Underneath Museum Belvédère flows the Grand Canal. The straight water and flanking groves form a curious contrast to the lush nature elsewhere in the park landscape. A floating bridge has been built over the water with a scaffold with large horizontal wooden panels in the middle: the semantron. As the audience sits on a long row of benches on either side of the canal, they hear the call of the semantron being rhythmically struck. Suddenly, answers sound from all sides and the piece begins.
Centuries ago, the residents of the estate set out to find a new relationship between man and nature. They initially chose a Baroque approach, in which man rules over nature. The neo-Baroque museum park refers to this, but also comments on it, such as with an idiosyncratic meandering path that cuts through the geometric surfaces.
Simantron is about balancing the contradictions that connect humans, technology and nature.
Commissioned by Oranjewoud Festival , Greek composer Aspasia Nasopoulou wrote The Call of the Semantron, a site-specific work for saxophone quartet and two percussionists using these details as a starting point.
The audience listens to the beating on the panels as practiced in traditional monasteries in the Balkans and further east as an alarm or a call to prayer. The four saxophones imitate nature but also seek to perfect it, just as humans do. The interplay of wood and metal sounds creates both contrast and connection as if to invite the listener to choose a different path that deviates from the straight line.
Players Maat Saxophone Quartet
Daniel Ferreira, soprano saxophone
Catarina Gomes, alto saxophone
Pedro Silva, tenor saxophone
Mafalda Oliveira, baritone saxophone
Made possible in part by Fonds Podiumkunsten