“The title of Flothuis' 'Zoeken naar zuiverheid en schoonheid' [Search for purity and beauty], his 'in memoriam' for his friend Witold Lutoslawski, could actually also stand as the motto of Flothuis' own compositions. Clarity and balance are the characteristic traits with regard to form and idiom as well as instrumentation” ...
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Biography Marius Flothuis
“The title of Flothuis' 'Zoeken naar zuiverheid en schoonheid' [Search for purity and beauty], his 'in memoriam' for his friend Witold Lutoslawski, could actually also stand as the motto of Flothuis' own compositions. Clarity and balance are the characteristic traits with regard to form and idiom as well as instrumentation” (J.Kiliaan). Leo Samama describes Marius Flothuis as follows: “A lyricist pur sang, an artisan who eschews bombast of any sort and with great integrity and musical modesty practices his craft”. In addition to composing, Flothuis makes an impact as a musicologist, organizer and author. He has a long affiliation with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, first as a programme editor and later as artistic director. As a musicologist, he specialises in Mozart and is internationally active in this field. Flothuis is largely self-taught as a composer. In spite of his many other activities, he composes over 100 pieces.
1914 - 1932
Marius Flothuis is born October 30 in Amsterdam. As a child he plays piano four hands with his older brother. At secondary school (the Vossius Gymnasium) he secretly composes a cadenza for a Haydn piano concerto during one of his lessons.
1932 - 1935
Marius Flothuis studies the piano with Bé Boef and Arend Koole and the piano and music theory with Hans Brandt Buys. He studies musicology with Albert Smijers and K. Bernet Kempers at the Universty of Amsterdam. Together with the future publisher Geert van Ooorschot, publicist Jacques de Kadt and Dutch-language authority Garmt Stuiveling, he is a member of a small leftist political party, the Independent Socialist Party. Though the party never wins a seat in parliament, but often draws attention with its playful manifestations.
1937 - 1939
Flothuis is the assistant of the Concertgebouw's artistic director. With the 'Four Morgenstern Songs' for soprano and piano (1938), he makes his breakthrough as a composer, in part owing to Bertus van Lier's advice to make a symphonic version of the work. It is performed by the Concertgebouw Orchestra under Eduard van Beinum.
His first book, 'Mozart', is published. What he finds appealing in Mozart's music is the “balance in the instrumentation” and the “balance between form and content”.
1942 - 1944
Flothuis must abandon his work because he does not want to collaborate with the Nazis. He is held prisoner in Germany. 1944: from the diary of T. Wibaut-Guilonard, a former prisoner at the Nazi's Camp Vught: “Everard plays for his fellow prisoners the Aubade that his friend Marius Flothuis wrote for his birthday. A premiere in Camp Vught!” Flothuis also composes the 'Flute Concerto' and 'Valses sentimentales' this year.
1945 - 1946
Flothuis completes the 'Horn Concerto'. He writes music reviews for Het Vrije Volk and works as the Donemus Foundation's librarian.
1949 - 1950
His book “Contemporary English Composers” is published. He completes the 'Partita' for violin and piano (1950).
Wouter Paap writes of Flothuis: “[…] along with this also came the task of bringing about a resolution between his intellectual predisposition on the one hand and his lyrical nature on the other. It appears that he has already entered the final stretch in this, making these seemingly contradictory characteristics useful to his creative talent.”
Flothuis is awarded the Prize of the Northern California Harpists Association for the 'Sonata da camera' (op. 42, 1951) for flute and harp. He finishes the 'String Quartet', op. 44. Flothuis says of the work: “The heavy tensions of the beginning, intensified by the Lento and Allegro appassionato, find via the Allegro their release in the coda of the last movement. A 'happy ending', if you will, though not in an ecstatic mood, but more one of inner harmony”.
1953 - 1954
He works at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw as a programme editor. Flothuis completes the 'Valses nobles' (op. 52, 1954) for piano four hands.
1955 - 1974
He becomes artistic director of the Concertgebouw Orchestra. In the 1960s the orchestra profiles itself as one of the great Bruckner and Mahler orchestras. Under Flothuis' leadership, contemporary music is also presented, in a special series whose participants included Pierre Boulez.
1956 - 1957
The 'Quartet' for strings (1952) wins the Prof. Van der Leeuw Prize. Flothuis composes 'Symphonic Music' (opus 59).
He is awarded the Prize of the Ministry of Education, Arts and Sciences for 'Symphonic Music'. Flothuis' concertos are “sooner dialogues for solo instrument and a hefty chamber music ensemble than heroic battles between an individual and a collective”. [E. Overbeeke]
1965 - 1969
Flothuis complets 'Hymnus' (on a libretto by Ingeborg Bachman) for soprano and orchestra. He earned his doctoral degree at the University of Amsterdam with the thesis 'Mozarts Bearbeitungen eigener und fremder Werke' (1969).
He becomes a professor of musicology at Utrecht University. Aside from Mozart, his musicological interests are Claudio Monteverdi, Franz Schubert and Gustav Mahler, as well as French music from 1880 to 1920, and female composers. His “Notes on Notes: Selected Essays” is published.
1980 - 1994
Flothuis works in Salzburg as chairman of the Zentralinstitut für Mozart-Forschung. “Denken over Muziek” [Thinking About Music] is published in 1993.
Marius Flothuis dies on November 13 in Amsterdam.
Discography Marius Flothuis
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