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Friday, November 23 • 14:45 - 15:35
The Persecuted Viola

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1)  Leo Smit (1900-1943): Viola concerto  (13' )
     Allegro ma non troppo - Lento - Allegro vivace
Ursula Skaug, viola solo
Tollens ensemble concducted by Marten Sijbrandij:
2)  Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996): Sonata For Viola And Piano, op.28 (1945)
- Allegro, Allegretto, Adagio
Ásdís Valdimarsdóttir,  viola
Marcel Worms, piano

3) Dick Kattenburg (1920-1944): Sonata For Viola and Piano (1944) Allegro Moderato

4) Max Vredenburg (1904–1976): Lamento (1953),
    in memory of his sister who died in Auswitch.

Programme Notes:

Leo Smit (1900-1943) Viola concerto
Leo Smit, from a wealthy Portuguese-Jewish family, is considered one of the most talented composers of the first part of the 20th century. He studied piano and composition at the Amsterdam Conservatory with, among others, Bernard Zweers and Sem Dresden, and was the first laureate to graduate cum laude in 1924. He felt akin to French composers such as Ravel, Milhaud and Poulenc, but was also inspired by jazz. In 1927 he left for Paris. Via Brussels he returned to Amsterdam in 1937, now married to Lientje de Vries. His style is described as neoclassical with sometimes jazz influences, and sounds very French. In the viola concerto, influences of Hindemith in particular are noticeable. After the German invasion, it was gradually made impossible for him to work; yet he continued composing, and in February 1943 he wrote a beautiful sonata for flute and piano, two months before he and his wife were deported and killed in Sobibor on arrival (source: Leo Smit Foundation). His viola concerto consists of 3 movements:

In the orchestral introduction of the Allegro ma non troppo,  we are directly in French atmospheres. The soloist repeats and makes variations on the theme, after which the 2nd theme is started as a dialogue between orchestra and soloist. It gets faster and rougher, and then again the starting point. It ends up with a unison of the  starting theme with orchestra and soloist. A final solo, then a dry pizzicato ending.

The Lento is all about atmosphere and timbre. Although the harmonies are modern, the whole part breathes peace. There is a bit of melancholy, but no sadness. At the end of the movement the emotion seems to be increasing, but we return to the feeling of the beginning. It seems like a prayer in the evening sun in a summer valley.

The final movement Allegro Vivace is Introduced by pizzicati, then the vibrant solo theme. The orchestra follows the up and down motives until the cello section presents a rocking new theme, this time taken over by the viola. Time and again those four chords with fast runs in-between. A very virtuoso cadence, and an acceleration back to the starting theme in the orchestra, which returns with Rondo-like frequency, but more free of form and harmony than with Mozart or Rossini. Another short and virtuoso cadence, and suddenly it's all finished.

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Marcel Worms

Marcel Worms (1951) studied at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam with Hans Dercksen. He also had lessons with the Russian pianist Youri Egorov and with Alicia de Larrocha. After graduating in 1987, he specialised in the study of chamber music with Hans Broekman and 20th century... Read More →
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Marten Sijbrandij

Conductor, Tollens Ensemble
Marten Sijbrandij worked as an organist and later as conductor in various churces in and around The Hague. He has a degree in music performance on the Double bass from the Rotterdam Conservatory (Codarts), and also had lessons in choir and orchestra conducting.From 1996-2015 he conducted... Read More →
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Tollens Ensemble

String Orchestra
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Ursula Skaug

Royal Conservatoire of The Hague (The Netherlands)
Ursula Skaug (1997) received a broad musical training; next to violin and piano lessons, she was a member of the Musicanti concert choir at the Academy of Vocal Arts in The Hague. She started learning the viola with Julia Dinerstein at the Hellendaal Violin Institute in Rotterdam... Read More →
avatar for Ásdís Valdimarsdóttir

Ásdís Valdimarsdóttir

Royal Conservatoire of The Hague (The Netherlands)
Ásdís Valdimarsdottir is an internationally renowned Violist, Chamber Musician, Viola Teacher, and Chamber Music Coach, currently on the faculty of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. Initially, Ásdís began her music studies in Iceland as a violinist. While attending the Reykjavík... Read More →

Friday November 23, 2018 14:45 - 15:35 CET
Hofplein Rotterdam, Main Theatre Benthemstraat 13, 3032 CC Rotterdam, Netherlands

Attendees (9)