Program Booklet

Wouter meets Rembrandt

Saturday, June 10
20:15 hours

Tonight our concertmaster Wouter Vossen meets the extraordinary jazz pianist and composer Rembrandt Frerichs in the Nieuwe Kerk. They will perform the classics of chamber music: Mozart's Adagio & Fuge and Haydn's Symphony No. 94. These pieces flank the world premiere of Frerich's Third Piano Concerto. Our townsman is known for his quirky music, with innovative style combinations - from jazz to classical.


Inspiration is the common thread in this program. General and artistic director Sven Arne Tepl asked jazz pianist and composer Rembrandt Frerichs, known for his idiosyncratic and innovative style combinations, to compose a piano concerto for the Residentie Orkest, in which he himself would play the premiere. Just as it was in the days of Mozart and Beethoven. Both excellent pianists, who often wrote their piano concertos for their own use. Rembrandt: "In classical music this practice has unfortunately disappeared. You now have composers or performing musicians, but they rarely coincide. Unjustly, I think. With this piano concerto, I also want to bring improvisation back into classical music. The middle movement is one big improvisation for piano, so the piece can sound different at every concert.'

Rembrandt's Third Piano Concerto is embraced by two unique works by Mozart and Haydn: Mozart's most inspired Fugue, introduced by a dark Adagio, and the "surprise symphony" of the ever-inventive Haydn. Grieg's lyrical mood piece The Last Spring was inspired by poetry.


'Angular outbursts alternate with unearthly silence; suggestions of violence and mysticism make the fugue's subsequent geometry a breath of fresh air,' wrote American musicologist, pianist and composer Robert D. Levine about Mozart's 1788 Adagio and Fugue in c KV 546. The work begins with a mysterious, poignant and profound Adagio that is not inferior in expression and intensity to Mozart's heartbreaking Requiem. But in the ensuing Fugue, Mozart returns to earth, although even this movement, in which the composer drew on the teachings of Bach and Haydn, has a stern and philosophical air. For the Fugue, Mozart reached back to his Fugue in c for two pianos (KV 426), which he wrote as early as 1783 after being introduced to Bach's counterpoint thanks to the Viennese music connoisseur Baron von Swieten. Why Mozart wrote this piece initially composed for string quartet while working on his Last three symphonies has never been fully clarified. Possibly it was a commission, as Mozart needed money and music publisher Hoffmeister published the piece. But it may also have been a finger exercise for the intricate counterpoint with which Mozart concludes his Jupiter Symphony. In this music, Mozart looks both backward to Bach and the world of the Baroque, and forward through the boldness of his counterpoint.


In the time of Mozart and Beethoven, the improvisational element in music was quite common. New piano compositions were by no means always written out in full, especially if the composer himself was the soloist. They sometimes thought up the solo part only during the concert. Even in the cadences, Mozart, Beethoven and some of their contemporaries gleefully improvised, just as old Bach had done on the organ. Building on this tradition, Rembrandt Frerichs, in his Piano Concerto No. 3 a "black page" of prescribed notes for the orchestra, then in the middle movement, as a soloist, he allows himself to be inspired by the moment from a "white page. The musical fantasy takes its unique form during the concert, and because of this creative starting point, each performance of the work will be different. Comments made up on the spot and musical incursions by the composer, promise to make each performance of this Third Piano Concerto a compelling, for the listener extraordinary experience.
All of Rembrandt's work is an ode to the multiplicity of the world in general and the world of music in particular, a celebration of polyphony. It is sometimes said of Gershwin that his best improvisations sounded as if they were composed. In Rembrandt's music, on the other hand, you often hear the opposite: composed music that sounds as if it were improvised, but for the classical musicians on stage, all the notes are on paper anyway. To bring to life the complex harmonies in the orchestra and the at times highly virtuosic piano part, the Residentie Orkest under the direction of concertmaster Wouter Vossen and Rembrandt work closely together. The commissioned work in two movements reflects Rembrandt's profound understanding of contemporary musical building blocks. In this Piano Concerto , the first movement weaves together melodic lines with the complex harmonies and rhythmic long cycles typical of Rembrandt's music, creating an intriguing and compelling soundscape. The second movement of the composition is infused with emotion and takes the audience on a journey full of expressive contrasts, from delicate intimacy to compelling melodic power. Free improvisation joins the two movements together.

The romantic mood piece The Last spring is from Two Elegiac Melodies, op. 34, a composition in two movements for string orchestra that Edvard Grieg completed in 1880, after which the work was first published in 1881. The Last spring is based on the poem Våren by the Norwegian poet Vinje, whose poetry was close to Grieg's heart. In this poem, Vinje describes the beauty of the countryside in spring, which appears after the snow of winter. Like the melancholy Vinje, Grieg, who was plagued by ailments and depressed moods, thinks he might see that spring for the Last time.


Haydn wrote Symphony No. 94 in G in London in 1791 for a concert series he gave during his first visit to England (1791-1792). The inventive and often humorous "inventor of the classical symphony," was already a widely respected composer among colleagues at the time, but his travels to London made him famous to the general public as well. Haydn loved to lead his listeners astray, surprising them with something new or completely unexpected. He did that in this four-movement work with the infamous pause in the second movement, the Andante, which moved the overwhelmed audience to a loud "Encore! Encore! But the symphony as a whole also garnered high praise. One English reviewer called the work "simple, profound and sublime," and the Morning Herald reported, "The hall was packed last night... A new composition by a man like Haydn is a great event in the history of music. His novelty this time was a great Overture, the subject of which was remarkably simple, but extended to enormous complications, excellently modulated and striking in effect. The applause of the critics was fervent and abundant. The symphony's premiere took place at the Hanover Square Rooms in London on March 23, 1792, with Haydn leading the orchestra from a fortepiano. Wouter Vossen, conducting from the concertmaster's chair, "After this energetic and elegant work by Haydn, musicians and audience alike will leave the hall with smiles on their faces.

Wenneke Savenije


Residentie Orkest The Hague
Annual reach of over 40,000 schoolchildren, adults and amateur musicians in educational projects. Part of this is The Residents, through which the orchestra brings hundreds of children from districts in The Hague into contact with classical music.
Wouter Vossen
Violin & artistic direction
Wouter Vossen has now been concertmaster at the Residentie Orkest for five years. He is also a violinist in the Storioni Trio, which is creating a furor far beyond the country's borders and will even perform with the Residentie Orkest next season.
Rembrandt Frerichs
Rembrandt Frerichs is a Dutch jazz pianist and composer. Especially for the Residentie Orkest , he wrote his Third Piano Concerto, which has its world premiere today.

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