Maxim Shalygin

composer | conductor | filmmaker

Title: Severade
Instrumentation: 9 cello players 
First performer: Maya Fridman & Cello Octet Amsterdam 
Premiere: 16th April 2021, Hertz, TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht, NL


"Severade" reveals a west-east synthesis, referring to different genres: singing, concert, romanticism, oratorio, all in one bottle. It brings different worlds together through the simplest and most difficult - love and the inner world of man.

Severade is a third chapter in Shalygin's macro-cycle for a lifetime 'S I M I L A R'.
The number 9 is an important source of inspiration for Shalygin, both for the musical structure and in a spiritual sense. Of all the figures, nine is the most mysterious in music history; the "ninth symphony" became a fateful landmark for many composers. On the one hand, the number 9 stands for creation and birth and symbolises a life full of development and rhythm. On the other hand, 9 is fate or judgment on one's life and works. Shalygin now stands for a pivotal moment in his life and work, a crossroads of different periods that form the starting point for a new development. This gives Severade extra meaning and coherence with the number 9. In this way, Severade is also a thread, many threads, symbolising the connection between past, present and future.
The combination of the newly designed instrument with acoustic and electric cellos allows creation of the complex sound textures. The electric cello enriches the sound spectrum and can balance with the maximum volume of the other instruments.
The potentially infinite sound of the bourdon strings can slow down time, leaving the listener surrounded by a sense of timelessness. Different musical material can sound in different time dimensions at the same time; slow chorales against more virtuosic layers. In addition, the combination of cellos with the mechanical switching on and off of the new instruments offers the possibility of virtuoso hoketus textures with many layers.
Severade is a combination of the words Sever (Russian for 'north') and Serenade. Shalygin composes a cycle of love songs with a northern touch. A cycle in which the composer combines two different musical worlds: the East with emotional folklore and a rational Western tradition. These totally different worlds have become an integrated whole within the musical language and creative expression of the composer.




The QEM Foundation - Rob van den Broek, visual artist, instrument builder.
Inspired by composer and instrument builder Harry Partch, Rob already built instruments for Oene van Geel, Ragazze Quartet/Anne-Maartje Lemereis and for Remy Alexander. Ten of his instruments are included in the collection of the Music Instruments Museum in Brussels.

If you would like to know more about construction of the new instruments for this project, please subscribe to YouTube channel and be ready for behind the scene videos.