Alexander Voormolen: Baron Hop Suites, Concerto for Two Oboes, Eline. Residentie Orchestra The Hague, Mathias Bamert. Chandos 9815 (2000)

Alexander Voormolen: Baron Hop Suites, Concerto for Two Oboes (Pauline Oostenrijk & Hans Roerade), Eline-Nocturne for orchestra. Residentie Orchestra The Hague, Matthias Bamert. Chandos 9815 (2000), barcode 095115981528







Recorded 25-28 May 1999 at the Dr Anton Phlipszaal, The Hague

A discovery is always welcome – but this one is not particularly revelatory
28 October 2016

In the early 1990s, the Residentie Orchestra of The Hague released a series of recordings, “400 Years of Dutch Music” – I have some of the installments on Olympia, from OCD 504 to 507, the late-romantics and early-moderns (Johan Wagenaar, Matthijs Vermeulen, Willem Pijper, Hendrik Andriessen) to the contemporaries (Lovendie, Escher, Badings, De Leeuw…) – which revealed that there had been more on the Dutch scene than simply, as was commonly thought until then, nothing between Sweelinck (1562-1621) and Diepenbrock (1862-1921). Chandos here and again the Residentie pick up the flame.

Alexander Voormolen (1895-1980) was a pupil of Johan Wagenaar in Utrecht, and of Albert Roussel and Maurice Ravel in Paris – more attracted stylistically, he said, to Roussel than to Ravel. I had never heard of him, and a discovery is always welcome. That said, there’s nothing particularly revelatory in the music of Voormolen here. It veers between the lighter and fluffier side of “musique française” – Sauguet and Auric more than Roussel –, Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and Hollywood-Broadway, when not the romantic style of Ludwig Spohr or the serve-all-purpose style of Leon Minkus’s ballets. Also, Voormolen was introducted in 1916 to the Parisian musical society of Ravel, Roussel, Schmitt, Casella, Delius, Ricardo Vinès, Marguierite Long, Jacques Thibaud (and who knows which rich aristocratic patrons), and he seems to have been so marked by it that his musical style stopped there. That he should be writing that kind of music in his Baron Hop Suites (resulting from an aborted project of an opera comique), in 1924 and 1931, or in the Concerto for two oboes of 1933, “passe encore” as the French say. But he’s still doing it in 1951 in the symphonic poem “Eline” (subtitled “Nocturne for orchestra”), where whiffs of Strauss or of the neo-classical Stravinsky may be heard. The music is “pretty” and will procure enjoyment to those who don’t demand more of music than just being “pretty”.

TT 71:45. Other installments in the series include:

Chandos 9735 Matthijs Vermeulen (1888-1967): Symphonies Nos. 2, 6, 7. Rozhdestvensky (2002) barcode 095115973523

Chandos 9796 Richard Hol (1825-1904): Symphonies N. 1 & 3 op. 101. Bamert (2000) 095115979624

Chandos 9894 Cornelis Dopper (1870-1939): Symphony No. 2, Päân I & II-symphonic studies. Bamert (2001) 095115988428

Chandos 9923 Cornelis Dopper: Symphony No. 3 “Rembrandt”, Symphony No. 6 “Amsterdam”. Bamert (2002) 095115992326

Chandos 9952 Richard Hol: Symphony No. 2 op. 44, No. 4. Bamert (2001) 095115995228

Chandos 10020 Johannes Verhulst: Mass op. 20. Bamert (2003) 095115102022

Chandos 10029 Alphons Diepenbrock (1862-1921): De Vogels, Marsyas-suite, Hymn, Elektra, 3 Hymns, Die Nacht, Im grossen Schweigen). Hans Vonk (2002, rec. 1989, from Chandos 8821 & 8878) 095115102923

Chandos 10179 Johannes Verhulst (1816-1891): Symphony in E minor op. 46, 3 Overtures. Bamert (2004) 095115117927


And for the original series from Olympia, 400 Years of Dutch Music Residentie The Hague

OCD 500 vol. 1 works of Cornelis Schuyt, Sweelinck, Mathias Mercker, Carolus Hacquart, Carel Rosier, Quirinus Van Blanckenburg, Willem de Fesch, Wassenaer (1991) barcode 5015524005009

OCD 501 vol. 2 Pieter Hellendaal Concerto Grosso op. 3/1 (Harnoncourt), Johan Nicolaas Lentz Concerto No. 2 for Harpsichord (Koopman), Christiaan Ernst Graaf Symphony in C major op. 14-4 (Koopman), Jean Gabriel Meder Symphony op. 3-1 (Bour), Carel Anton Fodor Symphony No. 4 op. 10 (Dorati) 5015524005016

OCD 502  vol. 3 works of Johann Wilhem Wilms, Johannus Bernardus van Bree, Johannes Verhulst 5015524005023

OCD 503  vol. 4 works of Theodor Verhey, Bernard Zweers, 5015524005030

OCD 504 vol. 5 works of Johan Wagenaar, Matthijs Vermeulen, Daniël Ruyneman, Willem Pijper, Hendrik Andriessen (1991) 5015524005047

OCD 505 vol. 6 works of Vermeulen, Kees Van Baaren, Anthon van der Horst, Otto Ketting, Ton De Leeuw (1991) 5015524005054

OCD 506 vol.7 works of Rudolf Escher, Guus Janssen, Theo Loevendie, Wim Laman 5015524005061

OCD 507  Dutch Masters: Hendrik Andriessen, Diepenbrock, Jan van Gilse, Henk Badings. Ed Spanjaard (1992) 5015524405076

Comments are welcome