Symphony No 2 ("Tshikona") (2018)

for Huygens-Fokker 31-tone organ

Dedicated to Christina Viola Oorebeek


Duration: c. 9 minutes


First performance: Sunday 13 May 2018, 11h00; Stichting Huygens-Fokker, Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Piet Heinkade 5, NL-1019 BR Amsterdam, Stichting Huygens-Fokker, Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Amsterdam; Michael Blake Fokker organ controlled by MIDI.

Programme note

The Venda reedpipe dance (from Limpopo, the most northerly province of South Africa), can involve over 100 players each blowing a single reed pipe. With dancing and drumming, a performance may last anything up to an hour or longer. Symphony No 2 (“Tshikona”) is a portrait of the Venda reedpipe dance, translated through the model of the French organ symphony – a short, one-movement symphony in this case, and simulated using a hypothetical African-tuned heptatonic scale, made possible by the microtonal Huygens-Fokker organ. (My First Symphony “From the Third World” is for orchestra.) There is also reference to mechanical fairground organs, and the drums are simulated by microtonal clusters for the pedals, a notion borrowed from Charles Ives.