Suite Rio de Janeiro

Suite for piano and orchestra

“Rio de Janeiro”



  Marcha do povo

  Nesta rua - Samba

Eliane Rodrigues

Orkest der Lage Landen


Walter Proost


Eliane Rodrigues

Heard in Zwolle

2 November 2008

Hubert Couteau


A creation which made its world premier on 9 August 2000 in Saas-Fee (Switzerland) and which has never been performed again since. That is the way it goes with new compositions. At the time, this opus 8 was called “Concierto no. 1”, with the subtitle symphonic impressions for piano and orchestra. It is now a suite. In my opinion, it is neither one thing nor another.




I would call it a theme and that theme would be: sadness. Seldom have I felt so much sadness as with this piece of work. A sadness in which the composer is unable to escape, it keeps coming back, it dominates her. And she desperately wishes to escape, she wants to live, experience joy, and give sadness a place among all the other emotions. But this is not meant for her. She searches for a means of escape in the music as well as help from the musicians. She begs for help only to become enraged when she is confronted with ignorance. But even they can give no relief. Mutilated sounds are all they are able to offer. 


Despairingly I perused the programme and found a samba in the last movement. This would probably bring the answer, I thought. But no. Energetic and full of confidence, the samba is introduced, but it falters, lumbers, unable to reach its potential. Eliane begs each instrument once again to help her. Without success. After hearing the last notes of this composition, the listener is left abandoned, overcome with emotion, utterly speechless.


But this suite is great art. My entire life I have wondered why I am not like all the others. Why I am always drawn to art. What is it actually: Art? I have, for myself, picked up, refined or possibly even just simply accepted without question several definitions. But to me, they are essential. Art is: Making the invisible visible - Daring to speak the unspeakable. And so this suite falls under the category of the very greatest of art.


 Eliane announced just before the start of the concert that she wrote this opus 8 in memory of the death of her brother, a while ago now, but which she is still not yet entirely able to cope with. 


We still need to talk briefly about the style of this work, for we have already talked about the form. The work is surprisingly contemporary, modern, atonal, and full of dissonances, instruments and timbres grinding against one another, social: each instrument has its moment and the piano is no more than an instrument in the whole; therefore, the work changed, quite correctly, from a concerto into a suite for piano and orchestra or for orchestra with piano. 


Qua set-up it most resembles the dodecaphony. The piano introduces a series of notes. In my opinion, this is not a theme or a leitmotif; it is the establishment of a timbre in which mainly the silences obtain an enormous amount of importance as is the case throughout the entire piece of work. I read that someone compared this work to “Le bœuf sur le Toit”; it also reminded him of Berio, Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez, Chick Corea, Mozart, Richard Strauss, Phillip Glass and Steve Reich. I consider myself lucky not to know a single one of these people, and was therefore not disturbed by such thoughts during the concert. Eliane’s work cannot be compared to anything else. That alone makes it unique. It is a compilation of her impressions of all of the music she has ever heard in her life and which she has pressed together in her symphonic impression. Exploding fireworks of sound. If I did however think about anything while listening to the music, then it was Mussorgsky, but do not ask me why. For some reason I just thought about it. I strolled along an exhibition of emotions.


The orchestra, conducted by Walter Proost, performed the composition most passionately. Walter has a very good orchestra, in which each section comes together, creating a beautiful harmonious balance. Very good individual instrumentalists (take, for example, the man with the drum), who, not for a single moment, placed the individual above the instrument of which they are a part, namely the symphonic orchestra. With a conductor who never hides his enthusiasm and gives all he has to express the collective utmost individual emotion.


Hubert Couteau

Culture Programmer