Zilver was written by Louis Andriessen and premiered in 1994. It is part of a planned series named after types of physical matter of which Hout is the first and Zilver the second.
The idea behind Zilver was to write a chorale variation as Bach did for organ: a long, slow-moving melody, combined with the same melody played faster. The ensemble is divided into two groups: the wind and strings play the sustained melody in chorale-like four-part harmony, and the rest of the instruments – vibraphone, marimba and piano – play increasingly fast staccato chords. The two groups play in canons.
Zilver is one of a planned series of chamber pieces named after a type of physical matter. Hout (‘wood’) is the first, and Zilver (‘silver’) is the second. The title also refers to the two silver instruments – flute and vibraphone – which start and end the piece.