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