellos
2 Double Bass

N.B. If needed, the amount of voices and strings may be tripled.

Instrumentalists & Singers of the Royal Conservatoire, The Hague & Jochem Schuurman (organ), conducted by Manoj Kamps

The concept of consciousness has fascinated humanity for quite some time already. Still, many of its aspects are surrounded by mystery, despite the large body of research. Infraconscious (literally "below-conscious") touches on some aspects of this topic. It was written for my bachelor exam at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague, which took place in the Grote Kerk of The Hague on 29 June 2012, 20.15, conducted by Manoj Kamps. The piece is an in memoriam for Henk Alkema and lasts almost 70 minutes. Winning the Tera de Marez Oyens prize in 2011 made it possible that Infraconscious would be written with financial support of the Stichting Tera de Marez Oyens Fonds.

Infraconscious makes use of a large ensemble of 84 musicians in total, consisting of winds, brass, strings, percussion, guitars, 12 singers and organ. All musicians are divided into four different groups, positioned spatially around the audience. The piece is devised to be performed in a very large space with a long reverberation, for example a large church or cathedral. The Grote Kerk of The Hague, in which it was premiered, is an ideal space in this respect. Because of its large open space, this church offers fantastic possibilities and flexibility in terms of interesting spatial setups. Its 1971 Metzler organ, in my piece situated at the back of the audience, is a very versatile instrument. It has beautiful and characteristic stops, and is wonderfully direct and bright, which makes it an ideal ensemble instrument for the piece. Additionally, it features majestic chamade trumpets that can compete with the loud brass instruments at the other side of the church.

For me, working on Infraconscious meant more than just composing the music, as I was also organizing, producing, and coordinating the preparations for the performance of the piece at the same time. All the experience I had gained from projects that I had organized before at the conservatoire came together. What I really liked very much is that, in the end, the performance (and rehearsals) became a unique social event with a very special atmosphere that brought people together from numerous different backgrounds. The ensemble included professional musicians as well as students, teachers, retirees, doctors, professors, and composers.

As a result of the influence I had on the composition of the ensemble from the beginning on, many of the parts were written with certain musicians in mind. Most notable in this respect might be the parts for Jochem Schuurman (organ), Reut Rivka (soprano in middle ensemble), and Nicolau Lafetá (trumpet positioned on organ), but there are many other fine examples as well.

Infraconscious opens with an extensive organ solo, from which the sound of the rest of the ensemble emerges. After having expanded to an instrumental tutti, the first vocal section starts, with the accompaniment of brass and bongos. In the course of the piece, vocal passages are alternated with purely instrumental passages. The texts that are used in the piece present us a few different and complementary views on the subject, in different shapes and on different levels. They are taken from works by John Locke, Sigmund Freud, an article from the magazine Science Watch, Stéphane Mallarmé, Fernando Pessoa, Arthur Rimbaud and James Joyce.

An important feature of the piece is the combination of harmonic direction with seemingly static textures. Furthermore, the piece makes use of a chromatic harmonic language that contains many ambiguous chord connections. The tutti chords at (approximately) the golden section of the piece are a good example of this. This passage (at rehearsal number 81) is the first material that I conceived for the piece. Many of the sections earlier in the piece, before the golden section, are connected to each other using two consecutive chords isolated from exactly this series of chords. The golden section also marks a clear division of the piece: the settings of the scientific texts all take place before it, and the poetic texts in the part after it.

show performances
  • 29 June 2012, 20.15, Grote Kerk, Den Haag, The Netherlands (Premiere)
    Bachelor Exam Composition Christiaan Richter

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    Instrumentalists & Singers of the Royal Conservatoire & Jochem Schuurman (organ)
    conducted by Manoj Kamps

    Conductor MaNOj Kamps
    [A] Flute (+Piccolo) Gaëlle Dohen
    [A] Oboe 1 Marleen Hoenink
    [A] Oboe 2 (+English Horn) Arthur Klaassens
    [A] Clarinet 1 (Bb+Eb) Anne Overpelt
    [A] Clarinet 2 (Bb) Daphne Caffa
    [A] Bass Clarinet Enric Sans Morera
    [A] Bassoon Esther Steffens
    [A] Saxophone 1 (A+T) Hugo Loi
    [A] Saxophone 2 (S+A+B) Marijke Kroon
    [A] Percussion Natalia Alvarez-Arenas Arias
    [A] Electric Guitar Martin van Hees
    [A] Soprano Sandra Pujols
    [A] Alto Janneke Vis
    [A] Tenor Georgi Sztojanov
    [A] Bass Wouter Verhage
    [A] Violin 1 Jouko Kuijk
    [A] Violin 2 James Hewitt
    [A] Violin 3 Ian de Jong
    [A] Violin 4 Ana Matias Pires
    [A] Violin 5 Pilar de Sena
    [A] Violin 6 Monique Verburgt
    [A] Viola 1 Annemarie Hensens
    [A] Viola 2 Johanna Thoma
    [A] Viola 3 Yoni van den Brink
    [A] Cello 1 Otto Bakker
    [A] Cello 2 Jascha Bordon
    [A] Cello 3 Hanne Steffers
    [A] Double Bass Paulien van Mourik
    [B] Flute 1 (+Piccolo) Zsófia Lázár
    [B] Flute 2 (+Piccolo) Paulius Gefenas
    [B] Flute 3 (+Piccolo) Kees van der Heijdt
    [B] Flute 4 (+Piccolo) Maaike Nugteren
    [B] Double Bassoon Marieke voor de Wind
    [B] Horn 1 Christian Schmitt
    [B] Horn 2 Edward Peeters
    [B] Horn 3 Ana Antunes Graça
    [B] Horn 4 Lewis Poh
    [B] Trumpet 1 Anne Oelers
    [B] Trumpet 2 Rutger Woudenberg
    [B] Trumpet 3 Paul van Gils
    [B] Trumpet 4 Jantien van den Boogaard
    [B] Tenor Trombone 1 Alejandro Luque Belmonte
    [B] Tenor Trombone 2 Anne-Ruth van Driel
    [B] Bass Trombone 1 Nuno Henriques
    [B] Bass Trombone 2 Konstantin Koev
    [B] Bass Tuba Adrian Miranda Redondo
    [B] Percussion 1 Wen-Hsin Chen
    [B] Percussion 2 Robert van den Bosch
    [B] Percussion 3 Rubén Castillo del Pozo
    [B] Bass Guitar Chad Langford
    [B] Soprano Reut Rivka Shabi
    [B] Alto Liza van der Peijl
    [B] Tenor David van Lith
    [B] Bass Kees-Jan de Koning
    [C] Flute (+Piccolo) Emeline Dessi
    [C] Oboe 1 Helmke Jansen
    [C] Oboe 2 (+English Horn) Kento Nomura
    [C] Clarinet 1 (Bb+Eb) Daniel Boeke
    [C] Clarinet 2 (Bb) Stefan Guirten
    [C] Bass Clarinet Vincent Martig
    [C] Bassoon Joeri Deckers
    [C] Saxophone 1 (S+A) Femke Steketee
    [C] Saxophone 2 (A+B) Daan van Koppen
    [C] Percussion Konstantyn Napolov
    [C] Electric Guitar Aktas Erdogan
    [C] Soprano Willemijn van Gent
    [C] Alto Itzel Trejo Medécigo
    [C] Tenor Lodewijk van der Ree
    [C] Bass Philip Barkhudarov
    [C] Violin 1 Bernadette Wijnhamer
    [C] Violin 2 Pablo Kleinsmann
    [C] Violin 3 Sanneke van der Ouw
    [C] Violin 4 Sara Teofilova
    [C] Violin 5 Caitlin Ensor
    [C] Violin 6 Holly van Klaveren
    [C] Viola 1 Riet Limburg
    [C] Viola 2 Peter Kooreman
    [C] Viola 3 Hens Haeck
    [C] Cello 1 Sebastiaan van den Bergh
    [C] Cello 2 Kees Limburg
    [C] Cello 3 Rinske Bosma
    [C] Double Bass Jordi Cassagne
    [D] Trumpet Nicolau Lafetá
    [D] Organ Jochem Schuurman

Awarded with the Nicolaï Prize for the most exceptional exam, graduating summa cum laude from the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague in 2012.


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