Bernard van Dieren - was anything of his ever on? Jan 31, 2013 5:57:43 GMT -5
Post by Deleted on Jan 31, 2013 5:57:43 GMT -5
It would be interesting to find out whether much of Bernard van Dieren's music was broadcast on The Third Programme or in the Low Countries. According to Grove's, he was "devoted to Mediterranean culture" (though presumably not in the same sense as were Saint-Saëns and Szymanowski). Here is Mr. Alastair Chisholm's impression:
"Prominent in van Dieren’s music is a complex, lyrical counterpoint and an abundance of chamber music textures. His harmonic language varies from Schönbergian atonality – for example in the Toccata and First String Quartette – [he means "pantonality" I think] to melting Delian chords; especially noteworthy are the exquisite cadences." [I must say I have never thought of Delius's chords as "melting." But the part about cadences is telling. That is the essence of Bach - and incidentally the essence of my own music, which simply lurches from one cadence to the next. And not only that; almost all fifteenth and sixteenth century choral music is just one cadence after another. (Were Mr. Baziron here we could discover more about this point - I will send him an invitation.)]
Anyway, Mr. Chisholm continues: "Thematic material is always economically employed, while, as Gray pointed out, each work demonstrates 'an entirely separate line of thought.' At the core of his output are the six string quartettes which exhibit all these features.
"During the 1920s and 30s, thanks to the efforts of his friends, some of van Dieren's music was performed and published, but it never received more than grudging admiration from the public. And so, following the early deaths of himself and of many of his circle, his music slipped into obscurity. Yet a revival of interest began in the 1970s when Denis ApIvor produced and distributed a performing edition consisting mainly of hitherto unpublished scores. In the Low Countries too, performances were encouraged and manuscripts collected by Willem Noske (and later passed to Musica Neerlandica)."
The reference to the Netherlands comes of course because van Dieren was born at Rotterdam, and came to England only because he was following a woman. Fancy that! Having decided to stay, he "became the central figure in a group of artistic friends, including . . . Sorabji . . ." [about whom we already have a promising thread].
So, something about the description above makes me anxious to sample those six string quartettes! And indeed I have since drafting this message managed to unearth three of them, as well as a clutch of other compositions, all of which I intend to make available at the Art-Music Forum, and on The Third web-radio once it has been established.