On May 14th Donemus Records and the Hamburg label Medienkontor will release a new CD with piano works for four hands of Dick Kattenburg, performed by Piano Duo Friederike Haufe Volker Ahmels…
It is one of those rare coincidences that are needed to discover treasures – in this case, it is the journey of a Hamburg piano duo to Israel. After intensive encounters with surviving musicians, Friederike Haufe and Volker Ahmels begin to campaign for music that has been ostracised and to make the forgotten work of Jewish composers heard again. One of them is Dick Kattenburg, who was murdered in the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944. The Dutchman was only 24 years old. But he left behind an astonishing body of work for such a young composer.
The new recording of the ten pieces for piano four hands (including three first recordings) will be released on 14 May 2021 by the Hamburg label Medienkontor on the CD ‘Stolen melodies‘, and by Donemus Records on Spotify, Apple Music, etc, The Hamburg piano duo Friederike Haufe and Volker Ahmels helped a lot on the final edition of these works that will soon be published by Donemus. They compared the manuscript pages with the first draft edition. With this new edition, the duo would like to arouse the curiosity of pianists about the ‘Master of Melodies’ as well as the interest of young musicians in the diversity of music before the Second World War. The extensive project was realized in cooperation with the Centre for Ostracised Music at the Rostock University of Music, where the recordings were also made.
How did the revision of the pieces for piano four-hands come about?
Friederike Haufe: We have been playing Dick Kattenburg’s piano pieces as a duo for several years now and often wondered about some of the discordant turns of phrase and inconsistencies that did not fit in with the Dick Kattenburg we love so much musically. So, in preparation for the concert, we took the original manuscripts and began to compare them.
Were there any interesting new insights into Kattenburg’s piano work?
Friederike Haufe: In the new edition, we recognized and brought out the suite as a work conceived in three movements. In the first edition, it was presented as 3 individual pieces. We were able to classify the extra birthday copy for his mother’s 50th birthday as the final version of the 3rd movement. This “song without words” was previously assumed to exist in 2 versions.
Volker Ahmels: The additional choreography of Uwe Meusel’s “Tap Dance” offered in the new edition of sheet music will make it possible in the future for any dancer who is able to read tap notation to dance exactly the rhythms that Kattenburg wanted without having to create their own additional choreography.
What makes Dick Kattenburg’s music so special for you?
Friederike Haufe: Quite clearly! His melodies! Mostly of great simplicity and compelling in their sequence of notes, they hit straight to the heart.
Volker Ahmels: His remarkable talent for combining stylistic elements from classical music and jazz. Although he orientated himself to the spirit of the time, he is particularly sensitive on the road.