Roeland Hendrikx Ensemble | Le Bestiare
The Roeland Hendrikx Ensemble commissioned Belgian composer Piet Swerts to compose a new chamber music piece for clarinet, piano and string quartet. Swerts took his inspiration from Guillaume Apollinaire's iconic collection Le Bestiaire (1911) (with wood engravings by Raoul Dufy), in which 26 animals are reviewed in short, witty emblem poems. The poem about the peacock, for example, goes as follows:
The Peacock In spreading out his fan, this bird, Whose plumage drags on earth, I fear, Appears more lovely than before, But makes his derrière appear.
Thematically, Le Bestiaire is a fitting counterpart to Le Carnaval des Animaux (1886) by Camille Saint-Saens, which also contains character sketches of "animals" (note: for Saint-Saens, "pianists" and "fossils" are also animals...). Piet Swerts rearranged Saint-Saens' original for (bass) clarinet, strings and piano.
On occasion of the pending birth of Swerts’ Bestiaire, we intend to introduce the audience to the metier of musical creation. And so we let Piet Swerts speak for himself, or we project a short video during the concert that elucidates the process of commission, idea, composition, rehearsals, and creation.