silence #14: bj nilsen and zeno van den broek

3 August 2018

Early in the morning the Oude Kerk is a meditative oasis in the city, with an enervating sunrise that casts light through the church’s towering windows. At this early hour you can enjoy the Silence music programme, which provides a contemplative contrast to the normally hectic city centre. In collaboration with Giorgio Andreotta Calò, the Oude Kerk has organized a new series of Silence concerts, each of which takes place on the first Friday of the month, from June through September.

silence – anastasis
Giorgio Andreotta Calò makes a statement using a simple intervention: he bathes the Oude Kerk in red filtered daylight. This new work, Anastasis, isa red veil that alludes to the building’s two-fold history: it contrasts the warm, colourful atmosphere of the the Oude Kerk’s Catholic past against the visual emptiness since the Calvinist Iconoclastic Fury of 1566 and the Reformation of 1578. All the sounds used for the Silence concerts during Anastasisare associated with the space of the Oude Kerk itself: the organs, the bells and the choral music of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, who served here as organist for 40 years. Each concert is performed at a different location within the church, moving with the sun around the space in the months of June, July, August and September. The first concert, with Zeno van den Broek, took place in the Lady Chapel. The second, wholly acoustic concert takes place in the Sanctuary, the third concert in the Sebastian Chapel, and the fourth with the Oude Kerk’s two monumental organs on the northwest side of the church.

bj nilsen en zeno van den broek
The concert on 3 August consists of an electronic composition by BJ Nilsen and sound artist Zeno van den Broek. During the previous silence concert on the 1 June, van den Broek used the ‘Lucier-method’ to find the natural frequencies of the church building. During the performance van den broek used the sounds that are inseparable from the church: the transept-organ and amplified bells. A composition of 4 minutes was performed, recorded, played back while recorded again, played back and again. The performance resulted into more and more abstract resonances, in tune with the architecture of the church.
Together with the Swedish composer and sound artist, BJ Nilsen, Zeno van den Broek is working on a new composition in which the sound of the church bells are amplified. With this sound the spaces inside and outside the church will merge together.

music in the oude kerk
The Oude Kerk boasts an impressive musical history and in the sixteenth century was one of the first places in Northern Europe where audiences could enjoy public concerts that were easily accessible. In November 2016 the Oude Kerk launched the Silencemusic series, with concerts early in the morning that correspond with the Oude Kerk’s art programme and the context of a monumental historic building. In these concerts the Oude Kerk presents itself as a new platform for contemporary spatial music: audiences and musicians explore the building together, in different places and ever-changing choreographies.

forthcoming editions of silence
Friday, 7 September, a concert with bells, organs and electronics, composer Claire M Singer in association with composer / organist Jacob Lekkerkerker.


silence #14: bj nilsen and zeno van den broek
3 August 2018, 8-9 am
price: 10 euro (online tickets)
(free entrance with museumkaart, we are public-pas or vriendenpas)


photo credits: © maarten nauw