New music by Carlijn Metselaar for Young

Dutch composer Carlijn Metselaar composed The Muscle that Raises the Wing especially for Concertgebouworkest Young. 'I do hope that after playing my work, they will have a greater appreciation for new music.'
Carlijn Metselaar - image: Harry Rafique
Carlijn Metselaar - image: Harry Rafique

What were you first thoughts when you received this commission?

'That I especially wanted to make a highly expressive piece full of energy and a wide emotional range. I remember clearly what it was like for me being 15, with so much energy and being keen to explore and try my strength, while that was quite daunting at the same time. All those kinds of feelings come out in this work.'

What is the meaning behind the title The Muscle that Raises the Wing?

This title represents both the muscular strength, the physical, and the energetic strength of mind that is often so palpable among young people too. I liked that as a starting point.'

Do you often work with young people?

'I've taught music and conducted choirs and school orchestras in the UK, which is the country I've lived since 2017. I love the uninhibitedness of children and adolescents, it's great how you can have a musical dialogue and make them blossom with a small impulse. I am looking forward to witnessing Young's rehearsals soon, nothing is more beautiful than the process in which your music comes to life. I am very sure that these young people will play this with conviction.'

What do you want to convey with this piece?

'There is not necessarily a message behind it, but I do hope that after playing my work, they will have a greater appreciation for new music. I often hear from young people that they find contemporary music cold and incomprehensible. My aim was to create an accessible piece.'

What are your next projects?

'I am doing quite a lot of fun things now, for instance I am composing the youth opera The Theory of Everything for Dutch National Opera and Ballet. I hope to write many more operas, as well as chamber music and works for choir and orchestra. What concerns me is how, as a composer, I can do something to address the climate crisis. How exactly I will express this I am still figuring out, perhaps through the text in a libretto or something like a sustainable setting. That has suddenly given me an idea, it would be an appropriate topic to discuss with the members of Young.'

Interview: Inge Jongerman