Erik LOTICHIUS (b.1929)
Symfonietta for Strings* [22:12]
Piano Concerto No. 2 for piano, strings and 3 saxophones [22:23]
Four Songs on native American Poetry for mezzo and orchestra (With Rejoicing Mouth 4:34; The Arrival of the Whites 5:04; On the Death of Atahualpa 4:31; Lord, Most Generous 2:58) [17:07]
Jo Vercruysse (violin) *; Eliane Rodrigues (piano)
Maria Liekens, Karla van Loo, Rudy Haemers (saxophones)
Michelle Mallinger (mezzo)
Prima La Musica/Dirk Vermeulen
rec. 6-8 July 2008, Sound Recording Centre Steurbaut. DDD
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9158 [60:41]
Erik LOTICHIUS (b.1929)
CD 1: Songs, French chansons, ditties for mezzo, piano and alto saxophone.
Hantzen Houwert (mezzo); Erik Lotichius (piano); Benny Laureyn (saxophone)
rec. studio Crescendo, Genk.
CD 2: Hymns and French chansons for mezzo and piano.
Caren van Oijen (mezzo); Alessandro Misciasci (piano).
Titles of songs listed at end of review
rec. Bloomline Coryphee (producer/director Leo de Klerk), s'Gravendeel.
Q DISC Q 97008 [61:04 + 48:21]
Erik LOTICHIUS (b.1929)
Rebotko, for two flutes and piano [15:40]
Inez Lotichius (flute); Pauline Lotichius (piano), Lilian Lotichius (piano)
String Quartet 1 [18:12]
String quartet 7 [13:16]
Four pieces from Anaitalrax (15 pieces for piano).[12:26]
Ralph van Raat.(piano)
rec. 2001-02. released 2003
Q DISC Q97057 [59:54]
Erik Lotichius was first taught piano by his mother. He turned to violin and composition during his teens and continued his studies with piano, composition and music theory at the Amsterdam Conservatoire. There he became professor of counterpoint, harmony, ear-training and analysis, and later arranging. His receptive and accessible inclinations are very evidently not avant-garde and happily accommodate and synthesise jazz, popular styles and minimalism.
His prodigious worklist includes Eindhoven '44 (about the liberation of Eindhoven), Lyrisch Intermezzo (a day in the lives of Rossini, Wagner and Schubert), Variations on Mood Indigo for symphony orchestra, Hiphop - a burlesque for piano and (amateur) orchestra, Concerto giocoso for violin and string orchestra, Concerto for two double-basses and string orchestra, Concerto for two trumpets and youth orchestra (strings), 24 preludes and fugues for string quartet, three symphonies, a Requiem and Eline (1990) an opera for mezzo, two baritones and an instrumental ensemble. There are, at last count, some nine other stage works - operas, musical and entertainments. You can read more about his life and music at www.eriklotichius.be
He has also written Roos and Roos ontdekt de wereld - children's books about an English Sheepdog.
We turn to the Brilliant Classics disc (easily accessible) first.
The Symfonietta is in five cleanly orchestrated brief movements and would make a nice companion to the Wirén Serenade. The Praeludium is imbued with a ripely brusque life-force around a challenging motif echoing Beethoven's 5th - the Fate motif. The Blues Fantasia transforms the motif further and is coupled with music lent a bluesy sway. This comes before a rattling and chattering Zuniga with just a touch of Spain about it. The Moorish caste to Jo Vercruysse's capriciously romantic violin solo shoots adoring glances back to Bruch and Sarasate. The insistently shivering steely-delicate finale is an emotionally drier affair.
The three movement Second Piano Concerto starts with a severe gesture from the strings contrasting with gently unassertive lightheartedness from the piano. The piano soon persuades the orchestra into the same mood which is further consolidated in honeyed intimacy from the choir of three saxophones. The romantic and nostalgic proclivities of these ideas remind me of Malcolm Arnold and Glazunov; the latter in his Saxophone Concerto. The pensive middle movement continues the theme. The final Poco Allegro ripples along giving urgent chase with something of the character of a tarantella but with those delectable saxophones again softening the ruthless mood Ultimately a sort of optimistic anxiety wins the day.
The Four Songs are in a populist sentimental style yet highly polished and capable. They have the shadows of the fashionable tango, of Gershwin and of French film music of the 1950s alternating and commingling over their pages. Mezzo Michelle Mallinger rises to the drama though the control-desk should have favoured her more against the orchestra. The final song leans on that brand of urgency angst and Philip Glass motor-rhythm that we hear in the Symfonietta. The words of the songs are printed in the booklet.
The Q disc 2 CD set of songs continues the trend but on a more intimate scale. The 25 songs on CD 1 are sung very stylishly by Hantzen Houwert. The words are English and Houwert's lightly accented voice suits their cabaret loucheness, jazzy pulse and tango smokiness to a tee. They are traced, touched off and caressed by the saxophone. All very entertaining, provocative and touching. Splendid and rather in the same mould as Elizabeth Montgomery's recitals with Richard Rodney Bennett, Cleo Laine's Shakespeare songs and Madeleine Dring's intelligent cabaret contributions? We also hear the native American Poetry songs heard on the Brilliant disc. These are all songs confidently migrating around the shadowlands between concert hall and popular sophistication. The second disc is packed with 20 lieder in a tonal pattern. Their roots are struck deep into nineteenth century lieder. Schoeck might be a parallel but these are more varied in mood being extruded and transformed through a late 20th century alembic. The chamber concert voice of Caren van Oijen suits the music in much the same way that Houwert fulfils the requisite qualities demanded by the lighter world of the more populist CD1.
The other volume - one disc this time - samples the Lotichius chamber music. Rebotko, for two flutes and piano is an urgently and sometimes slowly insistent, even obsessive and flighty, little melodic affair - very tuneful though the ideas do not go very far. Definitely affected by minimalism but then so is the First String Quartet which, across its four characterful and melodically direct yet by no means simplistic movements, also touches on the worlds of Weill and tango. The Anaitalrax pieces represent an exhibition of diverse styles culminating in Ragtime - all convincingly carried off. The three movement Seventh Quartet begins very strongly in a Glass-insistent hush of urgency with some Bruckner subsumed alongside Bernard Herrmann. Excellent performances throughout. This is music that is not hard to like. It will appeal on first hearing yet have enough fibre to draw you back.
We must hope to hear more especially Eline, the three symphonies, the complete Anaitalrax sequence, the Variations on Mood Indigo and the Hiphop burlesque. Though hardly the same this music should appeal to those who like Kapustin, Glass or Arnold.
Confident and accessible music which does not confuse familiarity and populism with blandness.
Contents of Vocal works - Q Disc set
It really must be nice; Sondern ich werde sterben; Familiale; Chanson; Since you, sir went away; Poem in three parts; Und ich werde nicht mehr sehen; Makes me feel funny; Petite camusette; With rejoicing mouth; Dass von mir gereinigt werde; The day it rained; Mort; On the death of atahualpa; Weil ich eingebrochen bin; So many memories; Le meilleur moment des amours; Lord, most generous; Brüder, wenn ich bei euch wäre; I'm glad; Floris & stokstra; First man was the first to emerge; Erinnerung an die Marie; One of these days; Egidius, waer bestu bleven?; Come away death; Gegen ferführung; My down mood; O mistress mine; Intermezzo van de oude heer en het danseresje; Am grunde der Moldau; Music makes me think; Sigh no more, ladies; La luna asoma; Das lied vom freudenmädchen; A moon rising white; I like my body; Malagueña; Nummer één zei; Green, green; What lips my lips have kissed; La guitarra; Pour toi mon amour; Pure peace music