Coda (1983)
with financial support of the Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst
first performance: April 4-1984
Amsterdams Universiteitskoor/VU-kamerkoor
Orkest de Volharding conductor: Huub Kerstens

The words are by Giuseppe Verdi, fragments from letters he wrote in his last years. The plaintive tone in which he describes his increasing isolation and declining health is in strange contrast with the vitality of his last opera Falstaff, dating from the same period. Coda, the final stretch of a great composer, who was also just a normal human being. For the music the Dies Irae of Verdi’s Requiem
has served as a model.
There is also an adaptation of Coda for mixed choir, 10 accordions, double bass, piano and percussion, made by Bernard van Beurden in 1990.


Mijn naam ruikt al naar mummie en grijs verleden.
Ikzelf droog uit wanneer ik hem alleen maar uitspreek.

Met mijn gezondheid is het altijd eender.
Ik ben niet ziek doch ik ben te oud.
Ik breng mijn dagen door zonder iets te kunnen doen.
Dat is heel wreed!

Thans kennen wij het leven,
voelen wij het en de smart drukt ons neer.
Wat moeten wij doen?
Wij moeten verder leven, ziek, vermoeid, teleurgesteld,

U heeft echter zoons die van u houden.
Ik ben alleen.
Droevig, droevig!


My name’s smelling of mummy and of hazy past.
I shall dry out the very moment I pronounce it.

Alas, I am still in my usual health.
I am not ill but I am too old.
I’m spending my days incapable of anything.
That’s too cruel!

And now, at last, we know life,
for we feel it,
sorrow depresses us.
What is to be done?
We have to continue living, ill, tired, disappointed,

However, you have children that love you.
I am alone.
So sad, so sad!

From letters written by Giuseppe Verdi
at the end of his life


Coda adapted by Bernard van Beurden (1990)

first performance: November 2-1990, Concordia, Enschede
Kamerkoor Ex Arte
Ensemble D’Accord
Marijke van Duin (piano)/Annelies Hemmes (double bass)/Leon de Laat
conductor: Frank Deiman

Information by Bernard van Beurden: I have not tried to imitate the original instrumentation by means of the accordions. Melancholy and vitality produced by wind instruments are quite different if produced by accordions. I have maintained the piano and the double bass, although they  sometimes have a different function. The percussion I added myself. Jacques Bank’s musical message has not been changed. It’s only conveyed in a different way.