Mareen Lieftink, soprano, and Ward Reijmerink, electric guitar at the Hortus Botanicus in Leiden

On the occasion of “Tulipmania,” the tulip trade that crashed the Dutch markets in the 1600s, Mareen Lieftink and Ward Reijmerink joined me to create a song reflecting on the fragile and short life of the tulip above ground.  For this collaboration Mareen Lieftink wrote the touching lyrics, and then I set them to music.  She and Ward Reijmerink performed the song multiple times, in the Hortus Botanicus during Museum Weekend, and in a preview concert at the Royal Conservatoire The Hague.  Especially stunning was the dress she designed: as she ascended a ladder, more and more colored layers of fabric appeared, as when a tulip blooms.

Tulp – for soprano and electric guitar

Mareen Lieftink, soprano, and Ward Reijmerink, electric guitar


Jij groeit niet zoals het echt hoort

Zie je het licht, de hemel niet?

Ik denk aan jou, ik geef om jou.

Ik kan niks anders doen dan dit.

We hebben weinig tijd samen

Waarom ga jij je eigen gang?

Geen blik, geen liefde ben ik waard?

Ik wil genieten, maar hoe lang?

Je takelt af, gaat van mij weg

Ik kan niks meer dan aanschouwen

De buiging van jouw steel en blad

Kan ik niet meer staande houden.

(English Translation)


You are not growing like you really should

Don’t you see the light, the sky?

I think of you, I care for you

I cannot do more than this

We have little time together

Why are you following your own path?

No look, no love am I worth?

I want to enjoy but how long?

You are tearing down, going away from me

I cannot do more than observe

The bending of your halm and leaf

I can no longer keep standing.

Poem by Mareen Lieftink

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Tulpmania KC (1)

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