(Photo by Guilherme Pacheco) On April 21, Wim Mertens Music (WMM) and PIAS will release “Voice of the Living”, a new composition by Belgian composer Wim Mertens, commissioned as part of the centenary commemorations of the Great War (1914-1918). The premiere took place on October 28, 2014, at St. Martin’s Cathedral in Ypres, a city deeply affected by the conflict. Ypres is also the city where Side-Line’s office is now housed. At Mertens’ request, the performance was dedicated to Ypres’ residents.
In “Voice of the Living,” Mertens delves into the harrowing experiences of the ordinary soldier during the Great War. The work’s structure is influenced by the four traditional elements—earth, water, air, and fire—which represent various wartime situations. Mertens’ opus pays homage to the memories and experiences of all soldiers and victims of war. However, it is only in the musical performance that “Voice of the Living” becomes an ultimate tribute to all victims.
Ypres was the centre of intense fighting throughout the war and has since become a symbol of the devastation and loss caused by the conflict. By dedicating the performance to the residents of Ypres, Mertens acknowledges the city’s historical significance and honours the sacrifices made by its people.
The single “On the zephyrous peak” is available now.
About Wim Mertens
Wim Mertens is a Flemish Belgian composer, countertenor vocalist, pianist, guitarist, and musicologist.
In 1978, the composer began working as a producer at a major Belgian broadcasting corporation, now known as Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroep. During this time, he produced concerts featuring renowned composers and musicians and hosted a radio program. He also collaborated with Gust De Meyer on the experimental album ” For Amusement Only”.
By the early 1980s, the composer became widely recognized, particularly for his pieces “Struggle for Pleasure” and “Maximizing the Audience”. The latter composition was created for a play that premiered in 1984 in Venice, Italy.
To date, the composer has released over 60 albums, primarily through Les Disques du Crépuscule from 1980 until 2004. In addition to his own work, he produced and consulted for the label on various releases, including those by contemporary composers such as Michael Nyman, Gavin Bryars, and Glenn Branca. He also curated a series of releases for a Crépuscule imprint that featured classical and contemporary jazz works.
In August 2007, the composer signed a contract with a major record label, which subsequently re-released his entire catalog starting in January 2008. The label also released his new works, including a 9-track album in September 2007 that featured an all-female orchestra consisting of 17 musicians. This was not the first collaboration between the composer and the label, as they had previously released the soundtrack to the film “Molokai: The Story of Father Damien” in 1999.
In addition to his extensive work in music, the composer is the author of a book examining the American school of repetitive music and the work of LaMonte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass.
Wim Mertens on Tour
- 22.05.23Zaragoza, Teatro Principal (SP)
- 23.05.23Madrid, Teatro La Latina(SP)
- 24.01.24 Stadsschouwburg, Brugge (BE)
- 24.02.24 CCha, Hasselt (BE)
- 25.02.24 Don Bosco kerk, Torhout (BE)
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