De cd ‘Widmung’ bevat muziek voor gitaar en clavecimbel van Kees Arntzen. Alle werken zijn gecomponeerd in de periode 1979 – 2002. Delen uit de compositie Widmung werden al in april 2001 door gitarist Wim Hoogewerf uitgevoerd en opgenomen ten behoeve van Radio 4. Deze gelijknamige cd met oude en nieuwe werken voor gitaar, klavecimbel en de combinatie van beide in Knipoog kwam een jaar later uit. Hieronder vindt u twee luistervoorbeelden en een professionele recensie van deze cd. Hoe denkt u over deze muziek van Kees Arntzen?
Muziekjournaliste Thea Derks schreef het volgende over deze cd:
Whereas his two elder brothers had dutifully yet fruitlessly practised the piano, Kees Arntzen (Amsterdam 1957) got smitten with the sound of a friend’s guitar when he was thirteen. ‘The instrument chose me’, Arntzen once said, ‘its introverted sound fits my character wonderfully’. He plucked popular chord progressions until his teacher fell ill and he found a classical guitar method in the public library. He soon developed a love for composers such as Bach and his contemporary Silvius Leopold Weiss, a renowned lutenist. Arntzen then studied music education and guitar at Amsterdam Conservatory, and musicology at Amsterdam University, making his first attempts at composition along the way. After graduating in 1982 he moved to Vienna to study composition, guitar, and musical theory, gratefully immersing himself in a cultural climate that still favoured expressionist composers such as Berg, Webern and Cerha. – Their twelve-tone techniques had found their way into his earliest compositions. Returning to Holland in 1985, Arntzen worked as a teacher, performer, concert programmer, and orchestral manager, but found these activities interfered with his compositional output. He therefore started composition classes with Daan Manneke in 1998, unleashing a steady flow of new compositions.
Arntzen wrote his Guitar Variations (1978) while studying contemporary techniques with Ton de Leeuw. Eleven four-tone chords are distilled from a twelve-tone row by means of rotation: nrs. 1, 2, 3, 4 sounding together, followed by nrs. 5, 6, 7, 8 etc. These form the basis of the composition, together with a second theme derived from the bass notes. A different playing technique is employed in every variation, ranging from dreamy arpeggio’s (3, 7), subtle tremolos (5) and ethereal harmonics (8) to obsessive slaps (10) and flamenco-like strumming (2).
Knipoog (Wink, 1982/rev.2001) was written at the request of the guitar/harpsichord duo Wim Hoogewerf/Thora Johannssen in 1982. Since the two were playing one of Bach’s Trio Sonatas at the time, Arntzen decided to embed polyphonic textures and imitative passages in an otherwise contemporary context of ‘typically Dutch droning chords’, thus creating an unlikely synthesis between Bach and the ‘Hague School’ of Louis Andriessen.
l’Europe changeante (1999) is one of the first pieces Arntzen wrote under the tutorship of Daan Manneke. Inspired by baroque harpsichordists such as Rameau, who often attributed feminine titles to their pieces, Arntzen chose to portray several women friends in music. In La Mona Lisa de Porto a sweet melody, combined with harmonies of thirds and sixths, creates an atmosphere of innocent temptation; jumpy melodies in La Suédoise refer to the Swedish singer Lisa Larson; harmonies of fifths in L’Inglesa a Voghera evoke the sound of the viola of an English friend, whereas the ‘waltz-gone-wrong’ in La Bavaroise conjures up the image of a southern German girl.
Widmung (Dedication, 2000) is dedicated to Gunter Schneider, an Austrian guitarist and composer with whom Arntzen played his own micro-tonal composition Onder ons (Among Us, 1981) at the festival Aspekte in Salzburg (1985). Schneider having written a piece for solo guitar called For You & Fortissimo, Arntzen wished to honour his friend with a composition likewise based on musical puns. The resulting six-part suite abounds in hidden musical references and a wide variety of playing techniques. Voor jou en voorspel (For you and foreplay) sets out quoting a minimal etude by Schneider, but evolves into chaos because of increasingly ‘ugly’ sounds, and the detuning of the bottom string. In For You and Forlorn Hope Arntzen contrives to combine the lamento-motif from Dowland’s famous lute fantasy with allusions to blues as well as modern complexity. A toi et atonale is based on a soggeto cavato derived from Schneider’s initials, initially handled in strict twelve-tone technique, but gradually taking on a seemingly tonal guise. The concluding Per te e perdendosi is a travesty of a bossa nova, undermined by nagging triplets (played by Arntzen himself in this recording), and slowly degenerating into banale new-age whimpering. Widmung is one of Arntzen’s most compelling compositions to date.
Geschreven door Thea Derks