Invitation to a Beheading

18 Dec 2018

Written by: Roeland Haendonk

Translated by: Anne Hodgkinson

Published in: Het Parool

Everything that Theo Verbey does sounds terrific. It is well constructed, always has a well-structured dramatic narrative line, and is equally well elaborated in subtle instrumental colors.

Verbey uses this technical skill to make music that sounds understatedly natural, looking back with a touch of melancholy. Verbey has withdrawn to his own little musical island, where music from around 1900 fuses with a euphonious and unsentimentally postmodern idiom, outside the here and now – as well as the then and there.

‘Invitation to a Beheading’ sounds like a dark and unsentimental variant on music by Viennese composers such as Erich Korngold, Gustav Mahler, and Alban Berg, but also has something very much its own in the almost neutral and unsentimental way in which big emotions come through in it.