Greek (Rhodian) composer Savvas Karantzias has signed a publishing contract with Donemus. His two large oratorios will be the first works to be published…
Savvas Karantzias received his music education in A. Corelli Conservatory (Rhodes), where he is currently the Conservatory’s professor and director. He also works in the synthetic study of the sound phenomenon and the depiction of image in sound. He is co-founder of the festival “European Polyphony / Polyphonie Europeenne” and founder of Ars Artis Organization. His first appearance in the record industry was in 2015 in the record “Echomonologues”, done in collaboration with Subways Music. Karantzias has created multiform compositions for orchestra, choir, theater, chamber music and pieces of music for solo instruments. In 2016 he composed the music-theatrical play titled “O kiklos tou 10” (The circle of 10) which was presented at Michael Cacoyannis Foundation and has worked with very significant actors, directors and choreographers. In 2017 Karantzias composed the Oratorio “Theophanes the Greek”, about the founder of Russian iconography.
This work was presented before an audience for the first time at the Cathedral Church of the Annunciation in Rhodes, followed by a performance in Istanbul (Turkey). The play was subsequently presented at the Collège Notre Dame de France in Paris (France) and in the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow (Russia). It was also presented at the Bibliotheca of Alexandria (Egypt) under the auspices of the Patriarchate of Alexandria and following the invitation of the Pope and the Patriarch Theodore II’ of Alexandria and all Africa, where he was awarded the honor of the Grand Commander of Our Lion Battalion of Alexandria. The compositions of Savvas Karantzias have traveled the world and his works were presented by significant Greek and international artists as well as by significant ensembles. In 2018 he started a long-term collaboration with the Moscow Synodal choir from whom he receives annual orders for the composition of new plays intended to be premiered in front of the Russian audience. In 2020 Karantzias composed the Oratorio “Andrei Rublev” which was presented in Moscow (Russia) in Zaryadye Concert Hall. Since 2020, Savvas Karantzias is represented worldwide by MUSICENTRY, the Donemus partner in Greece.
Musicentry continues the successful cooperation with Donemus Publishing for the worldwide promotion of Greek composers. We are pleased to announce the new publication of 2 superb works of the Rhodian composer Savvas Karantzias by Donemus Publishing. The powerful music of his two Oratorios with deep religious feeling ‘’Theophanes the Greek’’ & ‘’Andrei Rublev’’, will begin their worldwide journey.
Composer Savvas Karantzias:
I particularly welcome the beginning of my collaboration with Donemus Publishing House for the publication of my two works ‘’Theophanes the Greek’’ and ‘’Andrei Rublev’’. My special thanks to Davo van Peursen, as well as to Musicentry for their valuable support and representation.
Davo van Peursen:
We are impressed by the strong musical language of Savvas Karantzias. His oratorio “Theophanes the Greek” is an impressive composition with past performances at important venues. Donemus is looking forward to cooperating with him and with Muscentry to gain more attention to his oeuvre.
Isidora Žebeljan’s Zujte strune (Hum away, hum away, strings!): Metamorphosis to themes from Mozart’s opera ‘The Magic Flute’ for symphony orchestra will be released by Donemus Records on April 5th…
“Zujte strune” has been recorded by the Moravská filharmonie Olomouc, conducted by Tomáš Netopil. Written in 2013, this work was commissioned by Bregenzer Festspiele and dedicated to Sir David Pountney. The Pre-Save and Pre-Add are available now.
On platforms like Primephonic and Tidal, the recording comes with the score to read along.
Donemus is excited to announce that Belgian composer Jeroen D’hoe is joining Donemus Publishing. His large oeuvre contains symphonies, concertos, an oratorio, a number of chamber music works, solo works, as well as many vocal works. Reaching beyond conventional forms, Jeroen also composes soundscapes and sound installations. His works will soon become available at Donemus…
Jeroen D’hoe: Donemus inspires me as a composer with its pro-active approach and international appeal. With its rich tradition and future-oriented online platform, this publishing house is the ideal partner to reach the best musicians, ensembles and orchestras. I am very much looking forward to our cooperation!
Davo van Peursen: We are very honored to have Jeroen D’hoe signing with Donemus. With his strong musical language and his superior composing skills, he is one of the most remarkable Belgian composers. We will treasure his compositions and work together with him to find new opportunities for performances. His works certainly deserve a larger audience.
Jeroen D’hoe (1968) is a prolific composer, pianist and musicologist, who engages in various dialogues with other musical styles and other art disciplines, usually commissioned by orchestras, ensembles, festivals and museums. He received a DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) and Master of Music in composition with John Corigliano from The Juilliard School (New York), in addition to Masters in composition (Piet Swerts) and piano (Johan Lybeert and Alan Weiss) at LUCA School of Arts, Campus Lemmens (Leuven) and a Master in Musicology (KU Leuven). Jeroen D’hoe won the National Composition Competition of Queen Elisabeth (2003), the SABAM Prize for Composition (2003) with Toccata-Scherzo, and the Composition Competition of the Province of Flemish Brabant (2002) with Festival Anthem. He received the “Golden Poppy” Award (SABAM) for his oeuvre in the classical composition category (2008).
Jeroen D’hoe’s idiom essentially consists of two components: on the one hand, he draws inspiration from the compositional innovations that composers have implemented in recent decades, and on the other, there is a strong connection with tradition. He also feels a great affinity with twentieth-century composers such as Charles Ives, Aaron Copland, Witold Lutoslawski, György Ligeti and John Corigliano. His roots are generally in the large symphonic repertoire with its direct expressiveness. In addition, Jeroen D’hoe mentions the great importance of his training as a musicologist and the research work that followed. They are as essential as his purely musical training. He states that a historical, aesthetic and analytical perspective – from musicology – provides a necessary background for composition. He therefore strives for an ideal interaction between the artistic and the scientific.
Climate change is a fact and it is sending out clear signals calling for action. Government leaders and heads of state meet every so often but rarely produce satisfactory results. In the face of such a global problem, can personal commitment make a difference? A scientist, an activist, an environmentalist and composer Saskia Venegas will debate this, moderated by Klara presenter Sander De Keere…
The voice of science will be heard by Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, professor at UCLouvain and Belgium’s best-known climate scientist. His book In het oog van de klimaatstorm (In the eye of the climate storm) offers a look behind the scenes of major international climate conferences. The second speaker is the Spanish-Belgian composer, violinist and music theatre artist Saskia Venegas Aernouts. Among other projects, she has composed music for Milo Rau’s socially engaged theatre. To what extent is her work influenced by issues such as climate change? The third person to take part in the debate was delegated by Extinction Rebellion. Eka van Baaren has been active in the Belgian branch of this radical environmental movement since 2018. The debate will be opened by violist Rhea Vanhellemont, one of the laureates of SUPERNOVA 2020 with the Desguin Quartet, who will perform Premonición (Premonition) by Saskia Venegas Aernouts.
Premonición is a programmatic piece that depicts the emotional struggle of a person confronted with a painful life situation: the death of a loved one. Something inside her tells her that there will be no solution, and although not all possibilities of a cure have been ruled out, she feels that the end is already near. The fear of loss, the fear of death is unbearable and she does everything she can to create some hope.
The composition is characterised by contrasting textures that interrupt each other as a metaphor for the inner conflict that arises when we try to silence our instincts in order not to look the future in the eye. Woven into the structure of the piece, we hear fragments of the first part of a lullaby that reflects the character’s love and care for the person she is about to lose. These caring feelings are interrupted with outbursts of pain, anger, fear and hopelessness. One emotion leads to another, and although they are extreme and antagonistic, they are all intertwined.
The composition was originally written for violin and later, on the occasion of the Peter Benoit Fund Autumn Concert 2020, arranged for viola.
The debate takes place on Tuesday, March 16 at 19h and can be attended online.
Rick van Veldhuizen (1994) wrote unde imber et ignes at the behest of Manoj Kamps, the conductor of the 2020 tour of the Nederlands Studenten Orkest. The brief was to write a piece for soprano and orchestra to be featured among the behemoths that are Richard Wagner’s ‘Vorspiel und Liebestod’ and Igor Stravinsky’s ‘Le Sacre du Printemps’, with the theme of this intense evening – fittingly – being ‘ecstasy’…
In close collaboration with conductor Manoj Kamps and soloist Katharine Dain, unde imber et ignes came into existence. The piece, on an original text by the composer, describes the mutual sexual yearning of the orchestra and the soloist, who engage in a courtship over the span of the piece. The soloist does not sing from a female perspective, but rather embodies a dark, universal undercurrent within human sexuality that is neither male nor female.
Some orchestra members start out in the hall, playing unusual percussion instruments such as rubber gloves, chains and duct tape or instrumental musique concrète, and the first song does not start until the orchestra is complete on stage. At that point, a titillating game starts between the vocal lines and the orchestra, who first assert themselves and in the end merge, ecstatically, into one mutant being.
During the ten days of rehearsal, a theatrical concept came together with input from the conductor, the soloist, the composer, and the orchestra itself. It involved a gradual change of appearance and costume for the orchestra and soloist to ‘merge’ not only musically but visually and viscerally.
As usual, Van Veldhuizen employs microtonal just intonation within an almost uncomfortably tonal framework, which renders the music both gutsy and elusive, and uses colourful and experimental instrumentation techniques.
‘I am beyond thankful to have worked so intensively with Manoj and Katharine – who apart from astounding musicians are wonderful human beings – as well as getting to know all the individual, talented members of the Nederlands Studenten Orkest. Together, and truly collaboratively, we put together more than a concert: it was an experience. It is an honour to have this visceral fantasy sung, acted and embodied so well.’
‘The evening’s stunner was Van Veldhuizen’s unde imber et ignes, who had indulged in the huge orchestra at his disposal. The ambitious and overflowing piece explored a myriad of effects: spatial placement in the hall, unorthodox percussion, massive tutti, beautifully elaborate soundscapes. In boisterous and somewhat bombastic lyrics the piece sang of sexuality beyond the norm, in a kind of theatrical courtship between orchestra and soprano Dain. Van Veldhuizen’s sonic imagination was fantastic, with a trio for metal tub, chain and water as a highlight.’
‘In the new, daring and successful piece by Rick van Veldhuizen [soprano Katharine Dain and conductor Manoj Kamps] were also in excellent form.’
Composer Chiel Meijering has written seven Albums for Bassoon and Electronics. Donemus has published the first score and released the recording…
Chiel Meijering’s Happy Hours was performed by Vincent Martig during the event “Music for Empry Spaces”, a live stream concert from an empty Main Hall in Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ. This work marked the beginning of a series of compositions for bassoon and electronics. The first of seven Albums for Bassoon and Audio Tracks is now available at Donemus. Both the score and the soundtrack are available in Donemus webshop, so the bassoonists can play along with the audio.
The full recording, with Kathleen McLean on the bassoon, is available on the label Donemus Crossovers at Spotify, Apple Music and many more digital platforms. The score includes a QR code to the digital release. This offers a great opportunity to bassoonists all over the world to listen to the version including the bassoon, as well as to play along themselves with the soundtrack offered with the score.
More Albums are in preparation, also in the version for (soprano and baritone) saxophone, as well as bass clarinet.
Oscar van Dillen wrote 12 Eludes in all key signatures dedicated as a musical offering to Elise van Rosmalen-van Dillen. The score has been published and the audio is released on a number of digital platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify…
The title Elude is derived from the verb to elude = to avoid cunningly or adroitly (Penguin Reference 2001), which has as noun the word elusion. However, the composer chose to create for this music the new noun Elude, in assonance to Prelude and words like it, such as Postlude, Interlude etc. Therefore, as pre-lude means fore-play, inter-lude in-between-play, and post-lude means after-play, thus e-lude means outside-play. This music plays outside of and around tonal, modal and atonal systems, even outside a single style, and enters and leaves such musics at will, never completely bound to each set of formulas and conventions. It is precisely therefore that there are 12, each in its unique key signature, and not 24, as in keys (major and minor set apart), as is the case in similar keyboard collections by Bach, Chopin and Shostakovich. The 12 Eludes each have their own way of playing outside of mode and key, using a simple, technically mostly 2-voice based, setting.
The setting a technically 2-voice mostly, this leaves an open space in harmonic sound, because all redundant tones are left out. The overall sound created by the open intervallic structure of the work as a whole results in a transparent sound and a unique harmony. The contrapuntal score is written in a concise and precise way to achieve this openness and transparency. Moreover, the precise register placement of a wealth of pitches within the time-frame of each phrase, enables several parallel and simultaneous harmonic interpretations. The tonally trained ears may hear various tonal implications, whereas the more modally trained ears will be keener to pick up on some modal suggestions and meanings, all contained in this fully chromatic music. This polysemy is intentional and is what lies behind the original idea of the Eludes in the first place: a common reality for an audience, yet with a truly wide variety of experiences and interpretations, both emotionally and technically.
The score on purpose omits indications of tempo, dynamics, phrasing and pedalling; the performer instead is trusted with all these to decide. Contrary to his custom in his other scores, the composer left this open, feeling that in this particular work a capable individual interpreter’s choices, of course logically based on and connected to the note text itself, should be preferred. This modus operandi allows for a wider variety of possible performances and expressions.
The work was originally conceived for piano, but should with some registration adaptations certainly allow for performance by various keyboard instruments too, such as organ and harpsichord, and beyond that for accordion, and marimba or vibraphone. A piano version realized by the composer was released on streaming media at the time of publishing of this score.
In a certain way, this book consists of two parts: the 7 parts I-VII and then the 5 parts VIII-XII, both parts being of similar duration, even though the second part of this cycle is slightly longer than the first. Thus, for performance purposes also a half cycle can be chosen, as can of course an individual piece.
Donemus is excited to bring the digital release of this wonderful anthology of Dutch keyboard works. This 8-CD box, produced in 2015, soon went out of stock and wasn’t available any longer. The box is now re-released at the label ‘Donemus Musicians’ Voice’. At certain platforms such as Primephonic, the listeners can read the booklet as well. Displayed on 138 pages in Dutch and English, the booklet gives a rich overview on Dutch keyboard music spanning over the last four centuries…
An excerpt from the booklet:
The typical, yet regrettable responses when high-quality Dutch compositions, whether from the near or distant past, are rescued from oblivion are ‘not bad’, or, the epitome of sarcasm: ‘untypically Dutch good’. Such qualifications are a clear indication of the popular belief that this country was musically of little consequence. The absurdity of it is that, in spite of the most wonderful record and CD productions, we still have insufficient knowledge of what we represent, and not just since the last century.
The CD editions with works by Diepenbrock, Keuris, and Schat, the Residentie Orchestra’s record box with 400 years of Dutch music; or the rich catalogues of both Donemus and Attacca, have made unmistakably and ostensibly clear how frequently that so-called un-Dutch level is as Dutch as tulips and windmills. Nonetheless, there are still considerable gaps in the proffered repertoire of records, CDs and the like, as well as in the concert hall. The present edition of 400 years of Dutch keyboard music is, in a veritable relay race of recording premieres, a vast journey of discovery.
The structural neglect of Dutch music has imprinted on the populace a particularly one-dimensional image of its native music history. The holes in the cheese are nearly larger than the cheese that holds them! After Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, whose name is taught by the better schools as the ‘First Great Dutch Composer’ there was a lull of nearly three centuries. Then around 1890, the introverted classicist Alphons Diepenbrock emerged as the Second Grandmaster, praised to high heaven throughout his difficult life with accolades that could never sustain a great man. In the 20th century, the composer’s genealogy hopscotched from Willem Pijper and a bit of Henk Badings to Matthijs Vermeulen, past the Second World War to Rudolf Escher, Ton de Leeuw, Hans Kox, Peter Schat, Jan van Vlijmen, Tristan Keuris, Louis Andriessen, Theo Loevendie, and a handful more of Dutch Masters whose significance only vaguely sinks in.
There is no national family tree, no linear evolution in the Austro-German tradition constructing a line from Bach to Beethoven via Schumann, to Brahms and Schönberg, or by way of a second developmental line from Bach to Beethoven and Wagner to that same Schönberg, channeling the two currents to that one riverbed in which the arts can flow orderly from A to B. Our awareness of historic and stylistic connections between composers and their oeuvres is rudimentary, and composers’ knowledge of their hinterland is so fragmentary, with their orientation to the foreign often so strong, that it has been impossible for a national tradition ever to emerge – one Willem Pijper clone or ‘Haagse school’ does not fill the bill. Dutch orchestras and ensembles seldom perform Pijper, Vermeulen, Schat, or Loevendie, let alone Verhulst, Zweers, or Diepenbrock. In general, a Dutch composer exists only until he breathes his last: of the masters and journeymen who reared their heads in the no-man’s land presumed between Sweelinck and Diepenbrock, we no longer have any inkling. The most auspicious examples have simply become street names near the Concertgebouw: Van Breestraat and Verhulststraat.
It is not surprising that Dutch composers, even the best, are angry: angry at their country and often at each other. In 1911, Matthijs Vermeulen declared, “Dutch composers, thou art worth no more than simple organ-grinders – thou art the puppets in a Punch and Judy show, old trumpets, dilapidated timpanies.” In 1949, Henriëtte Bosmans writes to that same Vermeulen that ‘the best a Dutch artist has to offer perishes if he stays in Holland, where he is denied possibilities, where he is renounced, where others try to convince the audience to deny his existence.’ That is the disadvantage of being a ‘village’. Everyone is mad at everyone else, and it’s always the neighbor’s fault. After all, how could your next door neighbor possibly be so great?
If this is the situation regarding concert music, how difficult must it be for the keyboard department? The organ repertoire can still rely on the church, but the fate of Dutch harpsichord and piano music is lamentable. Up and until the 18th century, it functioned as salon music but once concert hall music comes into existence in the 19th century, Dutch solo repertoire became second choice. In piano recitals both before and after the Liszt era, the master pianists played Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, and their own compositions, but no obscure Dutch fare, unless they themselves happen to be composers. Rival concert pianists such as Leander Schlegel and the virtuoso Dirk Schäfer could prove their own composing talents in the concert hall, but after their deaths, their names sunk into oblivion even though they should be household words today.
Illustrative for the situation is that for pianist Jacob Bogaart, the initiator of this edition of four centuries of Dutch keyboard music, collecting the repertoire was an archeological exercise that, notwithstanding a number of lengthy intervals, kept him out of mischief for three decades. The bulk of the material that he wrested from the claws of obscurity lay blanketed with dust, but what he excavated from libraries and archives is the concealed history of a music culture with no significant evolutionary gaps. There was indeed life after Sweelinck; there was Dutch baroque music for keyboard instruments, classicists who composed sonatas, and romanticism of a certain specific gravity. These outweigh the endless parade of followers whom Eduard Reeser in his book Een eeuw Nederlandse muziek (A century of Dutch music, ed.) spurns with a disparaging shake of the head, bestowing restrained clemency on the one rare bird that dared soar above the rest.
But how important exactly is this insight? Well actually, as important as the music itself of course, which in many cases is of a decent caliber. But even a repertoire of a less exalted quality can have a specific charm. Van Bree’s competently created salon compositions reveal an upright citizen’s contentment which is as sociologically interesting as an audible complement to Hildebrand’s Camera Obscura. This was art from the Dutch middle class of 1830: contented, slightly fawning, not too complex. His Fantaisie is a Dutch image of the era, making it fascinating material by mere dint of its existence.
The relatively low threshold character of a keyboard instrument as a means for expressing oneself makes the keyboard literature an interesting hunting ground for any anthologist searching for hidden treasures. The road from dream to reality is an obvious one. Those keys lie there waiting, unhampered by any instrumental technique required to make them resonate if one were so inclined, and without the length of a symphony which exceeds the arm’s-length of inspiration. It is practically an identical conversion from resonance to structure. In this domain, even the lesser master has a great chance of shaking off his shackles. Listen to the wondrously feathery fugue from Reincken, a brief miracle, a stone age Mendelssohn. Bogaart says, “I’ve seen other works of his….they don’t even come close.” But the greatest treasures in this edition are more than a single highlight; there is nothing diminutive about Leander Schlegel’s Der arme Peter or the glowing Sonate Inaugurale from Dirk Schäfer, who effortlessly maintains the same high level in his Acht klavierstukken and in his Interludes. These were men with literally, an enormous grasp.
This unique keyboard project of Jacob Bogaart’s had its origin in 1980, when he was approached by Sieuwert Verster, for an exposition of art from circa 1900. Sieuwert Verster is a programmer and arts entrepreneur and the founder of Attacca Records and also managing and artistic director of the Orchestra of the 18th Century. “The question was whether I knew of any suitable music for that program.” Joint research in ‘Het Gemeentemuseum’ (the Municipal Museum, ed.) in The Hague revealed stacks of photocopies of unusual discoveries and led to a record with works by Dirk Schäfer, Leander Schlegel, Alphons Diepenbrock, and Jan Brandts Buys. Edu Verhulst, head of the classical music department of the Dutch Broadcasting Company at the time, subsequently asked whether Bogaart would like to record Henriëtte Bosmans’ Concertino, after which Schäfer’s Klavier Quintet was also recorded in the Dutch broadcasting capital, Hilversum.
At the beginning of the 90’s, the NCRV radio network finally suggested a series of programs dedicated to Dutch music. Together with musicologist Leo Samama and a number of piano colleagues, Bogaart compiled and recorded a series of broadcasts of Dutch keyboard music from the early 19th century up through the present time.
After that, he was more or less forced to continue his quest on his own. After more than thirty years, at the end of the odyssey, there are more than hundred twelve compositions from fifty composers, from Sweelinck to Hamburger, slightly more than had been foreseen, immortalized on eight CDs. Originally, Bogaart could only resort to his recordings and those of the NCRV radio. “The rest”, as he calls it with cardinal understatement, “I’ve been collecting over a period of about eight years”, and on his conditions. “I wanted to compile my own anthology of music from all the eras in which the keyboard – harpsichord, organ or piano – played a role.” He had no specific objective insight as the final goal, having not even considered a CD-edition at first. “But it kept taking on more serious form and finally someone said, ‘this is turning into something extremely interesting.’” At that point in time, there was enough material for five CDs. “But then there was too much missing from the 18th century, and I felt I should reserve an entire CD just for the harpsichord and organ music from the 16th and 17th centuries, even though I had no idea what was still to be discovered in that area. After a lengthy search with the help of Frits Zwart from the Dutch Music Institute, the Music Library of the Broadcasting Company, and two organist friends, we indeed found music that had never been recorded, among others, pieces by Georg Berff and Gisbert Steenwick.”
At the outset, a complete edition was not the goal. Criteria of quality, taking into account all the whims of personal taste, weighed heavier than historiographic motives. Bogaart does not wish to be the champion of the untenable. For example, he recorded only the excellent first movement of Gerrit Jan van Eijken’s Sonata, as he felt the other movements were so inferior to the level attained in the first movement, that the memory of van Eijken would be tainted. “I certainly don’t prefer it, but I feel it’s justified.” Diepenbrock’s short, but an only piece for piano, his character piece Avondschemer (Twilight, ed.) is not on an even par with his songs, but it is still a Diepenbrock, “so it deserves to have relatively more attention paid to it.”
Bogaart did not wish to lay a cordon sanitaire around the German immigrants who began to take the national stage starting in the 18th century. Excluding someone like Wilms would in fact be a historical blunder, considering that the composer from Witshelden wrote Wien Neêrlands Bloed, Holland’s national anthem from 1817 to 1932.
Moreover, he performs all the pieces, including the earliest ones on piano, although in a number of instances in which no instrument is indicated, he could have had recourse to the organ or harpsichord, instruments on which he is equally accomplished. Though opinions may differ as to the legitimacy thereof, he allows himself the freedom of choice.
Bogaart emphasizes that it is not a scientifically-supported anthology. He navigated through the centuries on intuition, ‘his own parameters’, judging his discoveries by their particular added value, his affinity to the piece, and a certain sense of justice. “Does it do anything to me, can this be of any use to me? Do I have anything to add to it? Has it been played before? Then I probably will not play it, although I have not always been completely consistent.” In addition, Bogaart has obtained diversity by alternating larger and smaller forms, with shorter pieces next to longer ones, Nocturnes and Mazurkas next to Sonatas. Thus we have as a result a grand cultural deed of personal merit, a battle-cry to combat the culture of forgetting.