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Cat. No. CHAN 9796 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9796 - Hol: Symphonies Nos 1 & 3
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Available From: 17 February 2000
The son of an Amsterdam milkman, Richard Hol proved to be exceptionally musical from a very early age. He studied at the Royal Music School in Amsterdam and after graduating in 1844 earned a living teaching piano, organ, and music theory. From 1854 he became evermore popular as a conductor, especially for the many choirs the Netherlands counted in the nineteenth century. As a composer he was very nationalistic, and gave much energy to initiatives supporting a Dutch opera company, with which he premiered many Dutch operas and had success with his own opera Floris V (1892). After a severe illness in 1895, Hol gradually retired from his numerous duties in Dutch musical life.

A large part of Hol’s working life was taken up as a choral and vocal conductor or accompanist. As a result, a significant amount of his output is given over to choral and vocal music. His instrumental music is smaller in amount and is largely due to his activities as a conductor in this area. Most of his orchestral works are related to his appointments in Utrecht and The Hague

Hol’s First Symphony was completed nad first performed in 1863 and awarded a prize by the Maatschappij tot Bevordering der Toonkunst later that year. A striking feature of the four-movement symphony (Larghetto – Allegro con fuoco, Larghetto, Presto and Allegro molto) is the well-balanced orchestration. Although Liszt’s and Wagner’s orchestrational bravura is lacking (as in most Dutch music of that time), the wind instruments are beautifully exposed by tuneful melodies within a naturally-sounding harmonic flow, reminiscent of Schubert’s ‘Great’ C-major Symphony. The melodies are typically Dutch: they are modest with a somewhat stiff progression.

Hol’s Third Symphony, the Symphony in B flat major, op. 101, was completed by 1884 and dedicated to Anton Rubenstein, but it has been conjectured that its real date of composition may be 1867 and that it was not published until a later date. It is a four-movement symphony and is more adventurous than any other of his symphonies in harmonic structure, instrumentation and counterpoint although the melodies are less catchy. Nevertheless the Mendelssohnian Scherzo is enchanting and the intimate Nachtmusik with its scherzo-like interludes is quite accomplished.

Matthias Bamert and the Hague Residentie Orchestra are obviously persuaded by them [the works of Hol] and engage our sympathies too. Excellent, well-balanced Chandos sound in the best traditions of the house.
International Record Review

The music is fresh, unpretentious, well crafted and falls easily on the ear, especially in this sympathetic performance.

Matthias Bamert is just the man for such material … The Hague players would appear to be enjoying themselves: The music bounces along in the faster movements and glows with real warmth in the slower ones. The recorded sound is as good as Chandos has led us to expect …


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