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Rudolf Escher (1912-1980)


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Author Topic: Rudolf Escher (1912-1980)  (Read 46 times)
kyjo
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« on: October 11, 2017, 06:52:26 pm »

Escher's Musique pour l'esprit en deuil for orchestra is a truly remarkable WWII-era piece that vividly reflects the spirit of the times. To my ears, it is a very individual work that doesn't really sound like much else that I've heard - perhaps Honegger is the closest point of comparison. The orchestration is constantly ear-catching. Do yourself a favour and check it out:

His Sonata concertante for cello and piano is another striking, turmoil-filled work that reaches an ecstatic, hard-won conclusion:

I'm really looking forward to exploring the rest of Escher's modest output. Based on what I've heard, he's a highly individual composer who deserves much wider attention. Any other admirers of Escher's music?
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Christo
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... an opening of those magic casements ...


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« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2017, 07:16:46 pm »

I'm really looking forward to exploring the rest of Escher's modest output. Based on what I've heard, he's a highly individual composer who deserves much wider attention. Any other admirers of Escher's music?
Of course. Though not one of the better known names, he's still performed often enough in this country. One of the other big shots is the Hymne du grand Meaulnes (1951):


'Rudolf Escher was a Dutch composer. From 1916 to 1921 he lived with his parents on Java, where his father worked as a geologist and mineralogist. Back in the Netherlands he studied the piano, the violin and harmony privately. At the Rotterdam Conservatory he studied the piano (1931-1937) and composition (with Pijper, 1934-1937). Until 1940 he lived in Rotterdam, where most of his scores were destroyed during the bombing by the Germans in May of that year.
During World War II Escher composed Musique pour l'esprit en deuil (1941-1943), which was first performed in 1947 by the Concertgebouw Orchestra under van Beinum and which made him overnight the most important composer in the Netherlands. From 1945 until his death he lived in Amsterdam. After a short study at the Electronic Studio of the Delft Technical University he taught (1960-1961) at the Amsterdam Conservatory. From 1964 to 1977 he taught theory of contemporary music at the University of Utrecht. The result of his teaching is to be found in many studies in the field of music theory and audiology. He was also a talented writer and painter, continuing to publish poetry in literary magazines until well into the 1950s. From 1945-1946 he wrote on music and art for the [weekly] Groene Amsterdammer.'
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… music is not only an `entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.  RVW, 1948

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