de stem


Esquire Saxophone Quartet; revised version de stem (.mp3, 7’18, 10Mb)

18/7/04 for four saxophones

Composer’s note

Mijn stem doet er niet toe – ‘My voice doesn’t count’ or ‘My voice makes no difference’ or perhaps, as the old anarchist catchphrase would have it ‘whoever you vote for, the government always wins’. One recognises the sentiment; the feeling that it’s a waste of time to bother about politics, that the whole show will carry on in much the same way no matter how you vote, and you only do that every couple of years anyway…

But need that necessarily be the case? The cure for apathy is simple; get involved! One of the most prized aspect of the democratic system is our right not merely to vote, but to make our voice heard in many other ways as well.

In ‘de stem’, we see the Citizen; initially a mere spectator in the political arena, not even hearing the actual debate but passively consuming soundbites and photo-opportunities. Occasionally something engages her attention, she would like her voice to be heard, but the machine seems oblivious to her voice. Eventually however, she finds the strength to break through; to snap out of her passive role and play her part in the debate. And how strong her voice turns out to be…


‘de stem’ was composed for Just Act, an initiative by the Esquire Saxophone Quartet, and given its first performance by them at the SJU huis, Utrecht, on 27 Feb 2005;

  • Ivo Ronkes Soprano
  • Floor Wittink Alto
  • Nina van Helvert Tenor
  • Twan Stekelenburg Baritone

The first UK performance took place on 27 June at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, by Sax-Écosse.

Duration ~9′