Wagenaar / Verhulst / Netherlands Radio Symphony - Dutch Overtures | RECORD STORE DAY

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In the 19th century, the first violin section in Dutch orchestras often contained amateur players. In fact, even the "orchestra associations" in Utrecht, Rotterdam and Amsterdam were not composed entirely of professional musicians, with a significant number of members being amateurs. This mixed line-up of musicians and a strong leaning towards German and French composers had a profound effect on the choice of repertoire, and a marked preference developed for programmes containing a large number of short and contrasting pieces. This explains the success of the overture, a genre that included both the compressed piece of orchestral foreplay to an opera as well as independent pieces. Dutch overtures differ from those of foreign origin in that they tend generally to be mild in tone and lacking in theatricality. The orchestra often has a transparent sound quality, the major sources of inspiration being Weber, Mendelssohn and Boieldieu.Two fine examples are the two overtures on this album by Johannes van Bree (1801-1857). His output features four independent orchestral overtures, including this one in B minor. Van Bree also composed a number of operas, including Le Bandit, whose overture contains obvious influences from Weber's overtures. On the other hand, the overture in B minor is closer to the French opera overtures of Cherubini and Boieldieu. Johannes Verhulst (1816-1891) was a friend of Robert and Clara Schumann and his music was acclaimed by Mendelssohn. Judging by his overture to Vondel's play Gijsbrecht van Aemstel he had listened carefully to Mendelssohn's 'Hebrides' overture. A series of robust brass chords in a punctuated rhythm also recalls a passage from Schumann's First Symphony. When Johan Wagenaar (1862-1941) embarked on his career, the music of his German contemporaries still played an important role in symphonic concerts, and German influence in Wagenaar's music pervades his entire symphonic oeuvre, which includes a number of overtures. Frithjof's Meerfahrt (Op.5) is Wagenaar's first orchestral work, written around 1884. The later Concert Overture Op.11 'Fruhlingsgewalt' seems to have been highly coloured by the idyllic nature paintings of Mendelssohn and is striking in it's enormous contrasts in tempo and instrumentation. Even more than Wagenaar, Jan van Gilse (1881-1944) was a product of the conservative faction in German music in the decade around 1900. Shortly before the turn of the century he studied at the conservatory in Cologne under Franz Wullner, also Willem Mengelberg's teacher ten years earlier. Van Gilse's Concert Overture in C minor was written at the end of his conservatory studies. The music begins in a minor key and ends in the major, developing, in Beethovian terms, from darkness to the light. Despite episodes of turbulence in his music, it always displays an often suppressed but sometimes overt longing for liberation and fulfilment.Other information:- Recorded August 1996, August 1997, June 1998, Hilversum, Netherlands- Trilingual Booklet in English, German and Dutch contains liner notes by Emanuel Overbeeke- A highly enjoyable selection of orchestral Overtures by Dutch composers from the Romantic Era. - Presented are Overtures by Johannes van Bree, Johan Wagenaar, Johannes Verhulst and Jan van Gilse. Their works are inspired by the great examples of romantic overtures by Mendelssohn, Von Weber and Schumann: strong thematic characterization, passionate feelings, tone painting and brilliant orchestration: a feast of orchestral virtuosity!- Played by the Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by maestro Jac van Steen, a champion of neglected orchestral music of the 19th century.- Reissue from the NM Classics catalogue, the label for Music from the Netherlands.