Palestina - 'n Muur rondom


[ 'n Muur rondom, fixed medium, June 2012, 3m48s, Stereo ]

This composition is made after visting Bethelehem (Palestine) and Jeruzalem (Israel and Palestine) in June 2012. I was invited by the Arab Educational Institute to learn some youth how to collect sounds related to their environment (phsyical, cultural) and use them in meaningful way to transform it in a piece of music, so that they can use it for a musical or theatrical play. This fits in their own work with (a) the training of future “cultural entrepreneurs,” (b) the development of music for the YouTube films, and (c) the development of a 'Wall Museum', where sounds and sounsscapes like mine, also may play a role.

During my visit I became inspired by the sonic environment of the 'Holy Land' and within this particular context I made a lot of field recordings. Upon return I started composing the sound material in a narrative way. The composition starts with recorded Palestinian workers waiting in a long steel cage in the early morning at one of the ceckpoints in Bethlehem. You can hear the bleeps and collapsing steel of the entrance gate. Palestine men and women are waiting for about 2 hours before they can go to their work on the other side of the wall. Next, the listener hears the sounds of bells, recorded at the roof top of the church of the Holy Sepulchre, where the Ethiopian christians housed them self. These sounds are accomponied by some cello notes by Mascha van Nieuwkerk. Later on in the compositon Thomas Wessels on trumpet and myself on cIarinet join also in an interactive way with an electronic music system. The middle part begins with an Islamic prayer recorded from the minaret standing in front of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Around these sounds I composed clarinet and trumpet lines with live electronics. Subsequently Gregorian chanting, recorded in the church of the Holy Sepulchre, is interwoven in a 'sound bed' of electronics. Near the end of the composition a market salesman is greeting you: "Welcome!" The final piece is formed by a ceremonial, traditional riddle performed by women of Palestina and accompanied by a cello line I've wrote for Mascha van Nieuwkerk.