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  • Nikolaï Clavier

The film score of Blauwe Maandag, recorded with the Arthema String Quartet, has won me the New Talent Award from Buma Music in Motion 2021.

Congratulations to the whole crew and the amazing sound department led by Zita Leemans and Zeno Hehenkamp!

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Updated: May 18

I just got nominated to one of the most prestigious film music awards in the Netherlands! The New Talent Award of Buma Music in Motion!


For the soundtrack of "Blauwe Maandag", directed by Gregory Samson. Blauwe Maandag is a film by Gregory Samson, about a man who loses his son in a car accident and blames himself for the incident. It is a dark drama about loss, guilt and the burden of shame.

Because it is about an inescapable destiny, I chose to score the whole film in the key of C-minor, using the dark musical language of Nordic Noir. It revolves around a heavy leitmotif which represents the overpowering weight of the protagonist’s emotions. This leitmotif gets repeated throughout the film, always in the same key, to show that he is trapped in his emotions and cannot get out of that loop.

The instrumentation consists of vintage synths, string orchestra, brass and a solo-strings recorded by the Arthema String Quartet.

Thanks to an insane idea from the director, Gregory, we managed to book the chamber hall of Concertgebouw Amsterdam for our string quartet recordings. Two weeks before recording he had the suggestion that we should email the Concertgebouw, since they were closed due to the lockdown, and ask if we could record there for free. It took them 10 days to reply, and I had given up on the idea that we would ever be able to record there, but one day before our scheduled recording they wrote us back with a green light. That’s when I learnt the meaning of the Dutch expression: “Nee heb je, ja kan je krijgen.”

The sound department, with Zita Leemans and Zeno Hehenkamp, did a formidable job in the mixing stage. I think this is the movie where I’ve submitted the most stems! The opening cue has 23 separate stems and each was placed into the 7.1 space very deliberately. Some synth sounds were rotating around the hall at times, and the solo string players, which were recorded with 12 different microphones, were placed around the virtual room – creating an immersive sound. As a result, the cinema experience is quite exceptional.

The soundtrack can be heard on Spotify:

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  • Nikolaï Clavier

Updated: May 18

On the 16th of February 2021 a video was released featuring six times Dutch champion in figure skating, Niki Wories, dancing on the frozen canals of Amsterdam. The video quickly got picked up by the media and was shown on national TV to over a million viewers. The YouTube post has over 120k views and news reports all over the world have been showing the film.

The film is directed by cinematographer Jaap mar Diemel, and he contacted me two days before the shooting to compose a piece of music. This has been one of the most exciting and last-minute jobs I've ever done. We wanted a romantic piece for orchestra and solo cello. So I composed a piece over night and sent Jaap a demo where I played the viola instead of a cello. He loved it! Next day he went on the ice with Niki Wories, and using my demo she made one of the most beautiful choreographies known to man.

Same day as the shoot Diederik Smulders came into my studio and we recorded the cello part. Diederik has a warm and deep sound in his cello, and I managed to capture that with my Røde NT1 and Oktava mics:

This was a unique opportunity, because the canals of Amsterdam only freeze like this every few decades. Jaap saw an opportunity and took it, and as a result we have this beautiful video to show for. The sound design was elegantly done by Burak Oztas and the editing by Emma Mandjes. The song is now available in two versions on Spotify:

It has over 20.000 listeners and is by far my most popular song on Spotify. I made a longer version of 3 minutes later, because Niki will be using it for her next dance routine in Canada. It will be nice to see what comes out of it.

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