uttering but a single word. In the Andantino, the solo entry with its descending broken chord symbolises the apparition of a heavenly messenger, and after several recurrences, the same motif also quietly closes the movement. The Finale with its snappy rhythms, is a tribute to Telemann, the Vivaldi of the North

I composed the Violin Concerto in 2008 in Oxford for Simon Standage. The initial proud and festive Allegro suggests the opening of a royal ceremony. The Adagio evokes sleep, with the spirit represented by the violin solo, and the body by the accompaniment which plays in unison an ostinato motif. The gigue-like Finale wraps up the concerto with a compelling gesture.

The Cello Concerto, written in Canada in 2005, sounds a grimmer note. It alludes to the Battle of Britain in which the German Luftwaffe failed to annihilate the Royal Air Force’s Fighter Command of which in August 1940 Sir Winston Churchill declared: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”. The lyrical Adagio represents the Divine Grace, at once comforting and inspiring these valiant pilots. Here the solo is only sparsely accompanied by two violins playing pizzicato in unison; both parts of this movement are repeated in an ornamented version. In the quick outer movements, as in Vivaldi’s early concertos a cinque, the cello alternates between its independent concertato and its basso continuo role. In the Finale, notably, the cello and the strings frequently play in dialogue, completing each other’s musical gestures. After a final cadenza, the movement resumes with its opening ritornello, before fading away.

The Recorder Concerto which I composed on the French Côte d’Azur in 2001, is the most concise of the five concertos. In the quick movements, the ritornello and its Da Capo (the literal repeat of the initial ritornello ending of a movement) appear to frame one continuous solo, as in the preludes of J.S. Bach’s English Suites. The opening theme of the first movement recalls the restrained character of instrumental sinfonia in German church cantatas. The pastoral middle movement with its slowly shifting harmonies, marries melody with texture, characteristic of music from Venice. The opening of the Finale with its syncopations, suspensions and irregular metrical groupings brings in an element of wit, and the recorder provides ample virtuoso display with its warbling arpeggios, culminating just before the end in one of its highest notes.

 

©Hendrik Bouman

  

Recorded at Vicount Gage’s historical manor, Firle Place - East Sussex, United Kingdom, www.firle.com

The Five Baroque Concertos for Anna are the fruit of the sweet and persuasive requests from my beloved wife and muse Anna, that I would compose new concertos in the style we both love. Today’s result is that, over the last seventeen years, I have written near 100 works in Baroque and Classical style, of which two-thirds have been premiered, including the five concertos of this recording, premiered by The Baroque Muse in Brighton, England.

My Five Baroque Concertos for Anna are a tribute to those masters who ventured into the concerto genre when it was still young. Historically, the concerto was born in Italy around the end of the 17th Century, and was rapidly imitated throughout Europe, but retained always some of its original Italian flavour.


One of the characteristic formal principles of the Baroque concerto to which I adhere in most movements is the familiar Vivaldian ritornello format in which the orchestral opening recurs throughout a movement, in full, reduced, varied, or in different tonalities, emphasising the contrast between the solo and tutti (literally - everyone) sections. The Flute Concerto and the Cello Concerto also contain characteristics of the Post-Baroque, notably in elements from the Galant style with its ideal of textural transparency, and in the dramatic effects and nervous rhythms typical of the German Empfindsamkeit (literally - sensibility).

I wrote the Harpsichord Concerto originally as a solo composition which I recorded in 1997 on the CD Little Notebook for Anna 1. The opening Allegro of the concerto, with its quick ascension of two octaves, evokes the busy hauling of sails in a Mediterranean port. The lilting Siciliano ‘whispering miracles’ is dedicated to Anna’s Italian friend, Sister Modesta. In the Finale, I use the cantus firmus principle of the German choral fantasy by weaving into my score musical phrases from ‘Jerusalem’, a hymn composed by Hastings Parry (1848-1918). This hymn on the words of William Blake (1757-1827) was first adopted by the British Royal Air Force, and became, in 1940, the unofficial anthem of Great Britain, for rallying the country in its direst need.

The Flute Concerto, completed on New Year’s Day 2009 in Sussex, is minimally scored without a viola or double bass. The result is an intimate sound texture which has a distinctive French quality. The opening ritornello of the first movement displays an array of contrasting sentiments, followed by the halting flute motif which evokes the entry of an actor on stage

"Bouman's writing is elegant...both delightful and tasteful in its joie-de-vivre and bravura... bristling with energy, elegance, dialogue. Bouman's scoring for strings is exemplary. Bouman does not compromise when it comes to his choice of players, the disc sparkles with instrumental performance at its best.              The Harpsichord & Piano Magazine, UK. Printemps 2012

Harpsichord Concerto in D major - Soloist Hendrik Bouman

Violin Concerto in D major - Soloist Simon Standage

Cello Concerto in A minor - Soloist Tormod Dalen

Recorder Concerto in C major - Soloist Heiko ter Schegget

Flute Concerto in E minor - Soloist Grégoire Jeay

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Notes on the CD 5 Baroque Concertos for Anna

Hendrik BOUMAN - Composer / Soloist / Direction

LINKS / LIENS

BIOGRAPHIES

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Baroque SaMuse

Hendrik Bouman  [NL/FR] - direction, harpsichord

Simon STANDAGE  [UK] - violin

Olivier BRAULT  [CA] - violin

Heiko ter Schegget  [NL] - recorder

Grégoire Jeay  [CA] - traverse flute

Hajo Bäss   [D] - viola

Tormod Dalen [N/FR] - cello