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Jaap Flier about the movie of musician Barend Schipper and filmmaker Arno Cupédo

“Barend Schipper: Villa Concert”
“A Rebirth of Romantic music in our Intercultural Time”


Jaap Flier is the first knighted dancer of the Netherlands. He was cofounder, dancer and artistic director of the Nederlands Dans Theater. Of the School voor Nieuwe Dansontwikkeling (School for New Dance development) in Amsterdam Jaap Flier was study leader and he was the artistic director of the Australian Dance Theatre. Flier still is fully active as a freelance dancer, choreographer and actor and has at present 55 years of stage experience that he continually uses for new and renewing projects. The words of Jaap Flier are put to paper by Meyke Beekman after he watched and listened to the movie during a private showing in August 2004.

“The movie ‘Barend Schipper: Villa Concert’ is about so much more than music alone: it is Barend Schipper’s contact with the audience and the singing that unnoticedly turns into acting. In his dealing with the music and with the grand piano it is as if he dances.”

“I experienced the movie in a way… what shall I say, you can see it watching the audience: he completely takes you with it. You enter another world. Barend Schipper is totally submerged in the music during the film of the villa concert and at the same time the communication is fully natural during playing and in between in contact with those present.”

“For me the movie is a total-experience. I felt as if I was present in the villa. On the big screen you see and hear even more than during the live concert because of the camerawork that sometimes moves with the music and because of the close-ups by Arno Cupédo and Aafke Sterenberg. The direction and editing of Schipper and Cupédo is strikingly well: it makes that music and image have become one experience and that is very special! It invites you to be taken in by it.”


“The music is organical. There is a beautiful organical structure and it continues throughout the concert. Sometimes Schipper uses logic in music but fortunately you never hear something you would expect. The organical shape stays intact this way, also because of the way that Barend Schipper takes care of true contrasts in his music, and of unexpected moments.
The expressions on his face that are filmed while he plays the grand piano are always clearly from within, arising from the music. They are striking, moving, humoristic sometimes, but always natural: the music clearly comes from within: it hás to be this way.

When I listen I sometimes think to know for certain what will be next, but the music always ends somewhere else. That’s very pleasant for me, not needing to listen to music that you already expected. Often this goes very gradually, and there are some moments when it changes quite suddenly. The continuing movement always stays intact this way. It takes you along, as a flowing river.”

“For me the climax was the last work before the intermission: ‘Danse de Nijinski’… It has become completely obvious here: Schipper is a dancer when he plays the grand piano!”


“It’s beautiful, the way the singing voice changes into reciting voice during the letters of Paul Gauguin: fortunately it never becomes melodramatic. It never crosses that line, though the text could provoke that.
This way emotions always find their natural proportion: Schipper follows the emotions closely. It is an existential text and that makes that it is sometimes ironical, even sarcastic at times: and that is what he does too: he becomes it. The contact with the audience is very natural at the same time. The getting up from the music to the audience, sitting down again from there; playing while he becomes what he sings…
The movie truly is a beautiful experience!”

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