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Newsletter May 2020Read the online newsletter in your webbrowser




NachtegaalFrom C tot c minor

The Coronavirus, written with a capital C, is spoiling our daily lives. But what if we could just trim it down? To c minor, that is. Here, the one and only Concertzender is coming to the rescue of virologists, epidemiologists and the Outbreak Management Team (OMT).

Several people who work for the Concertzender, and a guest, are going to tell you about their favourite pieces in C minor. In this well-composed May edition, we also pay a lot of attention to jazz, ranging from Miles to Van der Molen. Our composer of the month is Marius Flothuis, and we added a new column in which musicians look ahead to the time when they can fully shine on the stage again.

See you next month!



on demand

Theme: Classical Music



In C: Sem de Jongh

Schubert“Ever since I was 19, I have loved Schubert’s Piano Sonata no. 21 in C minor, D 958.

When I was at the conservatory, we had to analyse the first and second part of it. Harmony, structure, the lot. It took us weeks, and so I had plenty of time to fall in love with this piece, a love that has never ceased. In music, the power of repetition plays a major role. This piece is still giving me as much energy a s it gave me in my Sturm-und-Drang period at the conservatory. The Concertzender broadcasted this tempestuous sonata in December 2017.”

Listen to a live performance in museum Hermitage Amsterdam.

Sem de Jongh is Managing Director at the Concertzender


on demand

Theme: Classical Music



In C: a life at two paces

RachmaninovWe live our lives fast and slow at the same time. Every day, we are confronted with new facts, statistics, dramas and stories about a disease that is trying to outdo us, and at the same time life has almost come to a standstill. If we go out at all, it is with caution, two persons at the time, and at a distance.

Rachmaninov’s prelude in C minor, opus 23 no. 7 is a piece in two tempos. It is like a furtive procession, solemn and steady as a chorale, against a tempestuous background. Theoretically, it is a jewel that was composed around two chromatic sequences, both chromatic by nature also. However, what is the use of theory and chromaticism these days?

Chroma means colour, and that is what is happening right now. The world is being coloured and hurt and is raging on and on, while it is just as much introverted, striding on and carefully touching (why do we talk about striking instead of touching keys?), and finally ending – while there is life, there is hope – in major. Here, Nikolai Lugansky plays it fabulously, a life in just two minutes. However, the most gripping interpretation of a life at two paces is the performance by Howard Shelley.

Koen Croese is the editor-in-chief of the Concertzender’s newsletter, a presenter and a substitute technician.


Daily as of Friday 1 May 2020

Theme: Contemporary Music

Composer of the month: Marius Flothuis

In May, Marius Flothuis will be our composer of the month. For a long time, Marius Flothuis (1914-2001) was the eminence grise of the Dutch music scene. Marius FlothuisAround 1937, he became known as a composer, musicologist and as the assistant leader of the Dutch Concertgebouworkest. He had to give up this latter position in 1942, when he refused to collaborate with the Nazis.

He was organising underground concerts, was betrayed and imprisoned, firstly in Vught and later he was deported to Germany. Sonata da camera for flute and piano is one of the pieces he composed in captivity. It is a work that is unmarked by the conditions in which it was created. Marius Flothuis called it “a counterbalance to all the ugliness that is surrounding me”. He believed that all art, not only music, illustrated the power of creativity, especially in the darkest periods.

In 1955, Marius Flothuis became the artistic leader of the Concertgebouworkest, a position he fulfilled up to 1974. Two years later, in 1957, he was asked to compose an orchestral work by the principal conductor Eduard van Beinum. A request that resulted in his work Symphonic music, which was frequently performed in the following years. The music exudes all Flothuis stands for: it is tonal with both impressionistic and expressionistic accents, it is concise, well-structured and elegant. During the 1980s, his music style was changing; he was experimenting more freely with the elements of his style.

Read more


on demand

Theme: Classical Music


In C: Niklaas Hoekstra

Mozart“I love many compositions in C minor: Beethoven’s last piano sonata (with the earliest ‘boogie-woogie’), Schubert’s first Impromptu (D899) or Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, especially its first part. However, Mozart’s Mass in C minor (also known as the Grosse Messe or Great Mass) is closest to my heart.

For me, Mozart’s compositions in minor always strike the right chord (his Fantasy in C minor for piano, Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor and, of course, the Requiem). The Great Mass is very special to me, because we listen to it each year on Christmas Eve, while making a Bundt cake in our kitchen for breakfast the next morning. We love the performance by the English Baroque Soloists and the Monteverdi Choir led by John Elliot Gardiner. The opening chords of the Kyrie always give me goose bumps. The voices of soprano Sylvia McNair and mezzo-soprano Diana Montague, which curl around each other beautifully in the Domine Deus of the Gloria, are also highlights of this performance.”

On the website of the Concertzender, you can find a performance of the mass by Concentus Musicus Wien led by Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

Niklaas Hoekstra is a programme maker and a presenter.




Theme: Jazz


Tune in with Ellister van der Molen

Ellister van der MolenJazz musician Ellister van der Molen is a trumpetist and – it is an existing word! – a flugelhornist. In November 2020, she will release a new album that is inspired by New Orleans. Besides Ellister, the band RED also consists of Hammond organist Bob Wijnen, tenor-saxophonist Gideon Tazelaar and Wouter Kühne on drums.

For their second album (an audiophile production), they arranged ten pieces that have a connection with New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz. So, it is existing repertoire in which old and new coincide. Ellister said: “This project made me use the plunger – you know that thing that you use in your bathroom – more frequently. It produces a ‘wah-wah’ effect, which is enhanced if you use your throat for distortion. It makes the music feel both raw and human at the same time. Exactly expressing what we are going through right now.”

What can we expect when performing with an audience is allowed again?
“We will just have to wait and see what the effect will be of keeping a safe distance at concerts. Maybe I am going to play together with just Bob more often. In these past few weeks, we have already given many balcony concerts together. Playing in courtyards, while the audience is leaning over the railings. Great fun to do! But we hope we can perform with the four of us as RED again soon, and to a packed audience. Nothing really beats the interaction of a band, because jazz music is all about catching the moment and interacting with each other. It is fantastic to be performing together on a stage that is too small and forget about everything else.”

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Theme: Jazz


Chet BakerIn C: Ellister van der Molen

“It is quite a task finding C minor tracks within the jazz repertoire. Still, the track that first came to mind – The Thrill is Gone – remains top of my list.

Even if it was only because of the lovely performance by Chet Baker. It is also a very subtle piece: you can tell from all the tiny signals that he or she has lost all interest in you. A lovely shameless wallow in your emotions!”

Ellister van der Molen is a jazz musician and plays trumpet and flugelhorn.

Want know what she sounds like? Go and Check her out!



on demand

Theme: Classical Music


Gabriel FauréIn C: Emanuel Overbeeke

“My favourite C minor work is the First Piano Quartet opus 15 by Gabriel Fauré (1879). This work combines in amazing fashion qualities which in theory should not be compatible: German structure and French elegance, an obvious feeling for direction yet with a feeling for colour, minor and major, continually in motion and strong melodies.

The result? A new entity, one of separate expression, short and powerful gestures, serenity and rebellion, clarity and sophistication. I doubt if I shall ever realise my dream of performing it. I talked to the pianist after one performance who explained that is was difficult to find string players for it because they felt that Faure had not really done justice to them in their parts. Maybe that is why in my favourite performances it is mostly the pianists I remember: Long, Casadesus and especially Rubinstein, all of them very structurally oriented power generators.”

The Concertzender broadcast this piece in 2015, when Fauré was Composer of the Month.

Emanuel Overbeeke is a programme maker and publicist.


Saturdays 9, 23 en 30 May 2020

Theme: Jazz


Jazz Live

Normally there are two Live Jazz episodes per month on the Concertzender. But because there are five Saturdays in May this year, there is an extra episode. Lucky you!

Here’s the menu
The first programme (9 May) will be live recordings from Dutch jazz podia. On 23 May, the second episode will be live recordings from the enormous choice on CD. During the special extra episode on 30 May we will be broadcasting concerts we recorded in Club 9, TivoliVredenburg.

Miles Davis door het JOCMiles in May
Now the contents. On 9 May the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw (JOC) played in Hertz, TivoliVredenburg a retrospective of two concerts Miles Davis gave in the Concertgebouw in 1960. That was the last time that Davis played in Amsterdam with John Coltrane. Coltrane was about to form his own quartet, with which he was very successful between 1961 and 1963.

On 15 October Davis played with Sonny Stitt, a different cup of tea to Coltrane. Miles Davis came back to Amsterdam in 1964 with a brand-new quintet who played Footprints. The JOC plays a tribute.

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Tuesday 5 May 2020

Theme: Classical Music


In C: Thijs Bonger

BeethovenIt may be hard to believe but get this: Beethoven was scared of string quartets. Composing for one was known to be a difficult medium, one that forced composers to show their true colours.

It was not till the age of thirty – after extensive lessons and transcribing Haydn’s quartets – that Beethoven felt confident enough to publish six quartets. Many musicologists consider his string trio’s opus 9 (published 3 years earlier) to be practice rounds, devaluing their quality unfairly. And we would love to convince you otherwise.

Composing a string trio is nearly as difficult as a quartet. It is difficult not to make one sound ‘dull and flat’. And then there is the fact that at the end of the 18th century, string trios had just been invented so there was less pressure on composers. This might have informed Beethoven’s decision. After he settled in Vienna in 1792, he started following lessons with Salieri and Haydn. He was not too happy with the latter. Haydn and Beethoven did not get along, Meanwhile, Beethoven had been making a name for himself as pianist and composer. He had published his piano trio’s opus 1 and he had been asked to compose dance music for the prestigious artists ball. When Haydn returned to Vienna after his triumphs in London and was offered a welcome concert, Beethoven was asked to perform one of his piano concertos.

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Thijs Bonger is programme maker and radio host.



Theme: Classical Music


Want more C minor still?

If you would like to listen to more songs in C, Emanuel Overbeeke has compiled a list of them! Too great to keep to ourselves, because it is filled with a lot of absolutely amazing works. Take a look for yourself:

Mis in cBach:
Concerto BWV 1060,
Das musikalische Opfer
Passacaglia and Fugue for organ
Cello Suite No.5
The preludes and fugues from the Wohltemperierte Klavier
Fantasia BWV 906
Toccata BWV 911

Fantasia and sonata KV 475 and 457
String Quintet KV 406
Piano Concerto KV 491

Read more


Before 29 May 2020



MOLPrize Draw

A quick note of warning: no cheating on this month’s competition, but the question should not be too difficult to answer:

In which key does Franz Schubert’s Quartettsatz start?

One of the lucky competitors will receive a surprise CD. Send your answers to prize draw before 29 May.




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Editorial Staff:
Koen Croese
David Young
Tim Newman
Ronald Visser

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