Klavier & Orchester / Streichorchester

(21.02.1836 Copenhagen – 18. July 1898 Copenhagen)

Preface

Siegfried Wagner, Franz Xaver Mozart, Axel Gade – all these names are examples of composers who fall into the unloved category of „children of musical geniuses“. Among them is the Danish composer Emil Hartmann. As the son of Johann Peter Emilius Hartmann (1805-1900), he was always only „the son of the great Hartmann“ in his home country and could hardly hold his own against the powerful shadow of his father. From 1830 until his death in 1900, his father was, along with Niels Wilhelm Gade, Denmark‘s leading composer and made a lasting contribution to the „national tone“ of Danish art music. Under these circumstances, it was extremely difficult for the son Emil Hartmann to secure a place in the domestic concert scene. This was not at all necessary, because in Germany Emil Hartmann was frenetically celebrated. His works conquered the German musical capitals and made him the most popular Danish composer there next to Niels W. Gade. Nevertheless, the shadow of his father, under which he saw the „light of day“ in 1836, made him all his life think with sorrow of his Danish homeland, where he was denied any individuality and a personal style. However, this does not correspond to the facts, which can easily be verified by his Nordic-influenced works with Mendelssohnian influence. …

Piano Reduction also available > HERE

(b. Modlin, Poland, 20 April 1881 – d. Moscow, 8 August 1950)

Preface
Nearly every detail about Nikolai Myaskovsky contradicts common assumptions about the development of musical talent, cultural life in the Soviet Union, and the historical reception of now-forgotten composers. For example, Myaskovsky was born into a family of professional soldiers, yet his father supported Myaskovsky’s desire to study music. After the Russian Revolution, Myaskovsky remained an individualist in outlook and teaching style, regarded as “the musical conscience of Moscow,” yet he worked largely unmolested by the Soviet authorities until the 1948 Zhdanov decree. Finally, though a little-known figure today, Myaskovsky achieved an international reputation during the interwar period, including commissions and consistent performances of his works throughout the West. His life and works are a study in contrasts, with personal tragedy offset by professional success and intense emotional expression guided by respect for formal principles.

Nikolai Yakovlevich Myaskovsky was born at the Novo-Georgievsk fortress near the town of Modlin, in modern-day Poland. His father, Yakov Konstantinovich, was a military engineer, himself the son of a professional soldier who had taught at the Cadet College in Orel. Even Myaskovsky’s maternal grandfather served as supervisor at a military school in Nizhniy-Novgorod. Despite this martial tradition, the Myaskovsky family was cultured, often performing music in the home. Myaskovsky’s father sang while his mother played the piano; Myaskovsky himself would later play chamber music with his sisters Vera (b. 1885), Valentina (b. 1886), and Yevgeniya (b. 1890). …

Oper

(b. Liège, 11 February 1741 – d. Montmorency, 24 September 1813)

Preface
André Ernest Modeste Grétry was born February 11 1741, in Liège, part of the French speaking Wallonia region in Belgium. He eventually gained French citizenship and died in 1813 at the Hermitage, formerly the house of Rousseau, in Montmorency, France, after a long and successful career as an opera composer whose works remained popular from the 1770s into the early 19th century.

Grétry received his earliest musical training as a choirboy at the church of St Denis in Liège, where his father worked as a violinist. Grétry showed promise at a young age and was provided with composition and counterpoint lessons with local musicians. It was during this time he was exposed to Italian opera, which inspired Grétry and motivate him to pursue his musical studies in Italy. In 1759 he was awarded a place at the Collège de Liège in Rome, where he studied with Giovanni Battista Casali. Grétry composed his first opera, La vendemmiatrice, a well-received intermezzo prepared for the 1765 Carnival and performed at the Aliberti theatre in Rome. Grétry moved to Geneva in 1766, where he had the opportunity to meet Voltaire and compose his first opéra comique, Isabelle et Gertrude. At this point, Grétry had found his niche and continued to compose opéra comique for the duration of his lifetime.

Grétry arrived in Paris in 1767 and eventually gained the patronage of the Swedish Count of Creutz, who supported the production of his first opera, Le Huron in 1768. Grétry’s first six Parisian operas were the results of a partnership with the well-known writer Jean François Marmontel. The operas were wildly successful and established Grétry as a prominent and popular composer in Paris. His name continued to grow as he produced more successful operas and Marie Antoinette appointed him her director of music in 1774, so that he became known in musical circles across the European continent. The Belgian government awarded Grétry with multiple honors, and the Grand Théâtre in Brussels obtained the rights to many of his works. Grétry composed over 50 operas over his career, and although he continued to compose up to the 19th century, Zémire et Azor (1771) and Richard Coeur-de-lion (1784) are considered Grétry’s finest operas. …

Vocal score also available > HERE

Gesang & Klavier

(Merchtem, 9th May 1865 – 9th October 1937)

August De Boeck was one of Belgium’s leading composers in the first half of the last century. He became well-known with, among other works, five operas, including Winternachtsdroom (1902), Reinaert de Vos (1907-09) and La Route d’Émeraude (1913-1920). Furthermore he composed a number of brilliant symphonic works, cantatas, religious music, songs and a series of works for various instruments.

In De Boeck’s oeuvre his songs to French poems occupy a prominent place. They were written over a period of almost half a century, between 1889 and 1937. In these songs De Boeck succeeds in evoking deep emotions with an infallible melodic intuition and very personal harmonies. With simple means he sometimes achieves sublime results; an example of this is his song L’Église paysanne, which mostly became famous in a Dutch version by Maurits Sabbe. For a number of songs, such as the Cuisinier-songs, the Stances à Marylyse, La dernière lettre or the compelling C’est en toi, bien-aimé, he wrote beautifully detailed piano accompaniments. Yet one can tell that De Boeck was first and foremost an organist. This is evident, for instance, from the way he treats basses (sequences of octaves in Le Passant), or from the use of series of lying chords (in CrépusculeOn s’en allait dans la forêt, etc.). As a pupil of his friend Paul Gilson, De Boeck was above all a masterful orchestrator. Both had personal contacts with Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, who greatly appreciated their orchestral works. The colourful orchestral accompaniments De Boeck made for a number of his songs clearly illustrate this.

In the choice of his poets De Boeck was not always very selective. He was only inspired by well- established poets on a few occasions, such as Alfred de Musset, Pierre Louÿs, François Coppée or Charles Van Lerberghe. The poems by the promising Émile Polak, who died young, were a lucky choice. It is no coincidence that De Boeck has set music to a few poems from Polak’s collection Les Sentiers du Silence, singing the praises of the purity and fragility of the children’s world. But mostly it was largely forgotten poets who provided him with the verses. For example, poems written in wartime by women poets who are now completely forgotten (Marie-Jeanne Huysmans and Nicole Raymond Hubert) moved him to write two poignant songs (Frissons de fleursPetite église de campagne). But it is above all seven songs to texts by Jeanne Cuisinier that are the high point of his song oeuvre. Around her twentieth birthday, this later world-famous ethnologist wrote a series of poems that reflect a hopeless love. Here, De Boeck’s music is highly charged, with a tragic or resigned undertone. …

Performance score without critical report is also available > HERE

Critical report without performance score is also available  > HERE

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