November Music: Norm and Trace in The Netherlands #2

The flight was surprisingly fast, we arrived an hour early due to favourable winds! I met up with Allison and Linda and we got the train to Den Bosch. We were forced to kill a few hours before we could check in and collapse, but we drank coffee, and ate eggs and got more and more punch drunk from lack of sleep.

After the nap (interrupted every 15 minutes by the bells of St. Jan’s Cathedral) that I tore myself out of only thanks only to an iron will, I did a Norm walk around Den Bosch. A walk of this kind involves very rough navigation, making random discoveries, getting lost, pulling out my phone and surprising myself where I got to. European towns are usually pretty disorienting (Although Dutch ones can be a bit better thanks to orientating canals), and just when I was feeling good about knowing where I was, I passed a store for the second time, having looped with out knowing it! Good fun.

Den Bosch is quiet thanks to a lack of cars or at least cars in use in the old part of town, It’s got all that amazing blend of old and beautiful new, often in the same building. The interior of St. Jans is huge and has a central alter that is very modern, along with some lighting and stained glass that is obviously contemporary, right alongside the more historic features.

It’s a relatively compact town, and I have seen a potential running route for tomorrow that will take me into the countryside, only a few minutes from here!

The first concerts at night were disappointing as we missed the first one entirely due to a late dinner. After some wandering and getting to know/reacquainting with each other, we found our way to the wrong venue, and were finally led to the RIGHT venue by the procession of audience members. The concert itself was a at Willem Toonzaal, an old hall converted to new, which seated perhaps 100. The music was by Gilius van Bergeijk a Dutch composer. The concert was 3 of his pieces, two acousmatic, possibly interactive electronic pieces, the first with reel to reel tape and 2 old turntables , the second a fixed media tape with involved a Gandalf’s deconstruction of Death and the Maiden by Schubert. Both were tonal with a few noise elements. In the middle was his Symphony played by Ensemble Modelo62, a local new music ensemble. This music was 5 movements alternating between slow and fast. It too was more or less tonal, culminating in a joyful folky tune in the last movement. Not cutting edge stuff, and a little long for me in general, but I’m happy to be here!

I think we all slept well. It was a big day!

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