About a year ago Karin de Boef played all the Simon Songs published at the time. After the concert I was approached by Katja Bosch and Janpeter Muilwijk. They told me they would like to give me a commission for a piano piece. A piano piece dedicated to their daughter Mattia who died in the fall of 2015.
Both Katja and Janpeter are visual artists and the premiere of the piece would be part of an opening of an exhibition at the Domkerk in Utrecht in September 2017.
A few months later we sat around the table for the first time. Katja and Janpeter told about the backgrounds of Mattia's death, about her great vulnerability and her psychological suffering that brought her to her suicide. But also about her bravery and the great love she could give and receive.
We talked about music, what it should be and what it shouldn't be. We talked about their profound wish that the music would spread across the world as much as possible.
From the very first moment we understood each other in a very fundamental way. A mutual understanding of our ideas about art, emotion, content and context.
It was the first of several special and great meetings. It's unbelievably how open, how honest and how full of love these two people deal with their big loss. Everything could be said, even about my own doubts. Doubt about the music itself and my own integrity in this commission with such a sad background.
The first months of this year I was busy writing The Ballad of the Salt Water, a piece for three choirs and organ, commissioned by the Groningen Art Council, which is also, from another angle, about the death of young people.
Then, in May, I began to work on what had to become For Mattia. It wasn't easy. Where I write one Simon Song after another with an unconstrained attitude - just composing in between doing the the dishes and the eight o'clock news - this commission asked for the most beautiful piano music in the world. At least I felt it this way. The result was getting blocked. For weeks.
Of course, eventually For Mattia was finished. The requested four minutes became more than eight. It's not up to me to judge if the music is the most beautiful piano music in the world. I only know that I feel very honored I could write this music for Katja and Janpeter and their son Otto.
The world is often not fair. Katja and Janpeter lost their daughter Mattia. I have the feeling of having two new dear friends.
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
For Mattia will be premiered by pianist Karin de Boef, September 10, 2017 in the Domkerk in Utrecht (NL)
For Mattia is released on CD (single) and is available on this site.
The cd is recorded by Pim van der Werken with me playing the piano in the Doopsgezinde Kerk in my hometown Middelburg.