Revue Blanche


Nenia - extended


Audio & narration

Katharina Smets


Frederik Neyrinck


Revue Blanche


Katherina Lindekens

After the successful production of Misia, Revue Blanche presents a new performance with sound artist Katharina Smets, this time in the company of composer Frederik Neyrinck. Nenia - literally ‘song for the dead’ - is a kaleidoscopic exploration of loss. How do you cope with the death of a loved one? What does it mean to continue living in the presence of absence? Is there hope in memory, in the arts, in meeting with others? Revue Blanche asks these and other questions in a performance that takes the listener on a rollercoaster of mourning.

Four narrative layers resonate in this polyphonic project. There is a contemporary narrative by Katharina Smets, where autofictional and documentary elements come together. There are testimonies from experts in the field, offering reflection and solace. There are field recordings that anchor the narrator’s journey in a sometimes urban, sometimes natural sonic landscape. And of course, there is music. Frederik Neyrinck arranges, transcribes, and transforms timeless repertoire on loss. In doing so, he is inspired by the figure of Orpheus, the mythical singer-songwriter who attempted to retrieve his beloved Eurydice from the underworld. Drawing from the rich orphic tradition, Neyrinck paints in Nenia a highly personal musical landscape. From opera arias to elegies; from exuberant danses macabres to contemporary funeral songs: the most diverse sounds metamorphose into a new composition tailored to this unique quartet.

Winged Love



Six Metamorphoses after Ovid Pan




If My Complaints

Vaughan Williams

Blake Songs

Baez *

There But For Fortune
As Long As Songbirds Sing


To A Child Dancing In The Wind


* Arr.: Frederik Neyrinck

The duality of love drives this English-inspired concert programme focusing on passion and despair. Renaissance composer John Dowland once phrased the two sides of love as ‘Can love be rich, and yet I want?’ The statement inspired Benjamin Britten in the 20th century to write his poignant ‘Lachrymae’ with the viola in a starring role. For composer Vaughan Williams in turn, William Blake’s poems resonate in his music: in his Blake Songs, he depicts the tension between innocence and man scarred by love. Because love touches us all. Joan Baez processes her desires in innocent-looking and folk-like songs, while John Tavener highlights the vulnerability and tenderness of Yeats’ poetry in the spiritual song cycle To A Child Dancing In The Wind. With this concert programme, Revue Blanche makes you muse on youthful innocence and lost loves, on hope and unfulfilled desires, but above all on indomitable joy and quiet delight.

Roots - extended


Karl Naegelen

Children’s folk songs

Luciano Berio

Les mots sont allés


Altra Voce

Karl Naegelen

Rough Edge



Luciano Berio

Folk songs


(subject to changes, June 2024)



Revue Blanche with & invited musicians



Percussion (2)


In 2025, Luciano Berio (1925-2003) would have celebrated his hundredth birthday, the perfect opportunity to revisit his work and reflect on his legacy. Remarkable about his oeuvre is that, alongside his clearly avant-garde art, he also showed interest in a completely different aesthetic - that of folk songs.


In his writing, Berio distinguished ‘official’ art music from folk music, without this seeming contradictory. He arranged various songs from the folk traditions of the United States, France (Auvergne), Italy (Sicily and Sardinia), and Armenia, and composed his Folk songs cycle as a tribute to the art and vocal intelligence of his wife, Cathy Berberian. Karl Naegelen intentionally wrote his Children’s folk songs for the same instrumentation as Berio’s version.

Naegelen is a young French composer passionate about improvisation and non-European music. He has made several trips to Surakarta (Indonesia) seeking to preserve the directness and spontaneity that characterize music in oral traditions in his own style, through a continuous search for nuances in timbre and richness in musical colors.

We present the world of folk music through the eyes of these fascinating composers.

Debussy - Van Parys


Debussy *

Trois chansons de Bilitis

Van Parys

Harp Trio


Beau soir

Van Parys



Sonate pour flûte, alto et harpe


‘Mes longs cheveux...’ from Pelléas et Mélisande

Debussy **

Proses lyriques

* Arr.: Wim Henderickx
** Arr.: Koenraad Sterckx

'A surprising dialogue', deemed the press after the debut of Usher: an opera by Belgian composer Annelies Van Parys inspired by musical sketches left by Claude Debussy. Van Parys and Debussy: it’s a story in and of its own. While not using an identical musical vocabulary, they definitely speak the same language: that of sound. The one molding luminous, colorful tone clouds, the other fascinated by the impact of sound on the senses, body and mind. Yet both share a talent for conceiving music that brushes against strings, wood and metal, to elicit atmospheric sounds that crawl underneath the skin. With Debussy’s iconic sonata for flute, viola and harp and Van Parys’ harp trio at its very core, this program weaves poetry and lyricism, timbres and textures, stories of love and lust into a time-less tale. In the ultimate mirror-trick, the antique verses of Sappho echo in the fin-de-siècle flair of Bilitis.

Gestillte Sehnsucht


Brahms *

Clarinet trio op. 114


Brahms *

Zwei Gesänge op. 91

Gestillte Sehnsucht

Geistliches Wiegenlied

Eisler **

Dunkler Tropfe

Tanzlied der Rosetta

Der Tod had die Menschen müde getrieben

Nun ist ein Tag zu Ende

Strauss *

Mädchenblumen op. 22





Strauss *

4 Lieder op. 27


Grieg ***

Sechs Deutsche Lieder


Dereinst, Gedanke mein

Lauf der Welt

Die verschwiegene Nachtigall

Zur Rosenzeit

Ein Traum

* Arr.: Jelle Tassyns
** Arr.: Frederik Neyrinck
*** Arr.: Koenraad Sterckx

Seen through Revue Blanche’s kaleidoscope, music from the German Romantic era appears not as a monolithic mass but as a whirl of colors, impressions and emotions. Passion, fragility and unfulfilled desire were never caught in music with more precision and pungency than by Johannes Brahms. Hanns Eisler, in turn, forged sounds of distress, desperation and darkness into music shimmering with energy. Richard Strauss takes the bittersweet sensation of yearning and urgent escapism to the zenith in Morgen: a craving for eternal bliss. In Mädchenblumen, a bouquet of metaphors attempts to capture the essence of the woman: mild and serene as the cornflower, cheerfully sweeping like the poppy, mythical and fragile as the water lily. Grieg, too, lent his ear to the muse to whom so many romantic geniuses succumbed: love.


Repertoire list


Clarinet trio op. 114



Sonate pour flûte, alto et harpe


Six épigraphes antiques


Suite bergamasque

Van Parys

Harp Trio


And then I knew ‘twas Wind




El fandango de Candil



Garten von Freuden und Traurigkeiten


3 Morceaux en forme de poire


Deux pièces en trio op. 95


Trio op. 13


Trio op. 127

It was Debussy who, in 1915, for the first time combined the flute with the viola and the harp in a trio sonata. The innovative sound with its enchanting, somewhat melancholic pallet, would go on to seduce many a 20th-century composer. Debussy himself reveled in the audacity of his felicitous find, but also realized that the sweet-and-salty flavor would take its time to become an acquired taste: 'I’m not sure if this music should make you laugh or cry. Maybe both.'

In this concert program Revue Blanche takes on Debussy’s groundbreaking trio together with a plethora of (original as well as arranged) repertoire for the same cast. Among the stylistically varied options: the illustrious clarinet trio of Brahms, key pieces from the French Belle Époque, as well as more recent compositions by Tōru Takemitsu and Sofia Gubaidulina (both conceived as dialogues with Debussy’s Trio) and work from the 1970s by Frits Celis and Mieczysław Weinberg. With this portfolio as a point of departure, the concert programmer is invited to compile his very own top pick of trios.



Auric *

Six Poèmes De Paul Éluard

Durey *

Six Madrigaux De Mallarmé

Casella *

L’adieu À La Vie

IV Dans Une Salutation Suprême

Ravel **




Satie *

Trois Morceaux En Forme De Poire

Manière De Commencement

En Plus

Satie *


De Sévérac *

Les Hiboux

Temps De Neige


Un Rêve

* Arr.: Frederik Neyrinck
** Arr.: Skaila Kanga

Misia Sert (1872-1950) was once known as ‘the Queen of the Paris salons’, but also of broken dreams and turbulent loves. Her glorious and tragic life inspired countless artists, from Proust and Renoir to Diaghilev and Coco Chanel. From Belgian-Polish descent, Misia was a key figure in the French music world at the beginning of the 20th century, but this flamboyant personality is all but known to today’s audiences.

For the development of the musical narrative 'Misia & Katharina', Revue Blanche collaborated with radio host Katharina Smets. It soon became clear that there was a treasure trove of unknown but highly interesting songs with a direct link to Misia Sert. Musicologist Sofie Taes was our guide on this quest. 'Misia' is a purely musical homage to this quintessential muse. The fall of 2021 has seen the release of the CD on the Antarctica label.



Poulenc *

Huit chansons polonaises



Delage *


Ravel **

Chansons madécasses

Ravel *

Deux melodies hébraïques

* Arr.: Frederik Neyrinck
** Arr.: Revue Blanche

'A quartet-like piece in which the human voice takes on the highest part', explained Maurice Ravel with regards to the somewhat unusual cast of his Chansons Madécasses or ‘Songs of Madagascar’. And reign she does, the soprano that gets to whistle and whirl, seduce and provoke in the tales of suppression and liberation written by creole poet Évariste de Parny. Equally empathic and headstrong, Ravel had explored Jewish traditions and repertoires in Deux melodies hébraïques: songs that venture into contrasting soundscapes to muse on concepts of spirituality and existentialism. For Maurice Delage, the trendy orientalism of Ragamalika was just a minor aspect of a much broader and deeply-rooted interest in non-Western cultures. Poulencs arrangement of Polish folk songs into an 8-part set of chansons, started out as a service to a client, but turned into an ode to Polish exiles in Paris and a declaration of love to his hero, Chopin. The Trio of Mieczysław Weinberg, too, speaks of admiration and gratitude in its echoes of Slavic masters such as Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Bartók.

A Page of Madness - extended


Revue Blanche with Tom De Cock (percussion)


Daan Janssens


Dirk De Wachter


A Page of Madness T. Kinugasa / Y. Kawabata


Centre Henri Pousseur


Revue Blanche, Muziekcentrum De Bijloke & Centre Henri Pousseur

A Page of Madness is Revue Blanche’s third multimedia project commissioned by Muziekcentrum De Bijloke. Once again, the socio-cultural context of the magazine ‘La Revue Blanche’ was the ensemble’s inspiration. Exoticism and Kawabata’s serene writings in particular, are at the heart of this program.

In the avant garde movie ‘A page of Madness’ from 1926 (with a screenplay by Kawabata), Japanese cinematographer Kinugasa paints the subjective observations of people living in a runaway asylum. Thought lost for almost half a century, the film was re- released in 1971 and became a cult hit. The film was originally accompanied by live music and a narrator or 'benshi', who is now replaced by a new soundtrack by composer Daan Janssens. The audience is invited to enter a spherical, colourful and at times alienating universe of sound. The musicians’s instruments are amplified and electronically manipulated while on stage. Surrounded by speakers, listeners are fully immersed in the expressionist images of this silent arthouse film.



compositions:  Maurice Ravel
interprètes: Revue Blanche: Lore Binon (vocals), Caroline Peeters (flute), Anouk Sturtewagen (harp) & Kris Hellemans (viola)
choreography & direction: Benjamin Vandewalle
scenography & costumes: WIThWIT: Erki De Vries & Freija Van Esbroeck
arrangements: Frederik Neyrinck
costumes: Sara Lynn Schoon
coproduction: Abbaye de Neimënster, Concertgebouw Brugge, Opéra de Lille & Philharmonie de Paris

Following the success of Berberio (2016), Revue Blanche and Zonzo Compagnie are teaming up again to focus on an iconic composer: Maurice Ravel. WIThWIT will provide the scenography and, as with THELONIOUS (2019), it will be directed by Benjamin Vandewalle.

The mysterious dandy Maurice Ravel captures our imagination. He was a master at bringing different musical worlds to life, from folk melodies and fairy tales like Ma Mère l'Oye to structural experiments like orchestral music without music. The latter was how he described his Boléro; who would have ever thought that the whole world would be able to whistle this piece?

As a child, Ravel was strongly influenced by his father, who was an inventor. His fascination with mechanics is reflected in a scene constructed analogously. In UnRAVELed, we travel from outside to inside, from macro to micro. Starting with a large, open ocean, we zoom in on a city, a house, a room, on and on, until we enter the radar work of Ravel's own mind.

The scene itself builds up step by step, unfolding into a life-size set, into a machine that produces sound and a shadow play in which mysteries are hidden. Small spotlights illuminate scale models in Plexiglas into large, moving shadows that form the environment in which the performers find themselves. We hear mechanical machines that produce sound, movements that also make sound, loop stations where not only musicians are duplicated but the delightful music of the master himself, too.

We see Ravel as a child, and the child that remains somewhere in everyone's soul.

Epistola posteritati - extended


Revue Blanche
Psallentes led by Hendrik Vandenabeele


music of Landini, Da Bologna and Sciarrino
new composition by Michael Pisaro

For the most part, the music these ensembles excel in are half a millennium apart, but for this particular project, Revue Blanche and Psallentes have gone in search of common ground. They venture onto Italian territory, with music of the somewhat enigmatic but always poetic Salvatore Sciarrino (°1947), and texts from that other slightly mysterious but always poetic Italian, Petrarch (1304-1374).

Among Petrarch’s works is a letter about himself and his ideas, addressed ‘to the future’ (Epistola posteritati). It gives us pause to reflect on how we ourselves view the past, present and future — especially now that we are forced by the worldwide COVID-19 crisis to change the way we look at the world around us and plan the future. The music of fourteenth-century Italy has come down to us among other things via the manuscript known as the ‘Squarcialupi Codex’, which contains texts by good friends of Petrarch, such as Jacopo da Bologna and Francesco Landini. Psallentes takes up its exciting vocal music, while Revue Blanche explores the thrilling world of Sciarrino.

To tread in the trusty footwear of ‘early music’ or ‘contemporary music’, both ensembles had to find each other’s lasts, resulting in a programme that is not just beautiful but particularly intense and piercing. With Epistola posteritati by Revue Blanche and Psallentes, the future is blossoming in colour again.