Zwavel, Was & Suiker
Carel Kuitenbrouwer (concept and lighting design)
Anke Brouwer (soundscape)
Martijn Padding (composer of the live piece ‘Al-Le-Louis’)
ASKO|Schönberg, directed by Jurjen Hempel
Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, Amsterdam, 6 June 2009
This is a recording of the performance of Zwavel, Was & Suiker (‘Sulphur, Wax & Sugar’) in the main auditorium at the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ on 6 June 2009.
The performance was the brainchild of graphic designer and artist Carel Kuitenbrouwer. From the moment the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ first opened in 2005, he was eager to use the unique acoustic walls of the auditorium as a medium for integrated spatial, auditory and visual art. The walls are made of two hundred corrugated plaster elements overlaid with slats. During construction the plaster elements were fitted with LED lighting, allowing each one to be lit in any particular colour at any moment.
The start of the ceremonial part of the concert marking composer Louis Andriessen’s seventieth birthday on 6 June 2009 gave Kuitenbrouwer his first actual opportunity to try out the immense capabilities of the LED walls.
The proposal he submitted was accepted by the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, the ASKO|Schönberg ensemble and the Holland Festival.
Kuitenbrouwer came up with a three-part composition:
An approximately ten-minute lead-in from the interval to the second part of the evening programme.
The second part was inspired by the candles on a traditional birthday cake. The quadrophonic soundscape for this was composed and produced by Anke Brouwer.
The culmination was Martijn Padding’s composition ‘Al-Le-Louis’, played by an expanded ASKO|Schönberg ensemble. Immediately following this, the Mayor of Amsterdam presented Andriessen with the city’s silver medal of honour.
For this three-part performance Kuitenbrouwer joined forces with composers Martijn Padding and Anke Brouwer. At Kuitenbrouwer’s request the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ purchased special hardware and software to help operate the LED walls. He also devised an animation environment in which to create simulations.
As the full credits make clear, dozens of technicians, programmers and advisors (from the organisations concerned and elsewhere) were involved in the project, which could never have come to fruition without their often voluntary efforts.
This DVD includes an impression of the lead-in and a complete recording of the second and third parts. The introduction was recorded with two cameras, the second part with three and the live part with one.
Reactions in the press:
NRC Handelsblad, Monday 8 June 2009:
Graphic artist Carel Kuitenbrouwer’s spectacular Zwavel, Was & Suiker, with music by Anke Brouwer and Martijn Padding, was the first attempt to finally put the Muziekgebouw’s LED walls to optimum use, with a dazzling multiplicity of colour that in turn referred to Andriessen’s own work. (Jochem Valkenburg)
Trouw, Monday 8 June 2009:
Notwithstanding the informality of the brief compositions by friends and ex-pupils, the multimedia performance Zwavel, Was & Suiker by artist Carel Kuitenbrouwer and composers Brouwer and Padding was convincing evidence of a bold urge to keep experimenting and to tackle issues. (Kees Arntzen)
The recording displayed here has been published privately on DVD. All rights to the contents are owned by the makers. © 2009
The following were involved in Zwavel, Was & Suiker:
Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ: Jarko Aikens, Marc Breed, Martine Melenhorst
Rapenburg Plaza: Rutger van Dijk (programming of LED walls)
ASKO|Schönberg ensemble: Willem Hering, Aafje Roth, Jurjen Hempel, Nola Exel, Rob van Dord, Jana Machalett, Evert Weidner, Oliver Boekhoorn, Liesbeth de Jong, Erik van Deuren, Rene Pagen, Wim Timmermans, Willem van der Vliet, Hessel Buma, Marc Busscher, Arno Schipdam, Anton van Houten, Marijke van Kooten, Wim de Jong, Joe Puglia, Jacobien Rozemond, Maaike Aarts, Inge Jongerman, Maartje Kraan, Patricio Wang, Pauline Post, Gerard Bouwhuis, Gerrit Hommerson, Paul van Utrecht, Ger de Zeeuw, Wim Vos, Michiel Weidner, Gea Plantinga
Panis Musical Engineering, Jan Panis
Holland Festival: Joke van Amersfoort, Pieter Loman
Amsterdam Fund for the Arts: Roy Cremers, Eefke van Nuenen
Stichting ZieZo: Leo Vroman
Willem Heshusius (camera)
Anders and Pieter Veltkamp (DVD)
Bookmakers: Kevin Cook (English translation)
Particular thanks to Mayor Job Cohen and Louis Andriessen