Mis voor ongelovigen

Op 17 en 18 september werd in Brouwerij De Ridder in Maastricht, als onderdeel van het Musica Sacra Festival, een bijzondere en muzikale tocht georganiseerd onder de suggestieve en veelzeggende titel Mis voor ongelovigen. Muziek van Jeroen D’hoe, muziekregie van Jean-Pierre van Hees, theaterregie van Lieke Benders, en met een reeks zangers en muzikanten, op tekst van Jibbe Willems, en naar een idee van Bart van Dongen. Vanuit een oude verlaten fabriekshal werd het publiek meegenomen door verschillende ruimtes en verschillende muzikale stemmingen – een theatrale en muzikale verbeelding van collectiviteit in eenzaamheid, over de door God verlaten mens en over de mens die God heeft verlaten. Hieronder een bespreking door Linnea Semmerling.

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‘MIS VOOR ONGELOVIGEN- A cheerful and musical journey on a special location’

The religious mass is an old and very strict liturgical undertaking. At some point musicians started to compose art music masses in order to give expression to their religious feelings and beliefs. Now Maastricht-based Intro- in situ has come up with an unusual form: ‘The Mass for Unbelievers’. Despite its title, the work has been performed in the series of Musica Sacra Maastricht in September 2011. Other than usual masses, this one is staged scenically (by Lieke Benders) and has been performed in the former brewery building ‘De Ridder’ by six musicians and one actor.

What can we expect from a religiously inspired piece aimed for an unreligious public? The creators describe their work to tackle the question of how modern man should relate to religion. Accordingly, this mass is about the critical enlightened mind, which cannot help but doubt God’s existence, question the dogmas and lead a life independent from service. However, an ominous God is still at the centre of this piece for we cannot stop relating ourselves to him. So far, God could not be proven dead as Nietzsche had proclaimed him to be. His corpse has never been found. This mass thus describes an intense and intrinsically human search, but it does not surpass the level of vague questions and beautiful statements, like ‘zo feilbaar als ik ben, als mens, faal ik ook in mijn geloven’. It appears like Jibbe Willems’ texts are thus really agnostic reiterations of the ornate formal language of the Catholic Church.

The Belgian Jeroen D’hoe has composed the music for this church service in a brewery, which is set for small ensemble with a soprano and bass soloist and presents itself as a curious mixture of art and folk music. Through skilful stylistic references and the characteristic use of violin, accordion and bagpipe, the boundaries between folklore and church music blur. When the bells start to ring during the piece, we do not know anymore whether we are witnessing a Sunday morning village ritual or a holy service, which allows us to enter a truly spirited sphere. Thereby D’hoe’s music remains very accessible throughout the entire piece. However, it is never uninspired and hence adds up to this work’s powerful effect.

The meditative sounds of D’hoe’s Agnus Dei clearly mark the uplifting feel-good character of this entire mass. As any religious service, this unreligious one does not attempt to accomplish anything other than shaping a moment of inwardness. It invites us to fall silent in order to examine our personal beliefs and give ourselves away to all those questions that continue to haunt us, while opening up to the sounds of some truly affecting music. We can all appreciate a quiet hour to ourselves to ponder about our ideas about life and beyond- whether it be in a church or in a brewery. The end of the mass leads us back to where we came from: ‘Er is niets dat ik kan bieden | Niets dat tastbaar is, geen dingen | Om hoop of troost of steun te geven |Ik kan alleen mijn woorden zingen’.

Doedelzak en muziekregie: Jean-Pierre van Hees
Theaterregie: Lieke Benders
Compositie: Jeroen D’hoe
Viool: Aag Dereymaeker
Accordeon: Ludo Mariën

Gitaar: Jurgen De Bruyn
Sopraan: Annelies van Gramberen
Bas: Wout Oosterkamp
Tekst: Jibbe Willems
Spel: Dennis Vanderbroeck
Naar een idee van: Bart van Dongen

One Response to “Mis voor ongelovigen”

  1. Symo Last zegt:

    Het is leuk om te zien, lezen en horen waar onze klankschalen gebruikt worden door Wout Oosterkamp