Chamber music with voice
from composer Sylvia Maessen – personal website: click HERE
It is certainly no coincidence that composer Sylvia Maessen presents herself on this CD with songs performed by her sister, soprano Irene Maessen. She has been composing for Irene for at least a decade, and there’s no doubt that Irene inspired Sylvia to compose classical music alongside her profession as a double bass player and arranger. It must be said that Sylvia Maessen is undoubtedly as versatile a composer as she is a performing artist.
In both areas of her work, Sylvia Maessen is quite practical, but certainly not pragmatic. Her music assumes a certain matter-of-factness, her instrumentations are clear and as distinct as a pen and ink drawing. However, this façade disguises the lyrical spirit of a composer who prefers to make the texts of her choice as heartfelt as possible, as for example in Rubaiyat, IJskoningin (The Ice Queen) or De Minne (The Love Song). Each of these compositions proves Maessen’s ability to combine simplicity and economy with the intimacy of her personal musical narrative.
One immediately notices on this CD, the intimacy of words and tones, imagination and structure, diction and song which are quite striking. Through her music she becomes a great storyteller. Outstanding moments in a poem (e.g. a telephone ringing, a storm, bitter coldness), however imaginative, will never remain on the outside of the music’s binding structures.
Sylvia Maessen has a versatile palette at her disposal, which enables her to bring life to mediaeval texts with the same ease and self-evidence as her most recent poetry. A musical encounter with Sylvia and Irene Maessen is a special experience, since both artists have such fun in what they do and are capable of inciting many colleagues on this CD into their orbit of enthusiasm. As a listener too it is quite impossible for one to remain an outsider!