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Newsletter April 2020Read the online newsletter in your webbrowser




lenteMusic in turbulent times

‘As the disease spread, the people turned to isolation and told each other stories.’
Who would have thought that after 650 years, this description of the Boccacio’s timeless masterpiece Decameron would sound so eerily familiar? That’s why in this month’s newsletter you’ll find some longer stories.

Dive into African music, read more about a shared female interest of Mozart and Haydn, and join Evert Jan Nagtegaal on his quest to find the Bonn Beethoven grew up in. And if you happen to stumble upon an old picture of Gerrit Isaac van Eijken lying around on the attic floor, we’d be very happy recipients!. For now, we’ve stocked up our studio with cleaning sprays, pop caps, wipes, soap and paper towels, so we can keep the broadcast going. All in the spirit of keeping you off the street as much as we can, especially now. See you next month!



Sunday 12th April 2020

Theme: Classical Music



Dutch romantic song in ‘Die Sanck een lied’

In 1845, Dutch organist Gerrit van Eijken gave a performance with his 13-year old son, who, according to a Dutch music magazine of the time, ‘showed great tonal potential’. 20 years later, that son, Gerrit Isaac (Jan) van Eijken would compose Töne der Liebe, the first Dutch romantic song cycle. Töne der Liebe is a series of 11 songs, with German translations of the Song of Songs, Pieterskerkthat was dedicated to Sophie of Württemberg, king William III’s first wife.

Starting in 1851, Van Eijken went to Leipzig Conservatory, after which he studied with famous musicians such as Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and Robert Schumann. When he returned to Utrecht, he became involved in the local music scene. He became Kapellmeister for the institution that would later become the Utrecht Symphony Orchestra. He also wrote witty and humorous articles for the music magazine Caecilia.

In 1862 Van Eijken applied for the job of Music Director for the city of Utrecht, but he was denied the opportunity. He was gravely disappointed and turned to drink, which in turn led to him being fired from his job as organist at the Pieterskerk. He left Utrecht and eventually emigrated to England.

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1st Tuesday of every month and on demand

Theme: Classical Music



A muse for Haydn and Mozart: Nancy Storace (part II)

by Thijs Bonger

In last month’s newsletter, I started the story about Haydn and Mozart’s shared love for opera diva Nancy, or Anna Storace, an opera star with stunning looks. They both wrote and arranged music for her. For example, a duet from Haydn’s opera Armida, which Mozart arranged for her vocal range.

Nancy StoraceArmida
Operas by Haydn. What’s the chance that you’ll ever see one live? The great thing about this quest is that I keep finding music I’ve never heard before. Haydn wrote Armida in 1783 as his last commission for the Hungarian noble house of Esterhazy. It became his most successful one. The prince loved it and even Haydn was pleased with it. And well deserved considering the fact that it was performed 54 (!) times during Haydn’s lifetime.

But even so, Armida did not keep its repertoire. Like more of Haydn’s operas, the libretto isn’t great. The 1st and 2nd act are static and last a total of 2 hours. They have their moments, but you have to listen closely. The third act, however, is quicker and holds a few surprises. It’s set in an enchanted forest, giving Haydn the opportunity to play with sound like he did in later pieces like Die Jahrenzeiten and Die Schöpfung. And Nancy Storace was the star.

In Vienna
In 1783, the same year Haydn composed Armida, Storace moved to Vienna to join Emperor Joseph II’s new Italian opera company as leading lady. Mozart was not happy with this new development. He was of the mind that there should be more operas in German and so he created Die Entführung aus dem Serail, which premiered in 1782. However, eventually Mozart’s principles were challenged by his wallet.

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Every weekday in 2020

Theme: Classical Music

Looking for Beethoven

On 16 December 2020, we’ll be celebrating ‘der Ludwig’s’ 250th birthday. That’s why this year, The Concertzender will play one hour of Beethoven’s music every weekday. We’ll also interview a Beethoven expert every Monday.

Beethoven ExpressEvert Jan Nagtegaal: “As one of the presenters I get to interview these experts about their specialty within Beethoven’s oeuvre. So far, I’ve learned a lot about Beethoven, about his music, but also about his performance techniques, his instrumental choices and him as a person. And so, I thought it was high time for a pilgrimage to Bonn and Beethoven’s origins.”

1770’s Bonn doesn’t exist anymore; it was wiped out by allied bombs in 1944. Bonn was founded in the 11th century by the Romans and really flourished in the care of the archbishops of Cologne. A few buildings from that time still exist. The enormous palace, built by Elector Joseph Clemens, is now part of the University, the grand park holds a botanical garden that is open to the public.

At the first Beethoven anniversary in 1845 (Beethoven would’ve been 75 if he hadn’t died at age 56 in Vienna), the city of Bonn revealed a large bronze statue. This year, at the 250th anniversary, Bonn is planning a grand celebration to which it hopes to attract lots of people. A lot of money was spend restoring and organizing the city. Exhibitions, concerts and special performances.

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Daily from Wednesday 1st April 2020

Theme: Classical Music


Composer of the month

W.F. BachWilhelm Friedemann Bach, the eldest son of Johann Sebastian, is composer of the month April. He became his father’s apprentice at an early age and proved to have a talent for keyboard instruments. Most of his works that are known today were composed for organ or harpsichord.

In 1731, Wilhelm Friedemann became an organist in Dresden. He combined the forms his father used, such as counterpoint dances, with a French melody style. However, halfway through the 1740s, Wilhelm Friedemann changed position and moved to Halle, where he lived near his father. When his father died in 1750, Wilhelm Friedemann became the administrator of his musical estate.

The last years of Bach’s life weren’t the happiest. He performed as an organist, but held no permanent post and was forced to sell his father’s and his own manuscripts. In 1784, he died in great poverty and fell somewhat out of favour.

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Theme: Concertpodium


Wijnand en HubyConcertzender: world famous in Lyon

On Saturday 21 December 2019, our technician Wijnand de Groot recorded a concert by Christine Ott. When he mentioned that he was there on behalf of the Concertzender, he was greeted in a very friendly way by the sound technician who was travelling with her: “Ah, the Concertzender! What a pleasure to finally meet you!”

This sound technician – a Dutchman who has been living in France for thirty years – works at the conservatory in Lyon where the Concertzender is very well known for its live recordings of Early Music. All well-known musicians in the early music genre can be heard at the Concertzender, and people make full use of that!

That’s me (Wijnand de Groot) on the left and on the right is Huby, the man from Lyon. The photo was taken by Hessel Veldman.



Third Friday of every month

Theme: World Music


African music: Mariama

Every third Friday of the month between 20.00 and 21.00, you can listen to African music compiled by expert Kees Schuil. Time for a chat!

Prince Nico MbargaRadio Rabat
Throughout my childhood, classical music was the only music I knew: Mozart, Telemann and Bach especially. I hated the pop music of those days, until The Beatles came along. However, I was able to tune in to radio Rabat at night and really loved the Arab music that was played there.

Later in life, I got to know other music, including African music. In the late 1960s, African dance groups regularly performed in Dutch theatres; a feast for eyes and ears! Around that time, I also decided not to take a job in the Netherlands, but to go abroad. I picked Africa because of my preference for African music and dance and managed to get a job as a science teacher in Ghana. I took along my LPs, built my own speakers from tropical hardwood, bought even more music and, gradually, it became known that I had both a good music system and an extensive music collection.

Party time
Occasionally, I organised dance parties at my place, on my own or together with the teachers’ team at the school where I worked. At a certain moment, other schools in Kpando, the town in the Volta Region where I worked, asked me to organise dance parties at their schools, and students asked me to come and play in their villages at Christmas and Easter. Oh yes!

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