– Three composers: Lambert, Kalkman and Visser

Marco Kalkman

Every once in a while my phone rings and the question pops up “Are you at home?”. It’s Marco Kalkman, composer, conductor, singer, violonist, harpsicord player and organiser and creator of all sorts of inspiring projects combining music and theatre. I met Marco years ago, when I played and sung in his cildrens opera “The Happy Family”.

With the Dutch composer Peter Visser and his wife Christine, we were Trio Picantolino: voice, violin and piano. Peter and Christine are also friends who visit us on a regular basis.

Jacques Perk (1859-1881)

Last time they were here, Marijke Verbeeck and I rehearsed with Peter four songs he has composed for our MaGMa Trio. Four poems of a 19th century Dutch poet were put to music by Peter. The young Dutch romantic Jacques Perk was a frequent visitor of La Roche, like his father, and here he met Mathilde Thomas, who became his source of inspiration, his “raison d’être”, his Muse as it were. For her he wrote one hundred sonnets and out of these Peter Visser selected four:  “Dorpsvesper” – “Village vesper”, “De Forel”- “The trout”, “De Burcht in Puin”-“Castle in ruins” en “Dorpsdans”-“Village dance”.

Composers meet

After discussions with our Trio and Marco Kalkman where Gérard Lambert met his colleague composer and harpsicord player, we now intend to organise a special concert, featuring these four songs, which should take place here in La Roche, where Jacques met Mathilde.

With painter Daisy Hoste we are exploring her contribution to this event with paintings that match well with the musical atmosphere.

Painting by Daisy Hoste

We will definitely be back to you when more becomes clear!

Enjoy the week,

Marijke Persijn

– Eternal Source of Light Divine by Händel

G.F. Händel

During our Easter concert on Sunday 14 April in the Saint Nicolas church in La Roche-en-Ardenne, we will start with the aria “Eternal Source of Light Divine” from the “Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne” (HWV 74) by Georg Friedrich Händel.

I listened to a number of performances of this aria and I really love this beautiful, almost soothing piece. For me it evokes peaceful feelings, which I do not necessarily link to a souvereign on a throne.

When Googling, I find nevertheless the following:

Queen Anne,
probably around the time of her birthday in 1713

It is not by coincidence that the first part of this ode refers to both the souvereign as to the eternal source of light, shining peacefully on the Kingdom.

The cantata celebrates Queen Anne’s birthday, as well as the accomplishment of the Treaty of Utrecht (negotiated by the Tory ministry of Anne in 1712) to end the War of the Spanish Succession. I think it is a great achievement of Händel to appeal to these feelings of peace in this work. He composed this aria in 1712, having just started to live and work at the British Court.

The libretto was written by Ambrose Philips and the first line, “Eternal source of light divine”, provides an alternative title for the work.
It is scored for 3 solo voices, choir and chamber orchestra. The text is to be sung by the soloists, while the refrain is sung by the four-part choir.

Each of the seven stanzas of the ode concludes with the following words sung by the chorus:

The day that gave great Anna birth,
Who fix’d a lasting peace on Earth.

Queen Anne Stuart (1665-1714)
Souvereign 1702-1714

You can hear our version for organ, voice and flute on 14 April 2019. The concert starts at 16.00 hrs. Just for you to know … Händel died on the 14th of April … in 1759 …

Enjoy the week!

Marijke Persijn

– 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