photo Polle Willemsen


festival Words & Music: Samuel Beckett, 1e festival day

Festival with dramatic monologues, tranquil music, moving concerts, interdisciplinary theater, installations and more.

Samuel Beckett, Words & Music


Not I
Nieuw werk – worldpremière, commissioned by Asko|Schönberg*)
Christian Wolff in Cambridge
Chorus and Instruments


What is the word (voor piano en stem)
Diese Freiheit – worldpremière, commissioned by Asko|Schönberg*)
Roundelay- worldpremière, commissioned by Asko|Schönberg*)


For Stefan Wolpe  

*) Supported by Performing Arts Fund NL

Afterwards: installation Shhh! by Dick Raaijmakers 

Cappella Amsterdam
Het Nationale Theater 
conductor Msnoj Kamps and Daniel Reuss
piano Reinbert de Leeuw
voice Gerrie de Vries

Order tickets for:

Saturday, 11 January 2020
17:00 hours
Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ


A 2-day (11 + 12 january) festival featuring dramatic monologues, hushed music, compelling concerts, interdisciplinary theatre, installations and more in every corner of the building.

Samuel Beckett was a literary genius, the author of tragicomic stage plays, verse and novels. But he was also an icon of absurdism and a writer of poems stripped to the bone. Although a great lover of music, he rarely worked with composers. With one exception, that is: the American Morton Feldman, who like Beckett, was a radically nonconformist artistic personality with a unique œuvre. Beckett’s words and Feldman’s music run through Words & Music, the festival where a different world appears behind every door, like a golden thread.

The programme featuring on the first day of the festival Words & Music: Samuel Beckett opens with the rarely performed Samuel Beckett, Words & Music, the result of the collaboration between Beckett and Feldman. Beckett’s Not I is a textual roller coaster in which all expression truly resides in the mouth of the performer, the text rhythmically being squeezed from the body. The theatrical composer Bart de Vrees is writing a commentary on Not I for ensemble, choir and actors. Christian Wolff in Cambridge is a work for choir which has been completely deboned – only pure sound remains, left behind like a residue. The compositions of György Kurtág, Klaas de Vries and Jan van de Putte are all very intimate. Kurtág’s What is the Word is based on Beckett’s poem of the same name in which the main character has lost the ability to speak and tries to recover it. Reinbert de Leeuw and Gerrie de Vries take the audience along in a theatrical performance examining the relationship between word and music. Klaas de Vries and Jan van de Putte are creating a new work for the festival. 
See the programme of the second festival day, 12 January.

On both days, Dick Raaijmakers’s installation Shhh! can be viewed in the Atrium afterwards.
Shhh! is based on a tape recording of Samuel Beckett’s film Film. In Film, Beckett used the sounds of falls and blows from a Laurel and Hardy film. Because the visual images are missing in Shhh!, the sounds of falling, heard in stereo at the highest volume, are totally unexpected. A slide projector on a tripod like a telescope projects a slowly drifting yellow moon on to a deep-blue night-time background. The moon moves as a result of the performer trying to manoeuvre the ponderous projector fluidly through the space. Over time, though, the signs of ruthless fatigue become apparent.