– Rehearsing in La Roche

Today our blog is a bit later than usual. We had our first rehearsal for our Easter Concert in the Saint Nicolas church in La Roche, that’s why. It also means that the morning is used for yoga, meditation and doing many exercises to warm up my voice. For Gérard and Marijke “flute” that probably looks a bit different.

We really had to get used to the big space again. The last winter months it was good to be able to rehearse in my music room, but performing in this spacious environment is quite different. And adding to that the beautiful weather caused the beginning of my allergy, as we say “frogs in my throat”.

The church was so beautiful now as the sun was shining through the glass stain windows, making coloured marks on walls, chairs, statues and floor. My favourite statue is that of Mother Mary with little baby Jesus on her arm, close to the organ.

It really is inspiring to make music in this place. Soeur Simone is taking good care of us and the people who entered and remained to listen for a while, were enthusiastic.

Did you mark the date? Sunday 14 April 2019 at 16.00 hrs!

Have a lovely week,

Marijke Persijn

– MaGMa Trio Easter concert: Ich will Dir mein Herze schenken

In last weeks blog we spoke about the aria “Erbarme dich” from the Saint Matthew Passion by J.S.Bach (1685-1750). During our Easter concert in the Saint Nicolas church in La Roche-en-Ardenne on 14 April 2019 at 16.00 hrs, we will also perform the moving recitative “Wiewohl mein Herz in Tränen schwimmt” and the beautiful aria “Ich will dir mein Herze schenken”.
We have chosen to bring it in the original key for the soprano voice, G major. Every key creates its own atmosphere. If played with original instruments, which we have not, it would sound half a tone lower. And if we would use the partition for the mezzo voice in F-major, it would be one whole tone lower and thus not reflect the atmosphere which is intended in this aria, we feel.

Also this time I found some nice programmes in my “basket” and they brought back sweet memories.
In those days Eric and I, together with our children, lived in Hengelo, in the east of the Netherlands near the German border.
There we had the opportunity to enjoy an impressive performance of Saint Matthew Passion in the City Hall in 1986.
Later our son Kim joined the boys choir of the Saint Plechelmus Basilica in Oldenzaal and he had the opportunity to sing in both the Saint Matthew Passion by Bach as the Messiah by Händel. They even made a trip with their choir to Italy and it all left a great impression!

Ich will Dir mein Herze schenken
Before I present the text of the recitative and the aria, I’d also like to give you the “introduction”, to better be able to understand their context.

He answered thus and said:
He who his hand with me in the dish now dippeth, this one will
betray me. The Son of man indeed goeth hence, as it hath been
written of him; but woe to that man through whom the Son of man
hath been betrayed! It were better for him if this very man had never
been born.
Then answered Judas, who betrayed him, and said:
Is it I, Rabbi?
He said to him:
Thou sayest.
But when they ate, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and
brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying:
Take, eat, this is my Body.
And he took the cup and, giving thanks, he gave it to them, saying:
Drink, all of you, from this; this is my blood of the New Testament,
which hath been poured out here for many in remission of their sin
I say to you: I shall from this moment forth no more drink from this
the fruit of the grapevine until the day when I shall drink it anew
with you within my Father’s kingdom.

Recitative – Soprano
Wiewohl mein Herz in Tränen schwimmt,
Although my heart swims in tears
Das Jesus von mir Abschied nimmt,
Because Jesus takes leave of us,
So macht mich doch sein Testament erfreut:
Yet his testament makes me glad.
Sein Fleisch und Blut, o Kostbarkeit,
His flesh and blood, o preciousness,
Vermacht er mir in meine Hände.
He bequeaths into my hands.
Wie er es auf der Welt mit denen Seinen
As he, in the world, with his own
Nicht böse können meinen,
Could not think evil,
So liebt er sie bis an das Ende.
So he still loves them to the end.

Aria – Soprano
Ich will dir mein Herze schenken,
Senke dich, mein Heil, hinein!
Ich will mich in dir versenken;

I will give my heart to thee;
Sink thyself in it, my Salvation.
I will submerge myself in thee.
Ist dir gleich die Welt zu klein,
Ei, so sollst du mir allein
Mehr als Welt und Himmel sein.

And if the world is too small for thee,
Ah, then for me alone shalt thou
Be more than world and heaven.

Enjoy the week,
Marijke Persijn

– MaGMa Trio Easter concert: Erbarme dich

J.S. Bach 1685-1750

During our Easter concert in the Saint Nicolas church in La Roche-en-Ardenne (14 April at 16.00 hrs), we will pay tribute to Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750). His Matthäuspassion (Saint Matthew Passion) had been forgotten, but it was reintroduced by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809–1847). Since then this beautiful and touching work is being performed each year during the Easter period.

F. M. Bartholdy 1809-1847

I have a little basket full of programmes of concerts. On top of this pile was the booklet of the Saint Matthew Passion in Hoorn (Netherlands) of 13 April 1946! I have no idea where I got it from. Perhaps because my aunt Dora van Meegen-Jorritsma sang the alto part or because she played the violin in the orchestra? I remember, when I was still a child, that I was in tears when she sang the Ave Maria by Schubert. She was a much appreciated and loved singer who had a extraordinary warm timbre. Regrettably she died being only 56 years of age …

Although I am a mezzo, I will sing the aria “Erbarme dich” as it is written in the partition. Whenever orchestras play the music with authentic instruments, everything sounds half a note lower. Ideal for me in soprano partitions. But it means that also the partitions for the alto voice are lowered half a note and the aria then is sung sometimes by a contra-alto, like the magnificent Delphine Galou. Definitely worth listening to!

The text in German is:
Erbarme dich, mein Gott, um meiner Zähren willen!
Schaue hier, Herz und Auge weint vor dir Bitterlich.

They are the words spoken by Saint Peter and translate as follows:

Have mercy, My God, for my tears sake;
Look hither, Heart and eyes weep before thee bitterly.

The Evangelist introduces this aria by telling/singing:

And at this moment the cock crew. Then Peter thought back to the
words of Jesus, when he said unto him: “Before the cock shall have
crowed, wilt three times thou have denied me.” And he went out an
wept with great bitterness.

Heartbreaking words with heartbreaking music …
Luckily the Passion time is followed by the happy Easter time. You’ll find this in our programme as well.

Wishing you another great week with lovely music!
Marijke Persijn

– Our own MaGMa Trio composer: Gérard Lambert

A composer needs inspiration for her or his creations. Mother Mary, Marijke Verbeeck and myself seem to have been the sources of inspiration for Gérard Lambert when he wrote his beautiful work “Je vous salue, Marie” or “Hail Mary”.

If you had the opportunity to view the video that announces our Easter concert, you’ve already heard an exerpt of this contemplative composition of Gérards.

During our “Florilège Baroque” concert of 25 June 2016 in the Saint Nicolas church of La Roche, Eric made a video of this piece which can be heard and seen on YouTube. Also during the concert in April this work is part of our programme. In the period around Easter, Mother Mary occupies an important place. The Mother who sees her son being crucified. And how lucky she must have been after it is discovered that He has arisen from His grave! In this blog you can enjoy the full video.

Once more we wish you a memorable week with great music!

Marijke Persijn

– Salve Regina by Pergolesi, text and translation

Just click on it …

Especially for you all: the videoclip announcing our Easter concert on Sunday 14 April 2019 in the Saint Nicolas church of La Roche-en-Ardenne.
We’d like to thank those of you who gave us warm reactions after having listened and looked at the clip and more specifically we’d like to thank Ineke Huijbens for sharing these on Facebook. Thank you sooooo much!

During this concert we will perform the entire SALVE REGINA by Pergolesi. As I promised you last week, today we’ll present you the text and its translation.

Salve Regina, mater misericordiae. Vita, dulcedo et spes nostra, salve! Ad te clamamus, exsules, filii Evae. Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes, in hac lacrimum valle.

Queen, mother of mercy. Our life, sweetness, and hope, hail!
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.
To you we sigh, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.

Eia ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte.

Turn then, our advocate, those merciful eyes toward us.

Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis post hoc exilium ostende.

And Jesus, the blessed fruit of thy womb, after our exile, show us.

O clemens, o pia, o dulcis virgo Maria.

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Enjoy a beautiful musical week!
Marijke Persijn

– Salve Regina in C minor by Pergolesi

Cover of the CD with Salve Reginas

Once upon a time …. I bought a CD with music composed by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736) and Leonardo Leo (1694-1744) for just over 25 guilders, so really long ago! Barbara Schlick is the soprano, Fabio Biondi is the conductor of Europa Galante, an Italian period instrument Baroque orchestra

Duration of the separate parts

It has been my long time wish to one day sing the Salve Regina in C minor myself. Only now, here in the Ardennes, this is going to happen during the MaGMa Trio Easter concert in La Roche-en-Ardenne. At a certain moment Gérard proposed to arrange this magnificent work for our Trio. During our Christmas concerts in the churches of Rendeux-Bas and Ortho, we already performed the first part. Eric used a registration of a rehearsal for the announcement video. All three of us are so enthusiastic about this cycle! It is great to study the five separate parts together so we can bring them in April 2019 in the wonderful Saint Nicolas church!

Ank Reinders, classical singer, wrote in Dutch “CANTICA LATINA Latijnse teksten in de klassieke vocale muziek” – “Latin texts in classical vocal music”. About the Salve Regina she stated (translated by Eric):
“As part of the rich Mary traditions of the Roman Catholic church – her virginity, holiness, immaculate conception and ascension remaining points of dispute between catholic and protestant churches – the “Salve Regina”is one of the well-known antiphons from the eleventh century. It was and still is sung during the Mary processions. As in many other hymns and antiphons, the polyphonic toning originated from the Gregorian melodies. Since the Renaissance period (2nd half 15th and 1st half 16th century), composers in Italy, the Netherlands and Spain have written many polyphonic Salve Reginas: Josquin des Prez, Jacob Obrecht and Johannes Ockeghem each composed at least two. But also representatives of the Romantic era got inspired by the expressive text; we find for example a choir setting written by Mascagni and a version for soprano and strings by Mendelssohn.
The content of this work is a supplication to the Mother of God.

Next time I’ll present to you the text and the translation of the entire work.

Enjoy the week, may it be filled with wonderful music!

Marijke Persijn

– Singer Cobi de Bruijn and organist Edwin Hinfelaar

Cobi de Bruijn / Edwin Hinfelaar

A very big “merci” / thank you to Sister Simone and Gérard Lambert! They made it possible for Cobi de Bruijn (soprano), Edwin Hinfelaar (organist) and myself (Marijke Persijn, mezzosoprano) to make music together in the Saint Nicolas Church in La Roche-en-Ardenne on Saturday 5 January 2019. The nativity scene and the christmas tree were still present, thus contributing to the festive atmosphere. The visitors who entered the church to light a candle were lucky and many remained sitting and listening for a while.

Gérard Lambert / Edwin Hinfelaar

We had assembled a beautiful programme in preparation of this occasion: Vivaldi/ Laudamus te; Purcell/ My dearest, my fairest; Schütz/ Ihr Heiligen, lobsinget dem Herren; Mozart/ Briefduet; Mendelssohn/ Ich wollt, meine Lieb ergösse sich; and a duet by Mendelssohn from “Lobgesang”, which was completely new for me. “Ich harrete des Herrn” gave me goose bumps. At the end Cobi, accompanied by Edwin, sang their favourite “La Procession” by C. Franck

How I would love to give a concert together, combining the qualities of our MaGMa Trio and theirs! This would absolutely be worth while and not to be missed! Also in combination with a choir, it undoutebly would result in an extraordinary experience for audience as well as musicians.

Cobi and I have known eachother now for about twenty years. During her final exams at the Tilburg Conservatory, I sang duets with her. And we performed in those days our favourite “Flower Duet” from the opera Lakmé by Delibes at the opening of an exhibition of artist and friend Jacomijn van Duin. We repeated this at the 25th wedding anniversary of Eric and myself. We lost track of eachother, but Facebook kept some strings alive. When our friend Jackie (Jacomijn) died last October 7th, we renewed our friendship.

After the rehearsal, the three of us lit some candles for Jackie, our children and grandcildren and for The Music.

Cobi and Edwin are young, passionate and talented musicians, who regrettably live too far away to have regular musical encounters: north of Amsterdam is a bit far. Our enormous love for music and our great friendship nevertheless will guarantee that we will make our concert dreams come true, I’m convinced of that!

Have a lovely week
fille with music!

Marijke Persijn

– The year 2018 for the MaGMa Trio

Spring concert


Summer concert


Jenneret castle

for Daisy Hoste, painter

Rehearsing is fun!

Blessing of the painting after restauration

Dochamps, with Christine and Peter Visser

Autumn concert


Not as the MaGMa Trio, but definitely very important: on Christmas Eve in the Home for the Elderly in La Roche-en-Ardenne performing Christmas songs by Gérard Lambert (keyboard), Patrick Valentin (saxophone) and myself (vocals).

Marijke Persijn

– MaGMa Trio and Cantilena pro Adventu by Haydn

In 2014, 2015 and 2016 Marijke Verbeeck on flute, Gérard Lambert, organ and myself (Marijke Persijn, mezzosoprano) performed the magnificent work by Joseph Haydn, “Cantilena pro Adventu” during our Christmas concerts in Chéoux, Rendeux-Bas and La Roche. This year, for the first time, we will not give a Christmas concert, but, to bring you some Chritmas atmosphere anyhow, we offer you this video, of which Eric made the sound recordings in La Roche in 2016. Actually it is a composition for this Advent period and today it is the fourth Advent, so it suits nicely.

I also like to offer you the text, which is not sung in Latin, but in German. It contains a lot of repeat, but if you skip that, the following remains:

Ein’ Magd, ein’ Dienerin, Maria sich bekennet,
Gott sie ein’ Mutter nennet, und eine Herrscherin.
Die Armut hat’s gemacht, dass sie so hoch geacht
durch die hat sie vom Himmel Gott auf die Erd’ gebracht.
Von dir, o Jungfrau rein, wollt’ Gott das höchste Wesen,
denn Du bist auserlesen, als Mensch geboren sein.

Marijke Persijn

– Mary and Sakura in folk music

MaGMa Trio

The reason why I am writing about Mary and the Japanese Sakura in the same blog? I’ll explain.

This week I read on Facebook the legend of Sakura. It was an article in the digital magazine “Exploring your mind” and I encourage you to read it by following this link. This is a short version of it:

In the forest there was a tree that never blossomed, its branches never had any flowers at all. It looked lanky and dry, as if it were dead. It wasn’t, though. It just seemed like it wasn’t destined to blossom. A fairy appeared  and, with kind words, let it know she wanted to see it look beautiful and radiant. She used her powers to cast a spell that would last 20 years. During that time, the tree would be able to feel what human hearts feel. Thanks to the spell, it could turn into both a plant and a human being whenever it wanted. However, if it wasn’t able to recover its vitality and brightness after those 20 years, it would die immediately.

The tree turned into a human and tried staying as a human being for a long time to see if human emotions helped it blossom.  It was totally disappointed at first. As much as it looked around, all it saw was war and hatred and it went back to being a plant.

A lot of years passed and nothing changed until one afternoon it decided to become human. It walked to a crystal clear stream where it saw a beautiful young lady. Her name was Sakura (Cherry Tree Blossom). They had a lively conversation where they spoke with sadness about the wars that were going on in Japan and the many dreams they had. They became very close friends. They’d meet to talk, sing, and read poems and amazing stories on a regular basis. The more the tree, named Yohiro, got to know Sakura, the more it wanted to be by her side. At a certain moment, it couldn’t bear it anymore and decided to confess its love to Sakura. In addition, it told her what it really was: a tormented tree that was soon going to die because it couldn’t blossom.

At the moment that the 20 years were about to be up, the fairy appeared and asked Sakura if she wanted Yohiro to remain human or if she wanted to merge with Yohiro in tree form. Sakura chose to merge with Yohiro. And the miracle was done. The two became one and the tree finally blossomed, perfuming Japanese fields ever since.

Inspired by this legend I simply had to find back the CD “Sakura” that pianist Hugo van Neck had once offered me.

I thought back of my memories of and the love I feel for the pink blossoms of the Cherry Tree. As a child I adored the cherry tree in the garden of a friend in Vlaardingen. In Watermael-Boisfort, in Brussels, these trees grew in our street and even right in front of our house. I made pictures of them, wrote a poem to it and made an art object of this all, which I could show at an exhibition at the Cultural Centre where I gave sports lessons and concerts. Also in Krimpenaan de Lek, where we lived for years and years, we had these trees in our garden! Such a delight for some weeks every year.

And then, all of a sudden, I remembered the folk song “The Cherry Tree Carol” that I know from an album by Joan Baez. Some of its sentences: “Joseph and Mary walked through an orchard green, there were berries and cherries as thick as might be seen”.“And Mary spoke to Joseph, so meek and so mild, Joseph gather me some cherries, for I am with child.” Our MaGMa Trio performed this song during our very firstconcert, at Christmas 2014 in Rendeux.

Regrettably we don’t have a good quality recording and that is why we like to offer you a different folk song which I also know from Joan Baez: “Virgin Mary had one son”. This one we performed during the Christmas concerts in 2017.

Enjoy this period of Advent,

Marijke Persijn