Friday, June 02, 2017

How many of these composers are on your radar?

H. Andriessen, L. Andriessen, K. v. Baaren, H. Badings, G. Berff, G. v.d. Bergh, H. Bosmans, J. Brandts Buys, J.B. v. Bree, S. Bunge, J. v. Dijk, J. v. Domselaer, S. Dresden, G.J. v. Eijken, J. Feldenhof, M. Flothuis, H. Godron, C. de Groot, J. N. Hamburger, G. Hengeveld, O. Ketting, T. Keuris, T. de Leeuw, R. Nasveld, L. Orthel, W. v. Otterloo, W. Pijper, J.A. Reincken, Fr. Ruppe, W. v. Nassau, L.V. Saar, D. Schäfer, P. Schat, L. Schlegel, S.v. Soldt, G. Steenwick, J. Straesser, H. Strategier, J.P. Sweelinck, H. v. Sweeden, A. Voormolen, B. Wagenaar, D. Wayenberg, J.W. Wilms.

Works by all these composers are showcased in pianist Jacob Bogaart's labour of love 'The Art of Dutch Keyboard Music'. The music in the 8 CD box seen below spans four centuries. Although Sweelink and his contemporaries are of course represented, the anthology is very much more than a tribute to old Dutch masters of the keyboard: six of the eight CDs are devoted to music from composers from the 20th and 21st centuries and include little-known gems such as the Concertino for piano and orchestra from the yet-to-be discovered by the twitterati woman composer Henriëtte Bosmans, the Concerto for three pianos by Daniel Wayenberg, Léon Orthel's Scherzo for piano and orchestra and Dirk Schäfer's Klavier Quintet. All the music is performed by Jacob Bogaart on a modern piano, because as the pianist explains in the admirably comprehensive English and Dutch notes, the use of a single instrument allows the music to be measured "against the same yardstick, beyond any direct influence that a period instrument and any concomitant performance practice may have on the listener".



'The Art of Dutch Keyboard Music' is released on Jacob Bogaart's own record label and is available from his website but not through the usual online retailers and streaming services. Jacob Bogaart's powerful and compelling vision contrasts sharply with the attention-seeking antics of Mahan Esfahani and others on the celebrity keyboard circuit, and the challenge of finding the boxed set should not be a deterrent to sampling the anthology's many riches. My copy was bought in the Netherlands from the bewitching independent store Boekhandel Van der Meer in Noordwijk, a cultural Aladdin's Cave which combines an eclectic mix of rock, classical and jazz CDs and vinyl with fine books and a 'Cultuurcafé', as well as presenting live music.

It is a paradox of our times that we greet the latest temple of sound such as the Elbphilharmonie with boundless enthusiasm, yet phlegmatically accept the extinction of temples of serendipity such as the priceless independent Prelude Records in Norwich as an inevitable consequence of digital progress. And to conclude this typically retrogrouch post, Donald Trump must be very unhappy with me. My visit to Boekhandel Van der Meer and discovery of 'The Art of Dutch Keyboard Music' was made under pedal power using Holland's exemplary network of pro-bicycle anti-car cycle paths. That is my trusty Moulton APB below parked at the Katwijk skatepark.



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4 comments:

Margaret Jones said...

C. de Groot - is that Cor de Groot, the pianist? I knew of him as a pianist principally because he was originally meant to premiere Alwyn's Second Piano Concerto. However he developed an injury and partly because of that and partly because of machinations with Alwyn and the BBC, the performance never happened. I didn't know that he composed as well - must look out for his music.

Pliable said...

Margaret, yes it is Cor de Groot (1914-1993). CD 7 of The Art of Dutch Keyboard Music features his Dansflarden.

Thirteen published works by him are listed here - https://www.muziekweb.nl/Link/M00000261229/CLASSICAL/COMPOSER/Cor-de-Groot

Ratings have to be watched, but calmly and with a sense of proportion. You have to believe that if even one person is swayed, or inspired, or changed, or comforted, by a programme, then that programme has been worthwhile.....

Philip Amos said...

Another pianist I see in the list is Daniel Wayenberg, now 87, living in Paris and, I think, still active. I single him out, for he wrote a piece for the 'lutheal' entitled Cadens, Serenade and Toccata. This is a misty business, but that seems to be one of the few works written for lutheal, and perhaps the only solo one. The instrument was an invention of 1922 by George Cloetens. It had stops, pipes, four registers, pedals, and produced the sounds of harp, piano and clover. Obviously complicated, but I gather it could be attached to a piano. It disappeared rather quickly until one was discovered in a Belgian museum late in the last century. And yet, it seems that Ravel composed his Tzigane for violin and piano, with lutheal option. Jelly D'aranyi, its dedicatee, played it in 1924 with lutheal accompaniment, but I think that was the only such performance in Ravel's time. However, Carlos Moerdijk and Emmy Verhey (she a wonderful and too little acknowledged violinist) recorded the original version in 1994, I think, and Chantal Julliet and Pascal Roge recorded also did so in 1995. Certainly Falla and Bartok composed for the Lutheal, as an accompanying or ensemble instrument, but I haven't checked whether performances of their works including it are available on disc in the original form. As I said, it's a bit misty. Oddly, one article stated that the 1924 performance was with Daniel Wayenberg playing the lutheal -- five years before he was born. Anyway, I can't find a recording of Wayenberg's own composition for it, and that I regret.

Otterloo is, of course, better known as a conductor, but I have a recording of his Symphonietta for winds and it is a fine work indeed. I'm embarrassed to say I know only seven of those listed. Another who stands out for me is Willem Pijper, not so much for his music as his work as a critic, for in that capacity he was so relentlessly ad hominem that he makes B.H. Haggin seem like a pussy cat.

Graeme said...

How interesting. Along the balcony level in the Concertgebouw are a set of plaques with composers' names, about 6 of whom are Dutch. Your list contains only one name in common - Sweelinck. Of the balcony composers, I have heard works by 2 Dutch composers in that hall : Diepenbrock and Johan Wagenaar. Bernard Wagenaar was not related, it appears. I have to say that the works I heard by Diepenbrock and Wagenaar were pleasant but lacking something. It was like listening to Holbrooke or Bantock on an off day. But still, better to hear their music than yet another outing for The Hebrides or Romeo and Juliet or the Meistersingers overture.