Sorry, no masterpieces
Charles Voogd | Underwaterland | 03/27/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Funny names, those Dutch composers: Dopper, Pijper, Hol, Zweers, even our prime minister calls himself Kok and for some years nobody over here really understood why every English speaking boy gets a laughter when the man introduces himself. So, I won't translate the rest, but it'll certainly make you laugh.On the balcony of the Concertgebouw Hall, Amsterdam, Dopper's name is explicitly stated. Why, if nobody seems to play or care for his musical output? It's because he was for many years second conductor with that great orchestra.Merely forgotten nowadays because his music doesn't fit in the intellectual trends of today, even not in the trends of most of the last century for that matter. It seems to be old-fashioned, thoroughly Dutch and clicheed German, boring and smells like the Dutch farmland, the wooden shoes and the tulips. Peasant Dances, lovely girls, Street Music and so on. And what's the trend over here? It is prohibited to like this music as is; as a professor in music - like I am - you have to dislike this kind of music and act as if it doesn't exist. It should be worthless and left unplayed. Instead we've to listen to those Dutch composer who compose in a dengenerated 50s and 60s avantgarde style. It's Mahler or Keuris; Bruckner or Schat; Brahms or Ketting. There's no room for Dopper; but Sibelius, Nielsen, Vaughan Williams interesting French composer like Ropartz, Boulanger, Honegger don't get a hearing in our subsidized concert halls either.It's not at all true that this music is worthless and these expertly prepared disc shows why. If you can listen to this music without the typical premonitions of today, you'll have an enjoyable evening. The recording is fine, the orchestra on home ground and the programme generous. Although the music has its faults - the finale of the symphony is overlong and Dopper clearly doesn't know how to stop and make sense of all his tunes; there's room for 4 more symphonies, so mnay tunes there're - it's enjoyable and heartwarming.Let's record the 3rd Symphony, called Rembrandt this year, and in the meantime on this internet site also the 7th Symphony `Zuiderzee' (nowadays the IJsselmeer), can be had on the Dutch label `NM Classics'."
The Dope on Dopper
Thomas F. Bertonneau | Oswego, NY United States | 10/19/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Chandos has gone on record, so to speak, in saying that they will no longer devote any effort to the concert-staples, as there is simply no need for new versions of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms in a saturated market. A dedication to the unusual indeed makes the Chandos catalogue rich, alluring, and unlike any other. Large-scale music by the Dutchman Cornelis Dopper (1870-1939) falls nicely, then, under the label's self-defining mission. Long-time Chandos associate Matthias Bamert leads the Residentie Orchestra, the Hague, in a program comprising Dopper's Second Symphony (1903) and his two "Päâns" (in D-Minor and F-Minor, both circa 1918) for orchestra. (A less recondite spelling in English would be "Paean.") As the booklet explains, modern listeners know little about Dutch music, which has not traveled much outside of its native country. As the discography of Willem Mengelberg will show, however, Dutch audiences could expect to hear consistently from their composer-countrymen throughout the first half, anyway, of the twentieth century. Cornelis [sic] Dopper figured among the more prominent. His Second Symphony, in B-Minor, conforms to a Brahmsian model but uses something close to a Straussian in language, with occasional playful resurrections of the Baroque. Listen to the dotted rhythms at the beginning of the lively First Movement (Andante, Molto Moderato -- Allegro Con Brio); the stalking-bass makes it sound a bit like a French Overture. The main theme, once launched, boasts a Schumannesque vigor; the rich orchestration of it entails lots of work for the horns and trombones. The Second Movement (Allegro Vivace, Alla Burla) reminds one at first of Borodin or Balakirev, but quickly reverts to its Dutch character of an earthy Netherlands dance. The Third Movement (Adagio Sostenuto) is serious without being somber and sometimes gives the feel of a landscape -- one of those wheat-fields by van Gogh -- on a still, hot day. The Finale (Rondo-Allegro) makes a spirited tour of variegated episodes including a couple of robust fugues, an homage to Sweelinck perhaps, or to the old Netherlands school generally. Dopper's music is related but superior to some of the contemporaneous Belgian (Walloon and Flemish) music recorded by Marco Polo (DeBoeck, Poot, and so forth). The two "Paeans" resemble stand-alone symphonic movements, one in "tempo allegro" the other in "tempo andante"; the first heroic, the second contemplative. Dopper's symphony has grown on me, increasing in stature and amiability with each audition. He writes with the same unselfconscious conviction as Joachim Raff or Josef Rheinberger, and with equal competence and verve. (The "Alla Burla" of the Second Symphony echoes moments of Rheinberger's "Wallenstein" and Raff's "Im Herbst" Symphonies.) Bamert, who has conducted such disparate repertory for Chandos as Frank Martin and Hubert Parry, lives up to his reputation for versatility. Nice packaging and decent notes. Recommended."
Cheerful music that wanders a bit
Evan Wilson | Cambridge, Massachusetts United States | 04/02/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm in general agreement with the reviewer below that you won't find a hidden masterpiece if you buy this disc. On the other hand, you won't find yourself running to the CD player to turn it off, either.Although composed in 1903, Dopper's 2nd symphony is clearly anachronistic, sounding as if it could have been composed in the 1870's or 80's. It has some very memorable melodies including the rolling opening tune, a very sprightly jig-like tune midway through the scherzo and a bouncy tune which undergoes fugal treatment in the finale. The orchestration is standard Romantic with an occasional interesting touch (akin to Raff, if you've heard his music). The problem is that it isn't all tightly knitted together. Instead, tunes wander in and out without any real sense of purpose. At least the tunes are appealing, though.The two Paan's don't add alot to the disc, I'm sad to say. They tend to have a bit too much bluster and a bit too little interesting musical content. The reason to get this is the symphony.The playing and sound are top notch, and like the reviewer below, this has piqued my interest in finding more Dopper. In 1903, most of the musical world was descending into the wrenching chromaticism that would make music deeper, but also more difficult. Dopper looks backward to a sunnier era.One other quibble, which readers of some of my previous reviews will see repeated. Sure, this isn't great music, but the writer of the programme notes makes it sound like worthless drivel. While it's fine to criticize the music's flaws, lesser known music need committed advocacy. Dopper gets it from the musicians, but not from the writer. Hopefully, someday record companies will figure this out!"