Nocturne No.14 (Verheul, Maurice)


Sheet Music


PDF typeset by composer
Somextro (2016/11/11)

Publisher. Info. Maurice Verheul
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General Information

Work Title Nocturne No.14
Alternative. Title Nocturne symphonique
Composer Verheul, Maurice
Opus/Catalogue NumberOp./Cat. No. MVWV 735
Year/Date of CompositionY/D of Comp. 2013
First Publication. 2013
Dedication Michael Habermann and Geoffrey Douglas Madge
Average DurationAvg. Duration 90 minutes
Composer Time PeriodComp. Period Modern
Piece Style Modern
Instrumentation piano

Misc. Comments

Mails From Michael (with permission of Mr. Habermann)

This is the correspondence about the Noc.14 and other Noctunres and works from the day that I gave Noc.14 to Michael in 2013 till now 2016.

2012-02-13 And my opinion is that your works are fantastic.Very difficult to play. Individual. Beautiful.

2012-04-21 The works are original, fascinating!

2013-07-07 WOW. That Sonata, Nocturne! It will take me weeks! Thank you.

2013-07-10 The work is incredible - I feel I am looking at the whole universe. This will take a lifetime to absorb. It seems it has come from another dimension, another mode of existence.. Love it.

2013-10-10 They all have a haunting cosmic dimension. They also made me recall feelings I had in my childhood years in Canada but forgotten since. I would like to have the scores to all of them. Back to your music: It has a depth that is haunting.

2013-10-13 To one of my close friends Composer Maurice Verheul recently sent me a large number of his piano scores. His music has newly captured my focus. You glanced at some pages on the tiny screen of my phone after lunch at the restaurant near your house, about a year or so ago. With score onscreen, I listened to the computer-realized audio renditions of the (6) "antimetrical pieces for advanced students". The eerie pandiatonic music seems well-organized, controlled, even restrained. Thanks to moderate length and clarity in texture, phrasing, rhythm and tonality one sees and hears patterns. But the mind-boggling rhythmic complexity turns these short pieces into close-to-unplayable if not flat-out unplayable works! Immensely elaborate, but not related to the visual and aural chaos of Brian Ferneyhough, Michael Finnissy and others of the "New Complexity" school. The hardest two-part piece I ever played was the Prelude from Sorabji's Prelude, Interlude and Fugue (both hands running at breakneck speed, completely independent, atonal, and grouped throughout in four 16ths to the beat). Similarly, in the Verheul pieces, at times, only two voices are active... but who would of thought that anything new could be done with two-part textures? Verheul's music in this vein is certainly more interesting than Sorabji's. Groupings are varied; there is an ebb and flow in the design and a sense of musical coherence. Emotionally and intellectually, the music seems to emanate from a different universe. In my opinion, he has created a unique style. However willing, I doubt I could play even the simplest of these works.

2013-11-30 This is a mammoth work - I have so much to experience.

2013-12-10 Thank you indeed! I will be spending much time with your music.

2013-12-21 (upon receiving eight works) A treasure trove - thank you. Performing your music is a daunting task!

2014-03-30 (upon receiving nine more works) Thank you. A burst of inspiration!

2014-06-23 (regarding Nocturne 17) That entrancing other-world quality is present in this work also.

2015-01-07 (upon receiving 18 works) Thank you for the treasure trove! I will be digging in.

2016-02-26 Nocturne 6, the first one I picked, is so interesting and passionate...

2016-03-05 To one of my close friends I just listened [computer-realized rendition] to Maurice Verheul's Nocturne No. 14, dedicated to both Geoffrey Madge (for the architecture) and me (the cosmic idea). The work is an hour and a half long and makes Sorabji's music seem easy to play. His music looks and sounds like a view of the entire universe - a complete world apart. I've never heard or seen any piano music as visionary as this. Completely impossible to play, yet almost always pandiatonic! Unique.

2016-03-04 I am listening to Nocturne 14! Amazing - a complete separate universe.

2016-03-05 Nocturne 14 is truly cosmic! At the end, the Dies Irae is presented as I have never heard! There are surges of gravitational dances of immense force. It's all so fascinating. And then the unique refracted cloud chords, if you will, that vibrate and appear as a darkened glitter. Those glissandi are terrifying, and they reappear... I could never do justice to describing even one page, probably not even one system! It would be like trying to describe a million distinct forces, masses, movements in a few words, a few paragraphs, chapters, even entire books - impossible. Yes, and there is always beauty and inner passion.

2016-03-18 I listened to Nocturne 26. It's a very serious piece, and quite different from the other one that I have heard (so far only two - I have much learning to go). I must listen again. This is a work that is very deep. In fact, I was thinking that your work goes beyond Sorabji's in variety, but more importantly in thought and deep feelings. Now, back to your two nocturnes. Here we have a genre, a type, but already, in two distinct incarnations: different. And that's because you feel, but you also think. I don't think it's automatic writing. That's why, even though I must survey all of your music, I have reached this conclusion already. These are long works and they evolve in different ways. The passage you point to (m.528-) I must listen to again, but I do recall incredible powerfully passionate eruptions. First, "those lonely little notes". You have succeeded in communicating through your music! This is exactly the feeling I had when I heard them. Yes, the vast space and a vision of the infinitie contrasted with the vulnerability. And then there are those huge cosmic events in the music. It's all awe-inspiring, really.

2016-03-21 ...your music reveals territories never explored before. And there is beauty. It is a music which awaits discovery.

2016-04-05 have been able to translate your internal perceptions and experience into an external mirror of them. That is amazing and also why your music is of the greatest value.

2016-06-26 Fascinating. Has a ring of eternity about it.

2016-07-30 I practiced Sourire some more and now I can play it from beginning to end, and I am fascinated by the 5/4 time and the subtle changes of feeling even in a measure - when I get to the last section it is always magic. Actually, each new section - it's so genially sequenced! This is such a great experience that I want more!

2016-07-12 I am really moved by its absolute beauty. And without a moment of hesitation I add that it is full of ideas;

2016-07-14 I already love what I have heard and am amazed by your creativity.

2016-07-16 Your music is stirring.

2016-08-17 Played Sourire today. Wonderful piece. The ending strikes me as an incantation - deeply religious. Each section is very clearly defined, emotionally.

2016-08-18 Every piece you compose is different but has the stamp, "Verheul" audible in every phrase, harmony, melody and shape.

2016-08-26 You ask about Sourire. I love playing it and it is a terrific work.

2016-08-30 I just memorized the first line of the Simple Piece 9.1. The expression is so passionate!

2016-09-04 Working on one at a time. The current piece is fascinating.

2016-09-05 You have tapped into a source of power and mystery that is inspiring. Your music is a vision.

2016-09-13 As to Sourire, especially coming back to it after Daycare Mom, it has even more depth and beauty than ever before, as if there are layers being revealed. And then I play a little of the Simple Piece and again, it is freshness all over again.

2016-09-15 To a close friend. This is truly a fascinating work, and I think that Verheul is a powerful composer.

2016-09-15 Am listening to the Duo again. It is bright, alive, splendid.

2016-09-20 Measure 21 of Daycare Mom is an expression of absolute hilarity. Wow! It's really something. I just wrote to a friend about the perfectly placed passage with the descending fourths just before the mini-recap. It's a beautifully structured work.

2016-09-23 Thank you for the latest work. Again, this is quite different from your other works, but still bears your signature style!

2016-10-02 ...those of Verheul are actually a real contribution to the world of music. Much of the stuff being composed today is pretty bad. Verheul has an identity and says something.

2016-10-05 1:04 a.m. and I just finished practicing for an hour. And not thinking about anything but the music. See, you exert an influence that is extremely positive.

2016-10-07 …I have been feeling the pressure of time. There are several albums I want to record. Including one devoted to your works. And yet I have impulses to bring other tasks to completion. I hope both can be fulfilled. In my mind I go through the two pieces of yours that I play and perceive how rightly they are structured.

2016-10-11 …listened to Nocturne 14 again. Enormous work with so many touching passages. Meantime, I just finished practicing Daycare again. I really love this piece.

2016-10-12 At one point I describe the work as unplayable (2016-03-05); now I think I probably could play it, having had the experience of successfully memorizing several pieces of yours. Of course, your opinion of my accomplishment may not be as glowing.

There is no doubt I love your music: this historical survey shows my feelings repeatedly.

The Composer; A lot of my nocturne’s are based on poems and telling’s. To my nocturne’s are story’s and for this concept of “night music” I choose to tell the things that must get of my chest. The thirst this that comes in mind is , Yes, a diary. It is indeed a diary. All my nocturne’s are based on my life and the poems that I choose are those which can identify myself with. Nocturne No.14 is one piece that comes the closest to my one live. It tells the story of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little matchstick Girl. You can understand that I am feeling most related to this girl staring trough windows and see the in, some cases the luxury of life and in other cases the happiness of family’s. The same goes for me to I as a musician stare also through this same window to see but with a difference; I don’t see luxury and happiness I see poverty and struggle, disharmony and envy and these are not family’s I am looking at these are musicians I am looking at in there environment. Their struggle to exist, to be heard, to get around. You can almost ask yourself this question on which site of the glass is the Little matchstick girl: Is it me or them. I think it’s a bit of both because I am ogling through that window to let me in but they don’t see me I only see them because it’s my vision. At the end the little maiden dies as visions die; nothing is to last forever you think…the strangest thing is that ignorance and stupidity, neglect and negligence, mediocrity and ignore are the big survivors, they are like weeds that you can’t wipe out. This is why Nocturne 14 is the hardest nocturne to concur, this piece embodies everything in live we encounter day in day out; ignorance, stupidity, neglect,negligence, mediocrity, ignore and everything that comes out of these at the end.. hating each other but the one thing you really hate is yourself and the faults and mistakes you represent projected on others. If Man only could see! Maybe it’s not a physically but spiritually border we must cross to play this piece, this piece is meant to be a mirror.

The structure of this work is actually very easy. I use themes, groups, motifs, leitmotif, leitgruppen Anschluss motif, Ansluss gruppe , juxtapositions all the counterpoint techniques. It has 1497 measures, 71 pages and a totall time of 1 hour, 28 minutes and 56 seconds. Measures 1: If you look closely at the score you see that I have titled the Leitgruppen: In the 1st mesasure you see the “Girls theme” this is Leitgruppe 1. In this group I choose for quarter chords in the right hand in the Soprano. For me a quarter or a quint chord represents openness; They are breathable chords. The “standard” chords are more dense and for what I want to achieve, to say, here. This girl has an open mind towards life. The chords are melodically placed in a sort of sinusoid form; It has ups and downs; just like life. In the Alto, the right hand you see through the quartet chord a melody. This melody represents here lightness, here girlish charm. The 125th notes at the end of measure 1 are the representatives of how “bouncy” little children can be* . The Bass, the left hand has the normal dense chords that go downwards, within this concept, I think every one can fill in that is a bad omen, these chords represent the misfortunes in live. The Ténor, in the upper left-hand part, we see an open note followed with 8th notes with later on in measures 1 combined upward going chords who lead us to the 125th notes in the Alto voice in the right hand. This is to show that even life can be bad, in here case, there is always room for “fun”. Every time we see, read or hear this girl we hear this theme but never exactly the same, just like life; Never is something the same; There are always slight differences.

  • If we look at measure 289 (or 15), 279 and 282. We see in 279 and 282 the melodic material of the Girls theme; the 125th notes, the little motif used at the end of measure 1 in the right hand, Alto. I use these measures to announce what is coming, namely measure 289; the Girls theme but in another position than in measure 1.

Measures 2 and 3 and .. This is an example of an Ansluss gruppe. This group consists of 2 measures and leads us to the second Leitgruppe; the Hunger theme in measure 4. This Ansluss gruppe belongs to Leitgruppe 1; the Girls theme. I choose to use the text within my music, this is to set the mood for the performer. To use the opening text “It was terribly cold and nearly dark…a poor little girl….” this must give the performer a feeling of “unheimlichkeit” so he plays with this feeling. ( and if you look closely I use dense chords) In the follow up measures 8 and 9 I use a lot of 125th notes, this is, and you understand it, the bounciness of children and direct reference to measure one the gril theme (also with dense chords) but now represented in the 3th Leitgruppe: Cold and snow. Measures 10 to 14; Here I use the thematic material of measure 2 and 3 the Ansluss gruppe and you see in measure 15 the Girls theme but in different shape and order. This an little explanation of how this Nocturne 15 is build up. These first 15 measures are a blueprint for the rest of the piece….