Imaginations 1

( 1978/rev. 2022)

World premiere 1978 Gaudeamus Week by Lieuwe Visser, baritone and Maarten Bon, piano.

I wrote Imaginations 1 when I was still a composition student. When I hit upon the idea of writing a composition for voice and piano I knew ahead of time that I would not be using an existing text, but a sound text of my own making. This would have many advantages, because I would not be tied to any musical illustration, but be totally free to evoke suggestions, and the voice would function as a musical instrument.
The construction of the words is as follows; The consonants from the alphabet are organized using a system of rotation. The vowels are organized according to two sound circles. Per word the number of syllables increases or decreases.

While composing, small interval series were used. Tension and release by means of increasing and decreasing intervals was the starting point. At the conclusion, which begins at the moment that the cymbal is put back on the piano strings, it becomes evident that the singer is singing something entirely different from what is in the score: he is reveling in the pomp and splendor of his own voice. The pianist refuses to go along with the singer’s antics and, finally, disappears. The singer doesn’t notice this until much later. Embarrassed, he then slinks from the stage.

Sources of inspiration: the Sonata in Urlaut by Kurt Schwitters, Surrealism and the music of George Crumb.

Have a look at the lyrics and its pronunciation here.

Lieuwe Visser and Robert Nasveld