© Chris Green, November 2010
On the British side of the
So let me start with performers of whom I was well aware: Kathleen Ferrier (contralto), the Concertgebouw Orchestra and Otto Klemperer. The only soloist of whom I had little recall was Dutch soloist Jo Vincent. She was a regular performer during the period between the World Wars, but the recording in which she features was made in 1951 as part of the Holland Festival. Ferrier was in the finest of voices for Mahler's Symphony No 2 (Resurrection). By that time she was critically ill, and the marvel is that the performance has such radiance. 6 July 1951 must be remembered as yielding one of the greatest of Mahler performances in which the Concertgebouw was joined by the Amsterdam Toonkunstkoor, and the CD together with its accompanying booklet has been put together with obvious loving care for release on the Guild label (Guild GHCD 2210).
Another Dutch soprano features in French music with
the late Robert Shaw conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Elly Ameling is also in glorious
voice for this 1985 Telarc recording of Berlioz's song cycle Les
Nuits d'été and the orchestra completes the release with the
four movements form the suite of incidental music Faure composed for
Pelléas et Melisande
(Telarc CD-80084). Ameling made
Friedrich Gernsheim (1839-1916)
is, as far as I was concerned, a totally unknown quantity: that is
until I was sent a double-CD featuring four symphonies by him. A friend
of Brahms, this makes itself only too apparent in the orchestral textures.
Conservative music it may be, but there is a sure grasp of the orchestral
palette and of the four, each is different in spirit - not in the
same way as, say, the symphonies of contemporary Mahler, but never
do they outstay their welcome. The link with Holland?
Well, Gernsheim was Kapellmester in
Which finally brings me to the
real thing - a Dutch composer and Dutch orchestra. The Residentie Orchestra of