Review | Lavinia Meijer's harp asks existential questions

Concert Review by Joost Galema, NRC (Netherlands)


In her performance Untitled 2, harpist Lavinia Meijer poses questions to artists, writers, philosophers and scientists.

Photo credit: Made By Jane

How will people look back on our time a century from now? Which -isms do we get stuck on? In her performance Untitled 2, harpist Lavinia Meijer puts these questions to artists, writers, philosophers and scientists. She anticipates the future with texts, art, sound clips, videos and animations. And the music? It will become – as 'minimal' composer Max Richter once put it – “a place to think”. There's not much wrong with that either. Bach already did it in his passions: long arias with repetitions to give the faithful room to reflect on the story and process their emotions. Later on, classical music took on a more abstract and absolute existence, becoming a world in itself, with listening as the holy grail. Meijer is one of the musicians who want to liberate their art from its parallel universe and give it a role in social issues. Philosophical Undertones Whether music can help to gain more insight into reality remains an interesting discussion. In Untitled 2, the works of her new album Are You Still Somewhere? – partly written by Meijer herself – an atmosphere and foundation for the questions she raises in her performance. In particular, this comes as a hammer blow in a dialogue on the cutting edge between her harp playing and the muddled sound bites of an unlucky influencer. By accelerating and decelerating, the feeling of being on the road and suddenly standing still, she knows how to give the music an extra dimension. It is striking that a new generation of harpists – in addition to Meijer also Remy van Kesteren and musical journalist Andrea Voets, for example – enrich the character of the instrument with philosophical undertones. The harp nowadays also poses existential questions.


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Click here to watch "Are You Still Somewhere?" on YouTube