Roseherte (Rozalie Hirs)
This work for a ninety-piece orchestra and one hundred and fifty electronic sounds borrows its name from the Middle Dutch mythical animal that lives in the depths of the heart. Roseherte (rose hart) is roused from her eternal sleep by the Occitan unicorn. They set out in the rain as the sun breaks through and rainbows appear in the silver-grey sky. They sing about the zeppelins and air balloons flying by. Along with humming high-tension cables they sing of clouds and time. They are fond of pairs of dominant seventh chords whose roots are separated by the consonant interval of a perfect fifth. These pairs of seventh chords occur in various transpositions throughout Roseherte, and can be conceived as combinations of two or three harmonic series with matching partials. Roseherte employs ring modulation calculations between the two dominant seventh chords occurring within a pair. In this way, the two chords are, as it were, heard in the light of each other.
All calculations were done with OpenMusic software and transformed into the orchestral score by hand and ear. The calculated frequencies underlying the instrumental score were then used for sound synthesis with Csound software. During the performance of Roseherte, a musician triggers the synthesized sounds with a sampler, while two stereo loudspeakers placed next to the orchestra on stage project the electronic sounds into the hall. The resulting flexible soundtrack amplifies the orchestral mass during the performance: It adds perspective to the orchestral sound, blends with it mysteriously as a kind of aural halo, and, then again, sets itself apart placing the orchestra, as it were, in a sound space.
Roseherte was premiered by Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra with Micha Hamel (conductor) on 8th November 2008 at Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ, Amsterdam. It was nominated for the prestigious Toonzetters prize as one of the “ten most beautiful new works of 2008“.