Willem Wander van Nieuwkerk composer

nederlands · english

Music list of works

Music > String Quartet 'Moravian Souls' (2015a)

String Quartet 'Moravian Souls'

Two violins, viola, cello

I. Battaglia: largo non troppo, recitando
II. Zarabanda: allegro assai
III. Mesticcio: allegro

Duur: 21 min. ca

Written for the Škampa Quartet


When the Czech ┼ákampa Quartet asked me to write a piece for their concerts in the Netherlands I chose a ‘Moravian theme’ - though not in the sense of Moravian folk music. The quartet has already devoted numerous wonderful projects to the Moravian folk tradition, with Iva Bittova, with Janacek’s Moravian music and with the ‘Moravian quartets’ of Pavel Fischer. My tie with their Moravian roots is a different one: the heritage of the Moravian Church - known in the Netherlands as ‘Hernhutters’ (from the East German village that they hailed from and that they founded in the late 17th century). This Protestant denomination has an important seat in my home village, Zeist, and both my parents used to be members of this ‘Brotherhood’.


Music was of great importance for these Bohemian en Moravian Brethren. Their first collections of hymns date from the early 16th century. In spite of their being ‘Protestants’ long before Luther, theological polemics and systematization played a far less significant role than did music. The founder of the important Zeist settlement, Ludwig Graf Von Zinzendorf, felt that this religion of the heart expressed itself best in music and song. It is in his spirit that we find a phenomenon typical of the Moravian Church: the Singstunde, a kind of ‘sermon in song’.

The Moravian Church’s early history is a blood stained