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Music for a Busy City goes online

03 May 2021

As part of the Rewire 2021 online edition, Rewire presents a new digital interpretation of the Music for a Busy City project planned to take place across The Hague at Rewire 2020.

Music for A Busy City features five new pieces of recorded music, each created in response to a specific characteristic location in the city centre. Up to 10 minutes long, these recorded pieces become part of the spaces that inspire them. The project consists of new commissioned compositions by Ain Bailey, Genevieve Murphy, and Pete Harden, Yannis Kyriakides will be presenting two new pieces.

Now with this online interpretation audiences are able to access these musical works remotely. Visitors are invited to explore a digital map of these five specific locations in The Hague, with 360-degree photography and video. Expanding our understanding of a musical experience, sound, physical and digital space, Music for a Busy City takes four composers out of the concert hall and into the urban landscape, making music for the spaces we pass every day. Taking this idea further under the current physical restrictions we face in 2021, the project questions our relationship with sound and public space, and what it means for this relationship to be digitally mediated.

Ain Bailey
Ain Bailey has created a new soundtrack for The Hague's famous arcade De Passage, the oldest shopping arcade in The Netherlands.

Genevieve Murphy
Genevieve Murphy is presenting a composition for the revolving doors of the iconic De Bijenkorf department store at Grote Marktstraat. Each section of the revolving door has its own musical voice. These voices can be listened to in isolation, when entering the revolving door, or as a composition; listening from a distance.

Pete Harden
The Gevangenpoort is formerly the gateway and also prison to the city of The Hague. Stood under its arched roof, in medieval times, you would be between those on the inside of the city, and those on the outside. You’d also be sheltering under the prisoners, locked in the building above. They too would walk through the gateway, some to freedom, some to their place of execution on the neighbouring Plaats. Separated acoustically from the outside world this is a small passageway of calm and refuge. This work is written especially for this interim space under the Gevangenpoort.

Yannis Kyriakides
The two sound works created for Music for a Busy City are connected to places in Den Haag associated with the philosopher Baruch Spinoza: De Nieuwe Kerk, next to his tombstone, and the Spinozahuis, Pavilioensgracht 72, his last abode. Both works are titled: ‘ The Order of Thoughts and Things’, at De Nieuwe Kerk: The Order of Thoughts and Things (Tombstone), and the Pavilioensgracht: The Order of Thoughts and Things (House). Both works juxtapose processed voice with materials such as stone and glass. In (Tombstone) the voices are made to resonate like glass, and are morphed with the sound of the many seagulls that flock around the church. In (House) an intimate female voice is stretched around the 4 corners of the square, triggering sequences of intense noise, and percussive sounds. The title of the work is based on a Proposition from Book 2 of the Ethics: 'The order and connection of ideas is the same as the order and connection of things.'

Music for a Busy City was first commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival in 2017 with new commissions by Mohammed Fairouz, Matthew Herbert, Huang Ruo, Anna Meredith, Olga Neuwirth and Philip Venables.