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«Squaring the Circle»
el NEGOCITO, eNR 110

Squaring the Circle is the composition of Belgian pianist-composer Heleen Van Haegenborgh for herself on electronics and the four percussionists ensemble GAME. This composition was inspired and is a musi­cal answer to Pi, a key work of large-form drawing by fellow Belgian artist Johan de Wilde and part of the collection of S.M.A.K., Ghent’s Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art. De Wilde’s meticulous, labor-intensive style is the antithesis of the fast pace of life and the transience of our overly saturated digital visual culture. De Wilde’s drawings are built up like paintings: layer upon layer. They consist of horizontal and vertical lines between which the suggestion of shapes or numbers is interwoven.

Van Haegenborgh manipulated the mathematical concept of Pi – π – the infinite number used to calculate the area and the circumference of a circle, by using the sequence of num­bers to cre­ate chaos and unpre­dictabil­i­ty, and encourage freedom. Her complex, cerebral seven-part suite corresponds with the ver­ti­cal, multicolored aspects of De Wilde’s work by allocating a set of tubu­lar bells per percussion play­er. This suite also stresses its title through the large num­ber of round instru­ments on stage such as tim­pani, bass drums, gongs and cym­bals.

Van Haegenborgh’s compositions often struggle with concepts of free­dom, nat­u­ral­ness and direct­ness. Squaring the Circle suggests a strange and enigmatic but organic flow of subtle and restrained, atmospheric and peaceful rhythmic patterns. Any attempt of squaring the circle, especially an innovative sonic one, is bound to lead to an unpredictable and surprising outcome. And Squaring the Circle offers surprisingly intimate, quite tangible, harmonic qualities, and like Pi, its rhythmic patterns can continue indefinitely.

Eyal Hareuveni

Heleen Van Haegenborgh (elec), Aya Suzuki (perc), Anita Cappuccinelli (perc), Lucas Messler (perc), Diego Sáenz Mateo (perc)


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