Daniël de Lange: Lioba (1906)
‘The open air performances proved that this work benefits from a staging, even though it was not written for the stage. However, a staged version requires music, that is how I have always envisioned it, admits Van Eeden, the author. The problem is that music is an unruly phantom, since Richard Wagner conquered audiences around the world by devouring poets. His powers proved greater than those of Lessing, Schiller and Goethe. It to Wagner that all swear allegience these days. [....] Composers came to Lioba. The Wagnerian Viotta suggested to turn it into a Musikdrama. Van Eeden refused, shivering by the very idea. Daniël de Lange consumed some of the verses, finding the complete work - fortunately - too overpowering! Hoboken could not control his passions; his music overshouted the actors. Ony Landré, who produced the music for the opern air performances, appraoched Van Eeden’s demands.’ (Algemeen Handelsblad on a performance of Van Eeden's Lioba in Weimar, 20 December 1913)
‘I admit that the instrumentation of the Elf choirs seems most brilliant: fast repeating figures of flutes and violins against lingering tones of contrabasses and violoncellos; here and there a shaply crescendent effect has been achieved, as in the phrases ‘toen kwam ’t machtigen daglicht, sterk’. Likewise Lioba's long confession had beautiful coloring with touching disction in ‘Zacht in den wijglans dezer stonde’, and then in ‘Ik wil mijn kind van U’, where the peculiar orchestration scintillated like the play of light on the water.’ (S.Z., ‘Daniël de Lange’, Algemeen Handelsblad, 14 March 1906.)
Daniël de Lange: Lioba (dramatic scenes)
Tekst: Frederik van Eeden
Public General Rehearsal: 8 March 1906 (donderdag, tickets à ƒ 0,50)
World première: 9 March 1906 (vrijdag), Den Haag, Gebouw voor Kunsten en Wetenschappen (tickets ƒ 3,50 tot ƒ 0,30) (Samen met: Drie Liederen: ‘Ik droomde van een koelen bloemen-nacht’ (Willem Kloos), ‘Mijn God is enkel gloed in donkerheid (Albert Verwey), ‘Entsagung’; Lied voor orkest en bariton: ‘De Roze’)
10 Maart 1906 (zaterdag), Rotterdam, Doelen, Leiden, Stads Gehoorzaal
12 Maart 1906 (maandag), Leiden, Stads Gehoorzaal
13 maart 1906 (dinsdag), Amsterdam, Stadsschouwburg
Anna Tijssen-Bremerkamp, sopraan (Lioba), Josef Tijssen, tenor (Tancolf), Jos Orelio, bariton (Hemming / solist in de liederen), Toonkunstkoor Leiden, Residentieorkest o.lv. Dianiël de Lange; Johan van der Veer (piano in de drie liederen)
29 mei 2006
401Concerts 3, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo
Pieter Dhoore (piano), Ann Vancoillie (viool)
Downloadbaar via 401Concerts 3.
18 December 2016
Duet 'Ik wil mijn kind van u'
401Concerts 4, OBA Concert Hall, The Hague
Violetta Lazin (Lioba), Hendrik Vonk (Tancolf), Wolter Willemsen (piano)
Available as download from December 20, 2016
Prelude. Chorus of elfs. Young Tancolf is banned from King Harald's court. In the dunes he meets with a friend, the courtier Hemming. King Harald has died childless and Hemming's brother Horic shall succeed him. Harald's wife, the young Lioba is not only a symbol of purity but henceforward also to be Horic's wife. Hemming wants to ensure that no impure ties between tancolf and Lioba exist. Tancolf ensures him of the noble nature of his feelings. While conversing they approach a crossing in the dunes, the place where prayers are spoken. Lioba approaches. Hemming leaves, he is a heathen and beleives to see a ghost approaching. Tancolf convinces him of the opposite while the music depicts the conflict between paganism and christianity. Hemming is convinced and leaves, warnign Tancolf to hold his pledge. The rest of the poem is made up out of the meeting between Tancolf and Lioba, depicting the contradictions and emotional conflicts between her innocence and Tancolfs ardent passion, which he surpresses with great pain, out of respect for her purity.
The world premiere of Daniël de Lange’s dramatic scène on sections of Frederik van Eeden’s Lioba text took place on March 9 1906 in The Hague. De Lange’s fame of a composer was not very prolific by then, since he had focussed for many years on a career as a conductor and a (feared) critic. It the latter function he moreover made significant enemies, which serves to sketch his position at the moment in time where he entered the thin ice between dream and reality that any aspiring opera composer eventually has to face. De Lange did not want to produce a mere extension of his songs in Lioba, but rather aimed for a more groundbreaking, avant-garde concept, wrote A. Rappard in his introduction to the libretto. In line with such composers as Moessorgski (Zjenitba) and Mascagni (Guglielmo Ratcliff) and, preceding the experiments of Pfitzner and the mature Hindemith, De Lange wanted to provide the text with music in a way that we later came to associate with film music. He believed that Van Eeden’s text was autonomous and needed little more than musical support rather than tunes and melodies. When Rappard judged De Lange’s ambition the starting point of a true Dutch school, ‘a poem in tones that had a deeper union between text and music than even in Wagner’, De Lange’s colleagues sharpened their knives. In short, they crushed his declamation as boring and dry on prolonged Wagnerian basso continuo accompaniment and they used the most outspoken paraphrases to ridicule his failed attempt, ending with praying that God would prevent Lioba from becoming the starting point of a Dutch school. The only exception was the review by De Lange’s colleague composer Charles Tournemire, who judged the work utterly brilliant and daring. He praised especially the leitmotivs for Lioba’s pure love, Tancolf’s passion, Lioba’s confession and the opening chorus of elves. Tournemire also thought the world of the declamation over the basso continuo chords and praised a great number of specific sections, including the orchestral introduction. With even the most negative critics admitting that the audiences loved the work and cheered the composer on, showering him with flowers and curtain calls, one is left a bit puzzled. Could Van Eeden’s stated negative opinion later on, perhaps in part, have been influenced by the negative reviews? From the description of the declamatory style and the revelation of the sung word over cliché ‘musical’ values one can imagine that the critics of the time may have had real problems with the score, other than envy and personal motives which were rife in Dutch musical criticism. However, from today’s perspective a dramatic declamatorio as Lioba suddenly fits in a line of intriguing experimental works that are valued very differently nowadays than at the time of Geneviève de Brabant (1900) or Honegger’s much later Jeanne d'Arc au Bûcher (1938). Until we have the full music recorded, it remains to be seen where exactly Lioba fits in. A first attempt to disclose some of the music of Lioba was made on May 29 2016 during 401Concerts 3 at the Kröller–Müller Museum, where we performed the prelude in a reduction for violin and piano, performed by Pieter Dhoore (piano) and Ann Vancoillie (violin). In the future we hope to be able to also include the long dialogue between Tancolf and Lioba, including her much-praised final monologue. The recording of this concert is downloadable through the 401Concerts 3 download, which also contains arias and duets from operas by Dutch composers Cornelis Dopper, Julius Röntgen, Gerard von Brucken Fock, Jan van Gilse and Richard Hageman.
Download 401Concerts 3 met Lioba
The recording of our third 401DutchOperas concert in the Kröller-Müller Museum is downloadable via 401Concerts 3. Apart from highlights of Cornelis Dopper's De blinde van Casteel Cuillé it also includes highlights from Willem Landré's De roos van Dekama, Daniël de Lange's Lioba, Gerard von Brucken Fock's Jozal, Julius Röntgen's Agnete and De lachende Cavalier, Jan van Gilse's Helga von Stavern, Jan Brandts Buys’ De kleermakers van Marken (Die Schneider von Schönau) and Richard Hageman's Caponsacchi.
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