Bernard van DIEREN COLLECTION
Bernard van DIEREN (1884-1936)
Song from The Cenci (1909-17) [6.08]
Rhapsodia (Thomas de Quincey) (1909-17) [5.44]
Estemporale No. 1 for harp (1931) [3.32]
Wer zum erstenmale liebt (Heine) song (1900s) [0.53]
Wenn ich auf dem Lager liege (Heine) song (1900s) [1.29]
Und wüssten's die Blumen (Heine) song (1900s) [2.30]
Mädchenlied; An einem jungen Rosenblatt (Bierbaum) (1914)
Estemporale No. 2 for harp (1931) [3.32]
Der Asra (Heine) song (1900s) [2.35]
Ich wandelte unter den Bäumen (Heine) song (1900s)
Sonata for solo violin (1920s) [18.45]
Mit deinen blauen augen (Heine) song (1900s) [1.28]
Mir träumten von einem Königskind (Heine) song (1900s)
Piccolo Pralinudettino Fridato for piano (1934) [3.37]
Les roses étaient toutes rouges (Verlaine) song (1925)
Spring Song of the Birds (King James I of Scotland) song (1925)
Sonatina Tyroica (1925?) [14.32]
Ludmilla Andrew (sop)/Philip
Thomas (all songs)
Ludmilla Andrew (sop)/Emperor String Quartet (Martin Burgess, Clare
Hayes (violins), Niakos
arb (viola), Paul Brunner (cello)) (Cenci and Rhapsodia)/Barry
Sidonie Goossens (Estemporale 1 and 2)
Chris Nicholls (Sonata for solo violin)
Chris Nicholls (violin)/Jonathan Ayerst (piano) (Tyroica)
rec, St Silas Church, Kentish Town, London; St Giles Without, Cripplegate,
The Barbican, London Bishopsgate Hall, London, Studio SG, Surrey, England
BRITISH MUSIC LABEL BML 001 [79.20]
This is THE collection of the music of the fabled composer Bernard Van Dieren.
If you have any interest in the outer reaches of British music during the
Twentieth Century this needs to be in your collection.
It is an unsung collection about a mystery figure in British music. Be warned,
Van Dieren's music is not of that 'conventional' lyric mainstream - no pastoral
singer he. His works, especially the earlier ones, are often marked out by
polyphonic complexity - this is much in evidence in the six string quartets
or at least the four that I have heard: numbers 1, 4, 5 and 6. The music
is difficult and there is little or nothing of the populist circus about
it. If anything he leans towards mainland European models like Zemlinsky
and Schoenberg. His Chinese Symphony, which I have heard in two broadcast
tapes (conducted by Myer Fredman in the early 1970s and by Huub Kerstens
at Amsterdam during the 1980s) is a work of typical convolution of line with
little surface glamour - well let's not exaggerate - no surface glamour.
What it needs is a really first class recording of pellucid transparency.
Van Dieren has his resolute champions including Alastair Chisholm and the
composer Denis ApIvor. Typically
it is ApIvor who provides the arrangements or more accurately realisations
for the first two tracks of this disc. Van Dieren's influence on Warlock
was said to be malign driving him towards alcohol addiction. Whatever the
truth of that his music is of an extraordinary quality in its self confidence
and its sense of address only to those who have the steely will to listen
over the top of the total absence of any evidence that the composer will
curry favour with the listener. The songs show a refined literary taste (Heine
and Verlaine) though the settings are curiously disconnected and even awkward.
Presumably copyright reasons stopped the printing of the sung words. All
we get are English translations. We should note in passing that this is not
the first recording of many of these songs. A complete recital was issued
on LP during the very early 1980s by the Dutch company BV Haast. To the best
of my knowledge that valuable collection have has never been reissued on
To have Sidonie Goossens playing the Two estemporales is a privilege and
they are perhaps the most approachable works here. They were written for
Goossens in 1931. Some hint of the difficulty of the string writing in the
quartets is given by hearing the sonata for solo violin and the Sonatina
Tyroica for violin and piano.
The performers are excellent as is Mike Skeet's usual clear, natural and
broad recording quality. Ludmilla Andrew suffers somewhat from the usual
soprano disease which clouds enunciation. That, however, is a marginal drawback
and Andrew makes a glorious noise. It is good to come across her name again.
The last time I recall hearing her was back in the 1970s in a very rare BBC
Radio 3 broadcast of a special studio recording of Sibelius's taxing Luonnotar.
I do wish I had a tape of that. I thought she was well suited to the work
- a very fine advocate.
You could not realistically ask for a more generous selection. Is it too
much too hope, in these days when extraordinary events have turned into reality,
that the next Van Dieren disc should include the 35 minute Chinese Symphony
(five solo voices, chorus and orchestra), the Spenser Sonnet and
the Serenade for Nine Instruments. The latter would couple rather
nicely with Bax's Nonet and even more appositely with of Goossens'
Nonet for nine wind instruments.
NOTE: This disc can be ordered from the British Music Society. Sadly
no e-mail payment or ordering facilities but if you contact its Hon Treasurer,
Stephen Trowell at 7 Tudor Gardens, UPMINSTER, ESSEX RM14 3DE, UK or phone
him on UK 01708 224795 he will be able to quote you for orders in US dollars
and British sterling. Stephen can also quote you for CASSETTE ONLY versions
of two collections of Van Dieren's piano music: : Volume 1 (BMS402): Six
Sketches (1910-11), Toccata (1912), Tema Con Variazione
(1927) and Vol. 2 (BMS405): Three Studies (1925), Piccolo
Pralinudettino Fridato (1934), Adagio Cantando (1931), Spring
Song of the Birds (1925), Weep You No More (1925) and Netherlands
Melodies (1925). Both are played by Van Dieren specialist: the late Eiluned
Alternatively THE DISC ONLY can be ordered from:-
UK is £10 incl UK P&P
abroad, the appropriate extra - Please approach Mr Skeet for quote.
Mike Skeet at F.R.C.
Milton Keynes MK4 1DP
phone/fax +44 (0)1908 502836