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Newsletter November 2020Read the online newsletter in your webbrowser




The Concertzender in November

herfstbladerenRemember the other Donald? As he – Donald Rumsfeld – would have said, this month once again a lot of unkown unknowns on the Concertzender, among the known knows. Which, of course, is personal. But I’ll bet you’re less at home in the fascinating world of the Paraguayan harpists than our programme maker Henk Braaksma. So work on that and do listen to Exitos Musicales.

Our composer of the month is one to remember, too. Guilaume Lekeu, dying before most of us got off child benefit, is a pearl in the crown of Wallonia and Belgium.

Thijs Bonger rounds off his brilliant series about Hayden’s Sun Quartets (talk about established names) and we look forwards to 2022. Then a special concert will take place on the initiative of Utrecht Council, and you can participate.

In the meantime, keep listening to the Concertzender: we’re lockdown proof! See you next month.



Workdays from Thursday 5th November 2020

Theme: Classical Music

Composer: Guillaume Lekeu


Guillaume LekeuComposer of the month: Lekeu

Please tell: what have you accomplished during the last 24 years? The Walloon Guillaume Lekeu only got that span of time to compose about a hundred works. He is our composer of the month. Guillaume Lekeu was born in 1870 in Heusy (Wallonia). A turbulent character, so goes the story, brimming with talent but needing direction and guidance.

That came in the persons of César Franck and later Vincent d’Indy. They helped Lekeu to develop his own style. You can hear his Violin sonata from 1893 in one of the series about Lekeu. Also the two completed movements from his piano quartet and the cantata Andromède (1891), a piece Lekeu submitted for the Prix de Rome. What happened to Andromeda happened also to the composer: both missed the first prize, respectively a beauty contest and a paid residence in Rome. However for Lekeu the recognition for his cantata came later, albeit posthumously.

Lekeu’s life stopped almost as soon as it began, but he is one of Belgium’s greatest composers. Listen this month to his turbulent, driving music in which beauty and the desire for proportion win over disruption. And just to add to the focus on Belgium you’ll hear a lot of Belgian performers.

Composer of the month, workdays in november from 1600 to 1700.




First Tuesday of every month

Theme: Classical Music

Composer: Joseph Haydn


Haydns Sun Quartets (part III)

by Thijs Bonger

This is the third and final article about Haydn’s String Quartets Op. 20. which got the nickname Sun Quartets because Hummel, the publisher from Amsterdam, depicted a rising sun on the title page in 1772. How relevant: precisely these quartets heralded a completely new era for the string quartet genre.

Six QuatorsNicknames
Nicknames of compositions are more or less jumped at by the audience. And even more so in Haydn’s gigantic – and sometimes somewhat despondent – oeuvre. Where on earth do you start if you find out that Haydn wrote 68 string quartets? Or, even worse, 104 symphonies. Opus numbers are difficult to memorize. This explains why we are attracted, like a magnet, to compositions with nicknames. There is, however, a risk in this, because the works with nicknames are not necessarily the best ones.

This said, the importance of the revolutionary Sun Quartets is beyond dispute. Generations of composers after Haydn wrote their string quartets based on Haydn’s model. With four somewhat related parts and equivalency for the four strings. The importance of this was soon recognized by Mozart, who probably also played these quartets together with Haydn. And by Beethoven, who was tutored by Haydn, and who often copied whole parts of the Sun Quartets by hand, to take a look in Haydn’s kitchen. Brahms, too, apprehensive of the difficult string quartet genre, in which a composer is completely exposed, found these quartets of Haydn so important that he had a considerable amount of money to purchase the original manuscripts.

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Theme: Contemporary Music

Composer: Polo de Haas

Polos improvisations

cover De HaasPolo de Haas has made a new double cd of piano improvisations.The double cd covers the period 1980 -2020, but it is not a retrospective. At its core are two hour- long improvisations, one recorded in 1980, the other 40 years later.

They illustrate a 40 year journey during which De Haas has continued to improvise and give a new picture of his development as a musician.

Listeners to the Concertzender can buy with this with a substantial discount by paying €15 (instead of €22,50) with your address. After receiving the €15 the double cd will be sent to you. You can find out how to pay on Polos website. Go, check!




Theme: Contemporary Music


Sing along as long as were allowed to

Singing during the Corona virus: now, there’s a puzzle. Even so, a new project is starting this year combining music and pictorial art. The world famous Mexican artist Carlos Amorales is developing a new artwork over the coming 20 months with a project choir. Carlos AmoralesWe’re drawing your attention to this special project, whose premiere is planned for 2022, because it’s being developed under the auspices of ZIMIHC, the Utrecht podium for amateur art.

Utrecht 900 years
All Utrecht singers are welcome to take part. The project choir, conducted by Rohan Poldervaart and his team, will be working on a unique form of improvisation. The eventual performance of this project will take place in the summer of 2022, when 1000 voices will come together to fill the Jaarbeursplein with music. This is part of Utrecht 900 years. Later in the summer this work will also be performed during the international choir festival Leading Voices when it’s held in Utrecht.

The project is a commission from Utrecht Council to the Mexican artist Carlos Amorales. He will make a new artwork in which the project choir will play a central role. During the project singers will be encouraged to be adventurous in using improvisation and other techniques. Experience not required.

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First Friday of every month

Theme: World Music



The harpists of Paraguay

In September, the Concertzender started a series of programmes about harpists from Paraguay. This series is to be continued in the coming months, so that you can continue to enjoy this special music. It was long believed that every Paraguayan could play the harp and there are indeed quite a lot of Paraguayan harpists.

collage harpisten van ParaguayWhat is it about Paraguay and the harp? On June 8 2010, President Fernando Lugo Méndez proclaimed the harp to be the official “Symbol of the Musical Culture of Paraguay”. At that time, the instrument already had a long history in Latin America. The Jesuits first brought the instrument from Spain to South America around 1700. Different playing styles developed in a number of South American countries such as Mexico and Venezuela, but especially in Paraguay.

In Paraguay, the harp had reached its perfect form around 1950 and had also became well-known in Europe by this time. Hundreds of ensembles from Paraguay traveled to Europe and other parts of the world of which Trío Los Paraguayos became the best known. All the folk music from Paraguay used the harp and the instrument had become an indispensable aspect of this music. Yet even in Paraguay progress could not be stopped and the harp was in danger of being replaced by the electronic keyboard. However, this was not to be allowed to happen and the combined forces of propaganda, education and festivals stressed the importance of the harp and eventually led to the proclamation of June 8 2010.

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