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Newsletter March 2021Read the online newsletter in your webbrowser




Big names, modest newsletter

redactioneelThis modest newsletter features a lot of big names. This month, we focus on Johannes Ockeghem, Jan Pieterszoon, Sweelinck, and Johann Sebastian Bach.

But we also pay heed to less prominent composers, like Jan Vaclav Vořišek, the Viennese Bohemian who became the emperor’s organist in Beethoven’s time.

See you next month!



On demand

Theme: Classical Music


VořišekMeeting mr. Vořišek

For relatively unknown composers, Concertzender is the place to be. Ever heard of Jan Vaclav Vořišek (1791-1825)? Originating from Bohemia, he spent most of his life in Vienna, where he was on very good terms with Beethoven, Hummel, and Schubert, all of them were full of praise for his compositions. He played the piano, organ, and violin excellently, and he was very good improviser. Therefore, nobody was surprised when he was given the coveted position as an organist at the emperor’s court.

During his short life, he composed in many genres: piano music, songs, chamber music, symphonic repertoire, and religious music. He had a lot of impact on Schubert if only because he was the first to write impromptu music. Clearly, Mendelssohn and Schumann had also listened to his works. Programme maker and presenter Thijs Bonger made a two-hour radio portrait about him. A serious attempt to force him out of oblivion. You can listen to it whenever you want.




Weekdays from Monday 1st March 2021

Theme: Early Music


Composer of the month: Ockeghem

OckeghemJohannes Ockeghem was approximately born in 1410 somewhere in Northern France and died in 1497 in Tours. In the 19th century, he was considered one of the most important representatives of the so-called Netherlandish School, a style of composing that, as we know now, was mainly practiced in the Renaissance in the Southern Netherlands and enjoyed great fame in the rest of Europe.

Such as many composers in those times, he started his musical career as a choirboy. It gave him an insight into old church music and the possibilities of singers, whom were useful to him his whole life. He was said to have been an excellent singer. The first reports of him being a musician date back to 1443. At the time, he was connected to the Onze Lieve Vrouwe church in Antwerp.

Later, Ockeghem became a composer and singer at the French court, where he was held in high record. He had high income therefore he could travel and acquire knowledge of music in foreign countries. Besides being a singer and composer, he was also a diplomat and therefore closely involved with the power politics and negotiations of the sovereign. His music was very widespread in Europe, and when he died, he was mourned everywhere, not only by other composers but by great thinkers like Erasmus as well.

Read more


First Thursday of every month

Theme: Early Music



Bach’s forerunner: Sweelinck

SweelinckIn the coming months, Documento will focus on Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, who died 500 years ago. Starting on the 4th of March, we will dedicate every first Thursday of the month to present the many aspects of this important Dutch composer’s repertoire.

Sweelinck is considered to be the most important (Northern) Dutch composer of the transition period from Renaissance to Baroque music. He was stubborn but as a teacher he still had a significant impact on many composers who came after him, like Johann Sebastian Bach.

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck was born in 1562 in Deventer, the Netherlands. When he was four years old, his family moved from Deventer to Amsterdam, where his father found employment as an organist. His father gave Jan Pieterszoon his first music lessons and he became the Oude Kerk church’s organist when he was only 15 years old. He held this position until his death.

Sweelinck’s instrumental music was innovative, but for his vocal music, he drew inspiration from the enormous legacy of 15th and 16th-century polyphonists, like Ockeghem. He used all genres available in the Netherlands at the time. Of course, this says nothing about the quality of Sweelinck’s vocal music. It was, in fact, highly appreciated.

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Every weekday

Theme: Classical Music

Genre: Baroque


Questioning Bach: 7 questions for Govert Jan Bach, compiler of Bach Ad Infinitum

First, a little bit of information about Bach Ad Infinitum: This daily programme has been around since 2012; almost nine years now. After 920 episodes, we are in week 185. The programme has many listeners from all over the world – among them are many musicians – mainly from Germany, Switzerland, and the United States.

BachThe Dutch version of this programme, Geen dag zonder Bach (Not a day without Bach), was a saying by Pablo Casals; he started every day by playing pieces from the WTC (Well-Tempered Clavier) before playing the cello. But what’s goes on behind the curtain of this programme, one of the most popular of our proud haven for serious musica afficionados? Let’s ask Bach himself. Govert Jan Bach, that is, distant relative and pivotal producer of the show.

How did the idea come about?
When I retired from the GGZ (Dutch mental health care) after 40 years, I wanted to do something quite different. A patient of mine told me about Concertzender and recommended me to said Concertzender. A continuous music programme sounded interesting because I worked with music a lot at the GGZ.

Meanwhile, Joop van Zijl, former Dutch news anchor, applied to Concertzender to do some work. Then director Sem de Jongh got the brilliant idea to make a ‘weekdaily’ programme named Bach Ad Infinitum. Some excellent people were available to team up, Irene Stolp (editor-in-chief Early Music), editor Hans, and engineer Benno Wormgoor. And we formed a five-headed team who, starting autumn of 2012, have made some 500 episodes of Bach Ad Infinitum, airing from 1 pm to 2 pm.

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David Young
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