Henk BADINGS (1907-1987)
Concerto for Two Violins, No. 1 (1954) [25:44]
Symphony No. 3 (1934) [27:23]
Herman Krebbers (violin); Theo Olof (violin)
Hague Philharmonic Orchestra/Willem van Otterloo
rec. 28-30 November 1955 (3); 1955 (concerto)
Issued as Philips LP A 00487 L
A Pristine Audio Natural Sound XR restoration by Andrew Rose at Pristine Audio, April-June 2010
Had the Dutch composer Henk Badings been British he would have slotted rather snuggly into that heterogeneous group known as the Cheltenham composers. But for the actions of Donemus in the past and very recently of CPO and David Porcelijn, he would have remained a footnote to a footnote. The present well executed revival at the hands of Andrew Rose and Pristine joins the brace of CPO CDs of the symphonies; there’s more to come. The disc amounts to the reissue on CD and download of the 1955 Philips LP A 004871.
The Concerto for Two Violins is in three movements. The soloists are familiar names from the Decca and Philips stables. Krebbers is probably well remembered as the soloist in well loved Philips versions of the Beethoven and Brahms concertos with Dutch orchestras. If I recall correctly Krebbers was for many years Leader of the Concertgebouw. Theo Olof had many accomplishments but I recall him as the soloist in the Rawsthorne First Violin Concerto in which he was joined by BBC forces. His Rawsthorne 1 was issued in harness with the Second Concerto. His brother was a Philips recording engineer. As to Badings’ music you should banish all thoughts of neo-classicism. The Double Concerto No. 1 is a passionate work with a very romantic concentrated Adagio. It’s a little like the Walton but a shade more acerbic but not dissonant. The outer movements (of three) are tense, alive with rhythmic vitality and rife with splendidly lean ideas. The two soloists are left with little respite, constantly in flight yet with romantic gear engaged. If you love the Walton then this is for you. Another composer also comes to mind: Howard Ferguson. He never wrote a violin concerto though there are two sonatas the first of which was taken up and recorded by Heifetz. If Ferguson had tackled a violin concerto it might well have had quite an affinity with this one.
The Badings Third Symphony predates the Concerto by twenty years. It's in a quite different language - more dissonant, more caustic. It does not belong to any extreme avant-garde work but there's a Bergian turbulence about the emotional landscape as portrayed here - try the Adagio third movement. Grittily etched rhythmic facets are shared with the outer movements of the Concerto but there's not the romantic proclivity of the Concerto except passingly in the Adagio. One is sometimes reminded of the uproarious rhythmic life of the Weill symphonies. There's also some sternly satisfying French Horn playing at the start of the finale but this only serves to make way for a storm which recalls composers to the North of the Netherlands: Gosta Nystroem and Hilding Rosenberg.
Two contrasted works of considerable intrinsic attraction. The LP origins of the disc dictate a playing time of 53:07 which may displease some collectors. If so the price should appease even the grumps.
Rob Barnett
A well carried through revival of two contrasted Badings works from a 1950s LP