18 October 2016

Woof. As announced, I listened to the 6-CD tribute to Dutch composer Ton Bruynèl. It’s great, the ultimate and definitive retrospective of his works and a must-have collector’s item. Bruynèl, inspired by the French “Music Concrète”, was a master both in the sonic imagination of his compositions for tape, and in – more than “mixing”: blending these with the sound of acoustic instruments.

The great thing with being a small country (like the Netherlands, or Denmark) is, a. that you have far less composers than in a big country and b. therefore, you can set up institutions with the mission of championing and promoting these composers. The Dutch Muziekgroep Nederland was such an institution. From what I’ve been able to gather online – mostly in Dutch and awkwardly translated by Google but intelligibly enough for me to be able to reconstruct the original meaning – from 2000 to 2004 it merged the activies of Donemus (Documentatie Nederlandse Muziek), the Dutch documentation center and publisher of classical and contemporary music (founded as far back as 1947), with its record label Composer’s Voice and its program NEAR (Nederlands Elektro-Akoestisch Repertoirecentrum) for the documentation of Dutch electro-acoustic music, and CNM the Centrum voor Nederlandse Muziek (Dutch Music Centre), itself estabished in 1989 (but pursuing the activities of Bfo / Bumafonds, the fund established in the 1970s by the Dutch composers’ collecting society), organizer of concerts and producer of the label NM Classics in cooperation with the Dutch Radio.

Apparently Muziekgroep Nederland ran into a critical financial situation in 2003 due to mismanagement, and in 2008 it merged again into the Muziek Centrum Nederland (MCN), together with the Gaudeamus Foundation for the promotion of Dutch contemporary composers, and various other organizations occupied with Duth popular music. In 2013 the Dutch Ministry of Culture cut its funding (sad times) and the group ceased its activities, but (relief!) with Donemus and Gaudeamus resuming their independent existence.

A lot of research behind the two previous paragraphs, just to say that I have two other such retrospective boxes devoted to Dutch composers:

NM Classics NM 92133 Peter Schat Complete Works (12 CDs), a joint production from Radio Netherlands and Donemus, published in 2006, barcode 5425008375267

Donemus CV 90-93 Leo Smit Complete Works (4 CDs), barcode 8713309100907 (2000). The same set was also isued by NM Classics, NM 93003 barcode 8713309930030 (listed and sold on various commercial websites including Amazon.com and Amazon.de, and – a postscript from 30 August 2020 – thanks to an eBay seller I’ve finally been able to find cover photos), and republished in 2014 by Etcetera, KTC 1516, barcode 8711801015163.


While I was listening to the Bruynèl collection, I also busied myself with reconstructing the discographies of the labels NM Classics and Donemus CV.


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