Monday, April 8, 2013

Willem van Otterloo : Symphony No 2 (Premiere)

van Otterloo
Jan Willem van Otterloo (27 December 1907 – 27 July 1978) is remembered as a conductor, and especially as a champion of new music, but he was also a composer. His second symphony, which remained incomplete, was completed by his son-in-law, the composer Otto Ketting (and I regret that the link is to the Dutch Wikipedia – nothing in the English one!). Ketting, in fact, worked on his father-in-law's symphony in the period before his own death in 2012.

So the work is in some sense a valediction from both of these two well-loved figures in Dutch musical life. 

The work received its first performance at Vredenburg Leidsche Rijn, on the 6th April 2013, and was broadcast live. 

It's a gritty work, hard-driven outer movements and a sombre slow movement at its centre. While it does manage to find a major chord in its final bars, there is a sense more of defiance than triumph. I have found myself listening to it with a sense that this is more than conductor's music. There is a complex personality underlying the music that makes me curious to know more of his work. 

Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, James Gaffigan

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  1. Thank you. You have some really amazing offerings.

  2. Thank you. This is the only information about this symphony that I could find on the Internet. I agree with you that it is well worth the listening.