Rock Lounge

Composer: Various Composers ()
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Composer: Various Composers ()

Performance date: 25/06/2022

Venue: Bantry House

Duration: 00:56:28

Recording Engineer: Eduardo Prado, Ergodos

Instrumentation: 2vn, va, vc

Instrumentation Category:String Quartet

Artists: Signum Quartet (Florian Donderer, Annette Walther [violins], Xandi van Dijk [viola], Thomas Schmitz [cello]) - [String Quartet]

Franz Schubert [1797-1828]

Lied aus der Ferne, D.107 

Hirtenmelodien aus Rosamunde, D.797 

Frühlingsglaube, D.686 

Cream: Sunshine of your love 


Ins stille Land, D.403 

Abendstern, D.806 

Mokale Koapeng: Komeng 

Matthijs van Dijk: (rage) rage against the 

Wandrers Nachtlied, D.768 

Auf dem Wasser zu singen, D.774

Led Zeppelin: Heartbreaker 

Die Götter Griechenlands, D.677 

Schwanengesang, D.744 

Radiohead: Paranoid Android 

[Please save your applause for after the italicised works.]

The Signum Quartet is a great fan of late-night events, and one of our favourite projects for this is our so-called Rock Lounge. Here we examine the intersection points between rock music and classical music: There are many palpable musical and energetic similarities between the two – Beethoven’s overwhelming Große Fuge must have had a similar visceral, mind-bending effect on the listeners of his day that Led Zeppelin had on theirs.

It is these points of intersection which Matthijs van Dijk captures so wonderfully in his arrangements and paraphrases of well-known rock songs and in his own rock-inspired works. He is an award-winning composer of “serious” contemporary music as well as a songwriter, not to mention a seasoned string quartet violinist and a rock bassist and singer. It is this multifaceted experience that gives him a unique angle on this type of arrangement. He retains the essence of the songs without looking to use the quartet unidiomatically, and the result is often more akin to a commentary or paraphrase than a straight transcription. In fact, in the arrangement of Cream’s Sunshine, he weaves in musical quotations of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Doors and Bob Marley in a kind of musical acid trip within a trip.

Tonight, instead of pairing Matthijs’ arrangements with Stravinsky, Schulhoff et al, we have aimed for the greatest possible contrast in juxtaposing them primarily with his brother Xandi’s Schubert Lied arrangements. These are fragile, delicate and intimate Lieder, yet musically and thematically there are a number of relationships. Most obviously, almost all of the works are songs, and those that are not are strongly connected to a song. Mokale Koapeng’s Komeng is based on a South African uhadi bow song by the master bow player Nofinishi Dywili, and Matthijs’s (rage) takes thematic material and an elegiac tone from Led Zeppelin’s In My Time of Dying as a point of departure.

Xandi van Dijk

Matthijs van Dijk [born 1983]


(rage) rage against the [2018]

While I’ve written many pieces dealing with death in a broad sense (having lost a parent at 18, it would only be natural that it would work its way into my music), I don’t often write works that are directly about my own mortality. Taking a lot of inspiration from Dylan Thomas’ poem Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, specifically the chorus Rage, rage against the dying of the light., most of (rage) is about pondering the inevitable (specifically THE moment), swinging from acceptance to being terrified, raging and pleading, to almost welcoming it – an internal monologue something those of us who deal with depression regularly have to confront.

Musically, while recently I’ve been including many electronic dance music gestures in my pieces (with (rage) being no exception), the above mentioned chorus nudged me in a direction to include several tips-of-the-hat to my first love – rock and metal – with the cello taking the role of electric guitar, banging out elements that could potentially be played by artists as Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Rage Against The Machine.

Matthijs van Dijk