Matthijs Vermeulen

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The One Tonic
Amidst the schools, styles, manners, tricks, formalisms that come and go with the era and the conventions on which they were based, there has always been a sound that remained; that was not determined by a date before or after Christ; that existed beyond the scope of all classicisms or modernisms, all times and peoples; that came into being unchangeable and indestructible; that never diminishes and of which the magic will never end. One recognises this sound immediately and everywhere, as it is everywhere and immediate; one is powerless against it, as with its primitive and rudimentary accents it is ever present in every soul, as everybody carries it with him, as it always shouted or sang to the same tune, from the caveman to the man of our mechanic century. It is also the only relentless, mighty, magic tone, it is the only one that is worthwhile for a composer to aspire to.
(From the introduction to De Eene Grondtoon (Amsterdam, 1932), p. 5.)

I would have liked to live in a society in which the architect of a cathedral earns the same as the bricklayer and the mason, in which all human labour is rewarded equally, the Minister and the servant, the banker and the dogsboy. Everyone would follow their own impulse, without other considerations. Man would only be assessed by his inner nature and genuineness.
(Written on 23 January 1945. See: Het enige hart, p. 167.)

Ever since my youth I have held that every preconceived, so-called traditional form merely prevents an idea from creating its own form, and that it ought therefore to be resolutely shunned. [...] Consequently I dreamt of musical forms which differ one from the other just as each new play by a particular playwright differs from the last, each new novel by the same novelist, each piece of sculpture by the same sculptor, each painting by the same painter, and each building designed by the same architect. I dreamt of musical forms which, just as in the other arts, were dictated solely by the subject. [...] I believed that I should make an attempt to broach the most fundamental principle, and by this I mean that hidden abode where man is not yet himself and yet infinitely more than himself; the spring from which that mysterious urge rises which every man bears in his heart - more or less dormant, mostly unexploited, and often unbeknown - that unfathomable urge to be a poet in the original sense of the word, namely, a maker, a creator; that dully glowing core in each of us, where demiurgic fervour, devoid of all restraint and comparable only with love in its first stage, when it has as yet no object, when it is only the state of loving, is always waiting for an opportunity to burst into flame.
(From: Notes on my Sixt Symphony.)
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