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  • Writer's pictureMurat Ali Cengiz

Building Experiments #3 Post Rotterdam (Johannes Fend)

Updated: Jul 31, 2019

This month's experiment was at the old post office in Rotterdam as a part of the Rotterdam Architecture Month #19.

As you may not know, this building has been empty for a while and is going to be transformed into a high rise hotel building. After studying on the space and the history of its origins, I decided to write a solo piece for the double bass and called contrabassist Johannes Fend.

Together with our director/photographer Adem Gümrükcüler, we had 3 days to work in the space. 2 of these days would be during the construction works of the Rotterdam Architecture Month (which you can see in the videos below) and the last would be one day before the performance.

When we arrived at the Post Office, the most dominant feeling was the cathedral-like reverb quality of the main hall. This was also the main reason I wanted to write a solo piece for a cello or double bass here. The next thing that took my eye was the mosaics on the ground (below).

The most interesting thing about these mosaics is that the mason genuinely built them piece by piece, even though they repeat at some level, they are all different in color, size and shape.

A general view of the mosaics

Some details

Especially when observed closely, you'll notice that these mosaics are not symmetrical at all (even though that's the first impression). They all have tweaks and changes here and there that make them organic. I wish I had enough time to work more there and transcribe all the mosaics and just use them, as they are, as a musicographic.

This quality of organic structures of the mosaics was my main inspiration for the musicographic of the composition (below). I divided the composition into two parts using the history of the building as a source. We begin with the post office (telephone effect) then the war comes, then you have this empty forgotten space and finally it ends with the future hotel project (reception bell).

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