In cooperation with DOCU Muziekproductie of Okke Dijkhuizen, Donemus released ‘Cor de Groot – Piano’. This album contains works by Dutch composers and is inspired by old Christmas songs…
Cor de Groot (1914-1993) studied at the Amsterdam Conservatory with Ulfert Schults (piano) and Sem Dresden (composition). He graduated cum laude with a performance of his own piano concerto. The success of his first recitals soon led to invitations from the Concertgebouw Orchestra and other Dutch orchestras. In 1936, together with Emil Gilels and Yakov Flière, he was one of the winners of the International piano competition in Vienna, the first step towards a career that brought him to the most renowned concert halls in the world.
In the 1950s, Cor de Groot made several dozen LPs for HMV, Philips and RCA, including Beethoven’s five piano concertos. He was also a regular member of the jury of important European piano competitions. In 1959, a nervous disorder in his right hand prevented him from playing the piano. A year later he continued playing with his left hand, pursued a new interest and became a music director with the broadcasting company. He stopped playing the big concert stages, even after his right hand had healed. Instead, he made a wealth of radio recordings, rediscovered and recorded a large amount of unknown repertoire and tracked down historical recordings. Cor de Groot has always been strongly committed to the work of contemporary Dutch composers and was awarded the Johan Wagenaar Prize for his work.
In 1986 and 1987 Cor de Groot recorded for radio a selection of predominantly short pieces by Dutch composers, in some cases based on Christmas carols. In these miniatures we hear the inimitable piano playing of Cor de Groot, a combination of subtlety, lyricism, power and intensity. He used his own arrangement of Silent Night as the opening and completion of the programme. Cor de Groot reflected on the programme with the words: ‘Christmas carols have been used in some of the works, familiar and less familiar. Not complete everywhere, but recognisable’.