7 short attempts to write a piece for violin   2000

a stage performance for violin, actor and candle wax
made for FortLux Festival, IJmuiden NL
composed and acted by  Mendel Hardeman

I was asked to write a piece for solo violin, and happily accepted the challenge. Except for the small tunes I was writing for myself on guitar I had never composed any solo pieces, and now I discovered I was unable to do so. At least, unable to find any structure that could accomodate the notes I was writing. When the deadline was only 2 days ahead I became desperate and started going through all the bits and pieces I had written so far - there were 7 attempts, which had all shipwrecked and each one of them was leading nowhere. So I decided to put them all together and call them a piece, which finally gave me the liberating structure I had been looking for.

During the performance - the premiére was played by Janneke van Prooijen - I sat on stage and made a visual comment on the process I had gone through: wanting to express myself but not knowing how; not finding the ways to do it; in the end, feeling like a baby that hasn't yet developed sufficient vocabulary to say what he wants to say, so finally the only way out is to start crying.
I had brought a big pot full of candle wax, and melted it before the show. When the lights went up Janneke was standing on stage and started playing, while just next to her lay a big cloth covering an uncertain shape. I (under the cloth) started moving, uncovered myself, sat on the floor, and began making moulds out of different body parts: covering them with the hot wax, holding it until it had cooled down a bit, then taking it off and laying the chunk of wax, with my own imprint, on the floor in front of me. Since the wax was very hot, every part that was being moulded was getting burnt at the same time. I started off with a foot; then a hand; then an ear, my nose, and finally the inside of my mouth. After that I stood up and left stage, while Janneke was finishing playing the piece. During her last notes a soft sound of a crying baby started playing from backstage, where I was.

In later performances of the piece I changed the setup so that now I was sitting with my back to the audience, in such a way that nobody could properly see what I was doing. In front of me was a camera which followed my movements, and projected the image onto the wall. The sound of the crying baby at the end was replaced by a short video of a floating embryo.

performance history
30.06.00, FortLux Festival, IJmuiden NL
played by Janneke van Prooijen
15.12.00, Muziekcentrum de IJsbreker, Amsterdam
played by Janneke van Prooijen
01.06.01, Musikhochschule, Cologne, Germany
played by Barbara Lüneburg
07.06.01, Kees van Baarenzaal, Den Haag
played by Barbara Lüneburg

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◊ Caress

◊ Kyrie Eleison


◊ a Tree for Glenn Gould

◊ Um Homem e uma Cruz

◊ Via Crucis

◊ The Cup

◊ Epilogue to Orpheus

◊ Harpsichorpheus

◊ Sysif's Song

◊ Dark Blue Horizon

◊ Times and Tides

◊ Unholy Vessels



◊ 7 short attempts to
    write a piece for violin

◊ Reveal thyself Alighieri

◊ Last days of a cross

◊ A Última Quimera

◊ the Singing Camera

◊ Het Dierenparadijs

◊ Tattooed Tongues

◊ Slowly turning narrative

◊ Planecrash

◊ A View on Beauty
Mendel Hardeman arquivo 1999-2006
o olho que canta