Ex Tempore


Ex Tempore is an early music description for a score without barlines. The player was supposed to play the written notes in a very free manner. In my piece there are some barlines but very often they don’t correspond with the barlines in other (groups of) instruments. There are only some vague cues where the instruments come together. The reason for all this is that I wanted to work without a conductor. My experience as an improvising musician inspired me to compose a piece in which the musicians come together as in improvised music:  the main subject of composed music, playing perfectly together, is avoided. On the contrary, the musicians play very well when they don’t play together. The advantage of all this is that the score can generate complex music while looking quite simple. The piece consists of three parts, the first I would call a choral kind of Ballad, the second an untidy Habanera and the third chaotic Dixieland music. Ex Tempore is composed on request by the Canadian ensemble Continuum Contemporary Music and the Dutch Ives Ensemble with financial support from the Nederlands Fonds voor de Podiumkunsten NFPK+.

Guus Janssen NL

The music of Guus Janssen (b. 1951) is difficult to categorize. It can be a composed improvisation (Brake for solo piano) or an improvised composition (parts from his Violin Concerto or his opera Noach). Music is like life itself – sometimes it asks for fast decisions and sometimes it needs to be thought over a lot.As a pianist and harpsichordist Janssen performed in various groupings with musicians from John Zorn to Gidon Kremer; since the early 1980’s he has led his own ensembles, ranging from piano trios to an 11-piece band and opera orchestra. His compositions range from piano music and string quartet to symphonic work; they have been widely played by  prominent Dutch and international orchestras and ensembles. Two of his operas have been premiered by the Dutch Opera.

For more information about Guus Janssen, click here.

Guus Janssen