400 years Pilgrim Fathers
Dick van Gasteren conductor
Maarten van Rossem tells …
400 years Pilgrim Fathers
Dick van Gasteren conductor
Maarten van Rossem tells …
Thursday, July 2, 2020 , starting at 8:15 p.m
Pilgrim Fathers Church Rotterdam (Delfshaven)
Thursday July 9, 2020 , starting at 3 p.m. (without intermission, program without Maarten van Rossem)
Palace Church, Paleisstraat 8, The Hague
Arthur Foote (1853-1937) – Suite opus 63
Aaron Copland – How down
Charles Ives (1874-1954) – Hymn, Largo Cantabile for string orchestra
George Antheil (1900-1959) – Serenade for string orchestra
This year it is 400 years ago that the Pilgrim Fathers left Leiden for America. Following this event, Ciconia Consort plays music by composers who followed their footsteps and went to try their luck in America. Maarten van Rossem tells in his well-known razor-sharp and bone-dry manner about historical and current reasons for emigration to America. The influence of the Pilgrim Fathers, the Founding Fathers of the United States, is still great today. From their ranks, no less than 9 presidents of the US emerged, including George Bush and Barack Obama.
The Pilgrim Fathers are a group of English Puritans who fled to Leiden to escape persecution. The Pilgrim Fathers have been living in Leiden for eleven years. Most of them cannot settle in Leiden, which they consider dissolute, and leave for America in 1620. From Rotterdam Delfshaven (Pilgrimfathers Church) they sail to Southampton, where they join a larger group of separatists.
Initially, American classical music was almost exclusively European-oriented, as can be heard in the music of Arthur Foote. American composers are slowly developing their own style. For example, the visual music of Aaron Copland, born of the Jewish-Russian immigrant family Kaplan, expresses the distinctive American sound like no other. The ‘American’ aspect of the work of many composers has to do with memories of a world of their ancestors. Charles Ives fills his musical world with a memory of New England. The composers of this program were all pioneers of American music themselves.
Maarten van Rossem
Maarten van Rossem is a Dutch historian, specializing in the history and politics of the United States. He studied at Utrecht University and obtained his doctorate with his dissertation The radical temperament. The double political conversion of a generation of American intellectuals (1934-1953). From 1997-2008 he was professor by special appointment of History at Utrecht University. After his sober comments on the September 11, 2001 attacks, he was initially heavily criticized and considered too relativistic. He was chosen as Historian of the Year 2003 by the Historisch Nieuwsblad because he ‘guided Dutch people through this nasty war year 2001 with a lot of humor in a historically responsible way’.
Maarten can be seen regularly on TV in De Wereld Draait Door and De Slimste Mens, among others. The program Here are the Van Rossems, in which he visits cities with his brother and sister, is very popular. In the summer of 2008 Maarten worked as a guest editor on the glossy designed Maarten! of the Historical Newspaper. This parody of the trend of glossies by well-known Dutch people was originally a one-off. But the magazine turned out to be so popular that it now appears eight times a year as a regular issue. The Martin! contains informative and opinion articles and interviews.
ARTHUR FOOTE (1853 1937) was an American pianist, organist, composer and music teacher. He studied at the New England Conservatory and Harvard College, with John Knowles Paine. As a member of the ‘Second New England School’, also known as the ‘Boston Six’, he formed, together with Paine, Parker and MacDowell, among others, the first generation of composers to receive their training in the US. Foote was also the first to earn a master’s degree in music from an American university.
While traveling in Europe, Foote witnessed one of the first performances of Wagner’s complete cycle of the ‘Ring’ at Bayreuth in 1876. He then wrote: ‘I experienced the new and special harmonic structure as a revelation’ (“What a revelation there was in the new
and strangely beautiful harmonic structure”).
Foote greatly admired the music of Brahms and Wagner and was committed to performing their compositions frequently. In 1878, Foote was appointed organist of the Unitarian Church in Boston.
He remained there for 32 years and was one of the founders of the American Guild of Organists. He was also very active as a teacher and wrote several pedagogical works, such as Modern Harmony in its Theory and Practice (1905), with Walter R. Spalding. We can consider Foote’s music as ‘conservation romantic’ and ‘European in German tradition’. In his Suite in E major for string orchestra his dedication is for
religion and organ music clearly audible.
AARON COPLAND (1900 – 1990) was an American composer, pianist, conductor and music educator. He was the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland and Lithuania, the Kaplan family. After studying music with Rubin Goldmark, Copland moved to Paris where he studied for three years with Nadia Boulanger whose eclectic approach to music inspired his own broad taste. It was during this time that his desire to write authentic American music arose. In the decade that followed, he incorporated a range of styles into his compositions, including jazz, folk music, and Latin American music.
From the early 1930s he succeeded in developing a very personal musical language, accessible to a wide audience. For many, the open, slowly changing harmonies are characteristic of the sound of music from the United States, which evoke associations of vast American landscapes and pioneering spirit. Copland is best known for his compositions from the 1930s and 1940s in what he himself calls the ‘vernacular style’, such as the ballets Appalachian Spring, Billy the Kid and Rodeo. Copland won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1945 for his composition Appalachian Spring. In the same year he received the
‘New York Music Critics’ Circle Award’ and in 1950 the ‘Academy Award for Best Music’ for his music for the film The Heiress.
CHARLES IVES (1874 – 1954) was an avant-garde composer. His father gave
taught him harmony and counterpoint, with an open-minded approach to theory. This attitude stimulated the young Charles to experiment with bitonal and polytonal harmonies.
At the age of fourteen he became a church organist and composed songs for church services. After graduating, Ives decided on none
become a professional musician. He feared having to make too many compromises in his music. Instead, he went to work at an insurance office. In his sparse free time he composed, in which he did not have to worry about the critics. Failing health and heart problems led to his last in August 1926
composition, the song Sunrise, wrote. His music is intimately intertwined with the
American culture, especially with that of New England. His compositions often contain quotes from folk melodies, religious songs, traditional dances and classical music from Europe. The structure
in his compositions is often complex, full of sharp dissonances, polytonal harmonies, polymetric constructions, experimental tone clusters, aleatory elements and quarter tones.
Ives’ music remained unknown for a long time. It was not until his later years that the public discovered its quality and he was recognized as a ‘native’ American composer. In 1947 he received the Pulitzer
Prize for his Third Symphony (The Camp Meeting).
GEORGE ANTHEIL (1900 – 1959) was an American avant-garde composer, pianist, writer and inventor. He was of half Polish descent and studied composition with Ernst Bloch in New York. In 1922 he left for Europe and settled in Paris. Here he joined a group
of important innovators in art, including Erik Satie, Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, the ‘Groupe des Six’, and his great example Igor Stravinsky. Antheil preferred to present himself as an ‘enfant terrible’. Not for nothing; his compositions and performances caused a stir
times for a stir. Ezra Pound qualifies Antheil’s compositions in his book Antheil and the Treatise on Harmony as “the only ones that have given the music truly innovative impulses”. Pound wrote this on the occasion of the premiere of the Ballet Mécanique (for an occupation
of 16 specially synchronized upright pianos, two grand pianos, electric bells, xylophones, large drums, a siren and three airplane propellers), with which the American established his illustrious reputation.
Between 1923 and 1927, Antheil was a member of ‘De Stijl’, a Dutch art movement that also included Piet Mondrian and Gerrit Rietveld. From the moment he returned to the United States (1933), he mainly wrote music for film and television. His work then became more tonal in character. This applied not only to his film music (in 1936 he even went to live in Hollywood), but also to works he wrote for the concert hall. In his later years he composes in a more romantic style and influences can be heard from Prokofiev and Shostakovich, as well as typical American music, such as jazz. It stems from this time
Serenade for String Orchestra (1948).
Antheil was not only a musician. He published on criminology and wrote a detective novel. He collaborated with actress Hedy Lamarr on the invention of frequency hopping; a technique that is used today in almost all wireless digital communication technology,
such as GPS, GSM, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.