On February 14th Reinbert de Leeuw passed away. Throughout his life he devoted himself with unbridled dedication to contemporary music. We are losing a great advocate for our composers and their works. Read the personal reflection of Davo van Peursen…
To Reinbert, from Davo:
Shortly after my studies at the Conservatoire in The Hague, I was invited to be one of the four soloists in the work ‘Musik for Tasteninstrumente’ by Maurico Kagel. The orchestra of the conservatory was conducted by you. It was a special experience to play as a young keyboard player under your inspiring leadership in the presence of the composer.
During my time with Donemus I spoke to you regularly in the 1990s when Donemus published a number of arrangements by your hand. At that time we had fascinating conversations about notation of music, the application of conventions and the right approach to accidentals. Your point of view was always to avoid the naturals. Accidentals apply only once, very consistently.
You were closely connected with Donemus. You took care of countless premieres. Bicycle couriers often came to your place with scores of which the ink was still warm. With your lifelong commitment to contemporary music, you were one of our most important ambassadors. We will miss you tremendously.
In recent years we have appreciated you especially as a great composer. I remember the premiere of your ‘Der nächtliche Wanderer’. A breathtaking work conducted by yourself. After that the premiere, the work saw three more performances, including one during the famous Proms in London. On the occasion of the premiere of this work I placed this text on our social media and sent it to you personally in a letter:
Words fail to describe Der nächtliche Wanderer.
Nearly one hour, one block of sound.
A solarium of music, a bath of beauty.
Perfect curves of building and releasing tension.
Revealing all detailed colors of the orchestral palette.
Maestro Reinbert as a craftsman of orchestration,
guiding his musicians to impressive heights.
A rich fountain of notes, yet all useful and effective.
Decades of intense conducting experience
compressed in a high-density monument of music.
Perfection can’t be more perfect.
Thank you, Reinbert,
for sharing so much with us.