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Thread: Johann Wagenaar

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    Moderator Nereffid's Avatar
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    Default Johann Wagenaar

    I'd previously heard the name of Dutch composer Johann Wagenaar (1862-1941) but not heard any of his music until I recently got this collection of orchestral works from CPO.

    761203793327.jpg

    From the sleeve notes:
    Wagenaar mentioned the qualities he regarded as typically Dutch: 'a tendency towards a simple, almost popular style of melody; in some cases inclining to the spicy, in others to the tough; a sense of the amiable of naiv joy; a sense of the calm and emotional, slightly tending towards sentimentality; sharp, clear rhythmic moves and oppositions; a sense of humour in relation to the indicated circumstances or with composed texts – as part of it: a tendency towards a rather grotesque kind of humour.'
    I can hear much of this in the very likeable works on this album, but the piece that stands out for me is the four-movement Sinfonietta from 1917. Although Strauss was apparently the greatest influence on Wagenaar's music, the gorgeous slow movement in particular, in the shape and flow of the melody, sounds very like it might be a homage to Mahler. I've read elsewhere that Wagenaar conducted a couple of Mahler's symphonies (3 and 4) so I assume the similarity was intentional (assuming, of course that Wagenaar knew Mahler's music in 1917!).
    There are numerous Mahlerian touches elsewhere in the Sinfonietta too, I find. Definitely worth checking out if you're a Mahler fan and curious what "lighter" Mahler might have sounded like!

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    Senior Member Kivimees's Avatar
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    I haven't heard your CD. Have you heard mine?

    Wagenaar.jpg

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    Moderator Nereffid's Avatar
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    No, just that one disc.
    Of course he's on my radar now, but then so are a billion other things.

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    Senior Member Kivimees's Avatar
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    Both are in the Naxos Library, so I'll try to listen to yours when time permits.

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    Senior Member Kivimees's Avatar
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    I managed to listen to your CD late yesterday evening. Both are pleasant enough, but there is a degree of "sameness" about them, so I can't say which I prefer.

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