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Testimonies of the Unseen

scored for cello and piano

duration 17 minutes 

I. De Dijk, Lichtreflecties (1908) 
II. La Bataille de l’Argonne (1964) 
III. De Intrige (1890) 

I have always been attracted to the inexplicable. Perhaps the unspeakable is an inner reality, a phantom of the brain, a spiritual deception. But what if it concerns an undercurrent that we are all part of and that we can only experience in its effect? Perhaps there is a phenomenon that, just as light makes reality tangible, can demonstrate a deeper reality? 
That is the mystery of the symbolist work of Leon Spilliaert. The beauty and technical mastery of Sea Wall, Light Reflections take on a sense of loss, of melancholy, of isolation. I tried to express that paradoxical atmosphere of fulfillment and existential emptiness, of repressed serenity, in music.
In René Magritte's Battle of the Argonne we see a huge boulder hanging in the air opposite a fluffy cloud. Magritte's surrealism combines recognizable elements in a strange way: what is the deeper meaning? Perhaps the carelessness of the ever-changing cloud symbolizes the imagination, while the rock represents the unyielding un-breakability of our existence, the struggle of our imagination with daily obligations?
For the last part I was inspired by the ambiguous work of the magical realist James Ensor. In his work, The Intrigue, the sinister protagonists wear masks, and through their colorful disguise we get to know their true nature. What does all this exuberant celebration mean in the appearance of impending death? The contradiction of fear and pleasure is the basis for the last part.


'Testimonies of the Unseen' was commissioned by Arte Amanti Festival and was created on May 14, 2023 by Barbara Baltussen and David Poskin. 

In December 2022 the beloved composer Wim Henderickx suddenly died. The piece is dedicated to him. 

A Perusal Score can be downloaded here: 








Listen here to De Dijk, Lichtreflecties (1908): 

De Dijk, Lichtreflecties (1908)Mathias Coppens
00:00 / 05:52
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