In 2005 the spectacle
Tijdvaarders took place in Den Bosch, St Truiden (BE), Middelburg and Heerlen. Libretto and direction were by Rinus Knobel, and I wrote the music. Central to this spectacle was a gigantic bicycle wagon, conceived and built by Miesjel van Gerwen: a chassis consisting of fifty converted bicycles with bicycles above them on long iron bars, thirteen in number, clearly visible welded together into a monumental vehicle. The lower bicycles were propelled by a fifty-member choir, on the bicycles above sat the entire musicians of Orkest de Volharding.
Three soloists walked and cycled on and around the colossus: a soprano, a mezzo-soprano and a baritone. And finally the jester rode on a huge tricycle.
'Tijdvaarders' is inspired by 'Troost de hysterische robot' ('Soothe the hysterical robot' a collection of poems by Lucebert from 1989. A large part of the collection contains the oratorio of the same name that has never been performed (professionally). With considerable cynicism, 'Troost' tells the melancholy story of the constantly brooding and petty man, ending in his redeeming death. The characters are not flesh and blood people, but allegorical figures.
By cutting out some things and inserting a few poems from other collections by Lucebert, a lighter, less melancholy libretto has been created that fits and belongs in the already existing environment of 'the bicycle'.
'Ons houdt vogel leven in zijn klauwen
want wij vliegen als wij vallen
en verrijzen bij het dalen
naar het geborchte van de bron'