Willem Boogman



16:45 minutes

commissioned by

Bobby Mitchell

dedicated to

Theo van Schaagen


Genieting - the cycle

›Genieting VII‹ is the seventh in a series of solo compositions entitled ›Genieting‹ (›pleasure‹, ›enjoyment‹), the translation of the French ›jouissance‹ used by the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas. I interpreted this term not only in the sense of what it means to be a soloist but also as the kind of music the soloist plays. In ›Genieting‹ the music is brought back to its constituent elements, whence it is built up once again.

»La jouissance est un retrait en soi, une involution.
... une exaltation vibrante où le soi se lève.«

Emmanuel Levinas

buy the score


Genieting VII

for piano (2015 | 17)


Genieting VII - premiere by Bobby Mitchell
live recording by Bert van Dijk for the Concertzender | Composer Portrait: Willem Boogman, February 24, 2019
Orgelpark Amsterdam

score sample

Stacks Image 64

program notes

Genieting VII is based on the first movement of the piano sonata in G, D.V. 894 (1826) by Franz Schubert.
The performance of this sonata by Sviatoslav Richter made a deep impression on me. His extremely slow tempo gives each tone the space to sound, and due to his frequent use of the pedal a colorful nebula of sound is created above the music.
This listening experience reminded me of the wish to write a piano piece consisting of tremoli with depressed pedal. The use of these techniques evokes rich resonance via the soundboard from inside the piano. The ability to elicit this dim reverberation distinguishes the piano from other instruments.
So I came to compose Genieting VII, a piece for piano, which unfolds in the overtone regions of Schubert’s sonata through many tremoli with depressed pedal. Schubert's sonata is veiled, sometimes audible, often inaudible, but constantly present.
My music relates to that of Schubert as a ›self‹ that encloses the ›I‹. Or, as Giorgio Agamben quotes Giacomo da Lentini in ancient Italian: »no la persona, ma la sua figura« - the motto of the piece.

The working method I applied was roughly as follows: I made a selection of sixteen overtones based on the extent to which they deviate from the equal temperament, eight tones with a deviation more than fourteen cents and eight less than fourteen cents.
So I had eight four-part chords at my disposal: two for the right hand and two for the left, plus their four inversions. In general, these chords modulate along with the harmonic progress of Schubert’s sonata.
With this material I made my own composition, inspired per measure and per note by what I gradually came across in Schubert's music. Sometimes Schubert's melodic main points appear as signposts in my composition.

One of the elements that make up the cycle of solo pieces entitled Genieting is the discovery and utilization of the physical properties of the instruments. The soloist is challenged to controll these properties and apply them for a personal musical expression.
Genieting is the translation of the term ›jouissance‹ (enjoyment), as used by the French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas: »La jouissance est un retrait en soi, une involution. ... une exaltation vibrante où le soi se lève.« (Emmanuel Levinas, Totalité et Infini, La Haye, M. Nijhoff 1974, p. 91)
The Dutch title should be used at all times.

Willem Boogman, May 2017
(Translated by Sandra Macrander)