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ALPHONS DIEPENBROCK

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Alphons Diepenbrock

Period

02-09-1862 - 05-04-1921

Genre

classical, componist, romantic

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Alphons Diepenbrock

Alphons Diepenbrock is a classicist and composer. Owing in part to this unique combination, he is one of the most interesting personalities in Dutch musical life around 1900. Without developing an actual teacher-student relationship, he serves as a mentor to many much younger composers. He is an inspiration for Jan ...
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componist

Mentioned in the biography of

1878   Henri Zagwijn
1906   Jan Ingenhoven
1908   Hubert Cuypers
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Biography Alphons Diepenbrock

Alphons Diepenbrock is a classicist and composer. Owing in part to this unique combination, he is one of the most interesting personalities in Dutch musical life around 1900. Without developing an actual teacher-student relationship, he serves as a mentor to many much younger composers. He is an inspiration for Jan Ingenhoven, Matthijs Vermeulen, Hendrik Andriessen and Willem Pijper. Diepenbrock’s great interest in literature finds expression in the texts and themes in his many vocal compositions. He is also the author of many essays. Diepenbrock is a self-taught composer.

1862 - 1882

Alphons Diepenbrock is born on September 2, 1862, in Amsterdam and is raised in a Catholic family with five children. He is drawn to music during his childhood and plays the piano and violin. His parents do not support his wish to enrol in a conservatory, and he studies classical literature. Inspired by literary friends such as Willem Kloos, he often composes songs. He is the first composer to set poetry of De Tachtigers [The Eighties Group, a Dutch literary movement that included Kloos] to music. In this, he was greatly influenced by Richard Wagner.

1888 - 1896

Diepenbrock receives his degree from the University of Amsterdam with a thesis on Seneca: L. Annaei Senecae philosophi Cordubensis vita. That year he becomes a teacher of classical languages at the gymnasium in ’s-Hertogenbosch. In his free time, he composes and writes essays on a wide range of topics, including music, painting, literature, philosophy, social history and politics, for publications such as De Nieuwe Gids and De Kroniek. In the shadow of St. John’s Cathedral, he works on his first large-scale composition, the Mass. This work for double men’s choir, tenor and organ, mixes diverse stylistic elements from Gregorian chant and 16th-century polyphony, and is influenced by Wagner. The plans for a performance of the Mass come to nothing, but the score is published, with illustrations by the artist Antoon Derkinderen.

1895 - 1907

Diepenbrock marries Elisabeth de Jong van Beek en Donk (1868-1939), whom he got to know in ’s-Hertogenbosch. The couple move to Amsterdam, where Diepenbrock gives private lessons in classical languages and spends more time composing. They have two children: Joanna (1905-1966) and Thea (1907-1995). During this period, he writes various orchestral songs, on Romantic poems by Novalis, for example.

1902 - 1910

With Willem Mengelberg and Bernard Zweers, Diepenbrock prepares the First Netherlands Music Festival, in 1902. The premiere of his Te Deum at the festival’s opening is a great success, and the work is thought of as one of the most important pieces of the modern era. Gustav Mahler comes to Amsterdam in 1903, and he and Diepenbrock develop a close friendship in which they discuss their thoughts on music. Through studying the scores of contemporaries such as Mahler and Richard Strauss, Diepenbrock improves his ability at orchestration. With Die Nacht, he introduces a new genre, the “symphonic lied”. The finely nuanced instrumentation, with which he evokes a nocturnal atmosphere, is equally important as the vocal aspect. The scoring with harp, mandoline, solo violin and woodwinds is evocative, merging the influence of Mahler and Debussy.

Bernard Zweers Willem Mengelberg

1910 - 1921

Diepenbrock gradually distances himself from Germanic culture, a tendency that strengthens at the outbreak of World War I. The Verlaine and Baudelaire songs illustrate his growing interest in French culture. In Marsyas, the first of his Toneelmuzieken [pieces for the theatre], Debussy can be heard. His collaboration with the director Willem Royaards leads to several more great compositions for the theatre, the incidental music for Gysbrecht van Aemstel, Faust and Elektra. He is unable to conduct the premiere of the last-named piece – Alphons Diepenbrock dies on April 5, 1921. Shortly after his death, a group of admirers establishes the Alphons Diepenbrock Fund, which publishes his many as yet unpublished works.

2012

Muziek Centrum Nederland and foundation Het Alphons Diepenbrock-Fonds present the CD box ‘Anniversary Edition’ at the occasion of Diepenbrock's 150th birthday. The box with 8 CD's is released by Etcetera Records in the Dutch Composers Series.

Discography Alphons Diepenbrock

In the discography you will find all recordings that have been released listed chronologically. We restrict ourselves to the title, the type of audio, year of publication or recording, label, list of guest musicians, plus any comments on the issue.

Photos Alphons Diepenbrock

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