Artistically, for the last three centuries, Holland has been more famous for its painters than its composers. While other countries, such as Germany, France and Italy, have given the world some of the most influential musicians ever, Holland has found it very difficult to emerge from the dominance of its larger neighbours. The reason may lie in the independence Dutch music has maintained over the centuries, and this may have caused this lamentable and most undeserving neglect. The last three decades have witnessed a renewed interest in Dutch music, and many recording houses have dedicated several issues to a healthy number of fine Dutch composers, especially those emanating from the last 150 years.
This fourth volume from MD&G's Audiomax cycle dedicated to Dutch Cello Sonatas is a gem, and incorporates works by three top-quality composers who were active around the turn of the last century, composers who had the courage to set out on a new path and forge a new language.
Dirk Schäfer (1873-1931) premièred his Cello Sonata, Op. 13 in 1909. In three traditional movements, this work does not discard the romantic spirit, but with its rich polyphony and powerful forward drive it is also hinting at the future.
The Sonata by Henriëtte Bosmans (1895-1952) premièred ten years later also thrives on the romantic tradition, but the gripping rhythmic structures that were to become a feature of her later work are also amply evident.
Gérard Hekking's (1879-1942) three character pieces complete a disc full of surprising ideas and original musical twists.
Both soloists perform with unbridled zeal and exemplary precision, and their passionate enthusiasm for this repertoire is a cause for constant admiration. This is a splendid addition to this cycle in top-notch sound and presentation.
Copyright © 2011, Gerald Fenech