In his Here trilogy, composer Van der Aa draws the listener into the musical exploration of the clash between the individual and his surroundings. His irrepressible fascination for theatrical and visual means is one recurring feature of the trilogy. A recognizable harmonic signature is evidence of his economical use of material. The harmonic DNA of the Here trilogy consists in each of the three sections of the same eleven chords, both in the orchestra and the soundtrack.
Here [to be found] (2001) is officially the closing section of the Here trilogy, but it was in fact the first to be composed. The density of the ideas present clearly suggests that Van der Aa realized that he could expand the theme of the individual vs. her surroundings in two additional sections. Here [to be found] sketches, using a minimum of harmonic means, a thoroughly oppressive mood, introduced by wispy chords in the strings.
The inevitable sense of drama of Here [to be found] comes primarily through the process of attraction and repulsion between the soprano, chamber orchestra and soundtrack. Just as in Here [in circles] the composer penned the tranquil yet ornate texts himself; words that express the meandering reveries of the emotionally wayward dramatic ‘ego’ (the soprano). She searches for – and finds – contact with the orchestra and soundtrack, but thereafter only sinks deeper into her own musical micro-universe. The soprano drifts ever further from the elements around her, the text as well as the music.
The soprano’s icy disengagement is reflected in Van der Aa’s music. He manipulates the music’s linear progression by snipping it up and reintroducing these fragments on the soundtrack in altered form. In doing so – rewinding and fast-forwarding – he creates an additional dimension of time. The sensation of a vacuum that arises when the music ‘freezes’ and then ‘thaws’ parallels and reflects the isolation felt by the soprano, and at the same time acts as an abstract expression of her mood. The singer, together with the orchestra and the soundtrack, searches for a new departure point. In that respect, drama and structure in the Here trilogy are constantly indivisible.
— Mischa Spel