Henri Zagwijn is a self-taught composer and very active in Dutch musical life. He tried to find his inner self in the midst of the various trends of the day. Impressionism and expressionism, poly- and atonality, poly-rhythmics and poly-metrics found their reflections in his works, but realising that in all ...
Biography Henri Zagwijn
Henri Zagwijn is a self-taught composer and very active in Dutch musical life. He tried to find his inner self in the midst of the various trends of the day. Impressionism and expressionism, poly- and atonality, poly-rhythmics and poly-metrics found their reflections in his works, but realising that in all these contrasts and experiments the true essence of music threatened to get lost, he occupied himself all the time the question how, in the ever-changing sound-pattern of the 20th century, works could be created that might give modern man new emotions. More and more Zagwijn has succeeded in writing music with a personal character, music of great sensitiveness and a strongly concentrated form. His oeuvre, which mainly consists of chamber music with remarkably subtle combinations, gives a convincing answer to this question. Henri Zagwijn is a follower of the anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner.
1878 - 1913
Henri Zagwijn is born in Nieuwer-Amstel near Amsterdam on July 17. He grows up in Rotterdam where he receives his first composition lessons from his elder brother Jules, violinist with the Rotterdam Symphony Orchestra. From 1898 to 1918 Zagwijn is a teacher at a primary school in Rotterdam. In 1915 he becomes a member of the Anthroposophic Society.
1914 - 1931
In 1914 Henri Zagwijn gains his first great success as a composer with 'Der Zauberlehrling' (on a text by Johann Wolfgang Goethe) for tenor, baritone, choir and orchestra. From 1916 to 1931 he is a head teacher at the Rotterdam School of Music, and from 1924 to 1941 he is a teacher at the Steiner School in The Hague. In 1918 he is co-founder with Sem Dresden and Daniel Ruyneman of the Society for Contemporary Music in the Netherlands. Zagwijn writes 'Muziek in het licht der antroposofie' (Music in the light of anthroposophy), published by Van Esso, Rotterdam in 1925.
1932 - 1945
The next milestone in his career as a composer is the composition 'Strijksextet' (1932). Henri Zagwijn admires Claude Debussy and writes the book 'Debussy', published by Krusemann in 1941.
Of late years other important works come into being, such as 'Concertante' for flute and orchestra (1941), two 'Concertantes' for piano and orchestra (1939 and 1946) and Mystère for harp and piano (1941), a peculiar combination of which Zagwijn makes a remarkable fine use. The harp plays an important part in his compositions. In 1948 he writes a 'Concerto' for harp and orchestra after having previously, in various chamber music works, combined the harp with string and wind instruments. Zagwijn writes also works for piano, for choir and songs (a.o. 'Musik zur Eurythmie' for piano (1926), 'Morgenzang', a vocalise for soprano and ensemble (1937) and 'Vom Jahreslauf' (1938) on texts by Rudolf Steiner, for choir and orchestra).
1946 - 1954
Henri Zagwijn is for several years president of the Geneco (Society of Dutch Composers) and he is a member of the first board of the foundation Donemus. Zagwijn dies on October 23, 1954 at The Hague.
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.
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