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(w)here (2002)
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ASKO Ensemble
photo: Hans Vissers

(w)here is my answer to a little survey I did among composers with the title: "where do composers do it?", in search of the sound-circumstances composers are writing their music in. Here are some of the answers I received:

- "Most of the time I have the TV on while I compose. Preferably with a football match, tennis or the BBC."

- "I hear cars, shouting people (children or others) on the street, bicycles, dogs, cats, movie sounds."

- "I hear myself walking... squeaking sounds under my feet because of the wood. I hear dogs barking... people talking... scooters passing by... drunk people after 1 a.m., talking loudly and laughing... and planes across the sky... sometimes the wind but always the rain against the window."

- "I hear the zoom of my computer, CNBC Financial News."

- "I hear discussion programs on the so-called 'heavy' radio stations. Never music. Most often silence. Telephone off the hook."

- "I hear the children in the house playing computer games or practising their instruments, some traffic on the road, the birds in the backyard, but most of the time NOTHING, because I generally compose at night when the world is at sleep, between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m."

- "I USED TO DO IT anywhere: city noises, other people in the room, shouting, conversations, TV, radio, on the bus, on the train, on the beach, in a bar, didn't mind.
THINGS HAVE CHANGED: the last few years I needed a quiet and private space and lots of time; I moved from Amsterdam to a quiet street in a smaller town. Why? Because it was no longer only a hobby, it was no longer free. I am no longer free. I realized this some months ago. I am now waiting for composing to be free again. Composing should be fun. Thank you for reminding me: I should try to do it on the bus again.
"

http://www.maykenas.nl/where
Instrumentation: tuba solo, fl, ob, cl, b-cl, bsn, cor, trp, trbn, pf, 2 perc, 2 vl, vla, vlc

Duration: ± 7 minutes

First Performance: 3 september 2002 during the Gaudeamus Music Week in Paradiso in Amsterdam by Tjeerd Oostendorp & ASKO Ensemble cond. Etienne Siebens

Written for: ASKO Ensemble

Commissioned by: Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst & November Music

Review of the première in the Gaudeamus Music Week: "The Dutch composers at least make choices, impose restrictions on themselves, take an adventuruous direction. Merlijn Twaalfhoven sends a viola on an expedition to South India. Mayke Nas lets a tuba groan and growl as long as just a comic 'Yoo-hoo!' in the high register can break the spell.

But above all, the young Dutch composers have a sense of theatre. Kruisselbrink exploits the whisper-capacity of the Nieuw Ensemble . Nas has the experienced players of the Asko ensemble rub their upper legs with flat hands in rhythmic unison. Van der Aa gives the percussionist shiny button light switches to play with.

Where van der Aa chooses a robust position, Astrid Kruisselbrink rather carefully elaborates her notes in 'Mond', arranges them in a sensitive, at times sensual order. From her, the young foreigners can learn a thing or two about mysterious tone-sliding. Like they can conlude from '(w)here' by Mayke Nas that blowing airsounds and intelligence can go together very well."

(Guido van Oorschot, Volkskrant, 5 september 2002)

Radio-review: "Another ambiguous title. (W)here. In which the word 'here' is included in brackets. In the program notes Mayke Nas did not write a musicological discourse, but some anecdotes from fellow composers whom she posed the question where exactly they compose.

The reactions ranged from "most of the time I have the TV on while I compose" or "I hear the zoom of my computer," to the following story: "USED TO DO IT: Anywhere, city noises, other people in the room, shouting, conversations, tv, radio, on the bus, on the train, on the beach, in a bar, didn't mind.
THINGS HAVE CHANGED: Since a few years, I needed a quiet and private space and lots of time, I moved from Amsterdam to a quiet street in a smaller town."

All the anecdotal aside: Mayke Nas wrote a brilliant scherzo-like music full of rasping sounds, comical irony and a leading role for Tjeerd Oostendorp who plays a very difficult tuba-part. "

(Wim Laman, VPRO Radio IV, 25 september 2002)