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RC 28 Rey van burchtsaeten (“Waar werd oprechter trouw”)

text source

Albert Verwey, Een inleiding tot Vondel (Amsterdam: Versluys 1893), 83-109 ♦ Dichterlijke werken van Joost van den Vondel Vol. 7 (Amsterdam: Westerman 1821), 183-260

first performance

1894-05-30 00:00:00.0 Amsterdam, Concertgebouw

dedicatees

recordings

  • Alphons Diepenbrock and the Golden Age Composer's Voice Classics CV 121
  • Anniversary Edition 7 Et'cetera KTC 1435 CD7

publications

  • Luxe editie of Vondel's Gijsbrecht van Aemstel Vol II, *.* Erven F. Bohn, De 6557960
  • Rey van Burchtsaeten Erven F. Bohn, De 6557960
  • Vier Vierstemmige Liederen voor Sopraan, Alt Tenor en Bas Van Looy 7522979

  • Rey van burchtsaeten (“Waar werd oprechter trouw”)
  • Vondel, Joost van den
  • mixed choir a cappella
  • 1892-09-10 00:00:00.0 - 1892-11-30 00:00:00.0 | revised 1893-09-26 00:00:00.0 - 1894-09-25 00:00:00.0
  • duration 10:00

Diepenbrock’s interest in Joost van den Vondel, the greatest Dutch poet from the Golden Era, was kindled at an early age. Both of his parents were members of a society that came together to read plays. Meetings regularly took place in the Diepenbrock residence. The cultivated group had a broad interest: besides classical authors such as Schiller, Goethe, Lessing and Shakespeare, it also explored contemporary French writers such as Dumas and Hugo in the original language. However, its favourites were Bredero and Vondel, whose poetry Diepenbrock was brought up with. The society was founded by a cousin of Diepenbrock’s mother, J.A. Alberdingk Thijm, one of the leaders of the Catholic revival and the driving force of the Vondel renaissance that took place in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Thijm wrote popularising articles, evoking images of Amsterdam at the time the Golden Era, with Joost van den Vondel as main character. Thijm’s poems and novels inspired the young Diepenbrock’s love for “the beautiful and famous city” (as Vondel called it). …more >

Rey van burchtsaeten (incipit)


Diepenbrock’s interest in Joost van den Vondel, the greatest Dutch poet from the Golden Era, was kindled at an early age. Both of his parents were members of a society that came together to read plays. Meetings regularly took place in the Diepenbrock residence. The cultivated group had a broad interest: besides classical authors such as Schiller, Goethe, Lessing and Shakespeare, it also explored contemporary French writers such as Dumas and Hugo in the original language. However, its favourites were Bredero and Vondel, whose poetry Diepenbrock was brought up with. The society was founded by a cousin of Diepenbrock’s mother, J.A. Alberdingk Thijm, one of the leaders of the Catholic revival and the driving force of the Vondel renaissance that took place in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Thijm wrote popularising articles, evoking images of Amsterdam at the time the Golden Era, with Joost van den Vondel as main character. Thijm’s poems and novels inspired the young Diepenbrock’s love for “the beautiful and famous city” (as Vondel called it).

At the age of 25, after having completed his studies in Latin and Greek, Diepenbrock accepted a position as a teacher at the municipal grammar school in the quiet provincial town of ’s-Hertogenbosch. In his correspondence from this period, we read that he was often homesick for Amsterdam and his circle of friends consisting of painters and literati. He frequently travelled to the capital to attend special concerts. To stay in touch, he and his friends paid each other visits that often lasted more than one day. From 10 to 12 July 1892 Diepenbrock, Albert Verwey and his wife Kitty van Vloten stayed with Herman and Wies Gorter in Amersfoort. No doubt Vondel’s work was mentioned, as at that time Verwey was busy with the upcoming publication of Een inleiding tot Vondel (An Introduction to Vondel). On 6 September Diepenbrock asked him in a letter: How is Vondel getting on? In this context it is not surprising that Diepenbrock set Vondel’s Rey van burchtsaeten (Choral Song of the Burghers) for choir a cappella soon after that.

On 14 September 1892, the beginning of his fifth school year in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Diepenbrock wrote to his friend Andrew de Graaf: I have started a very beautiful work, if all goes well, it will be neither large nor long, but pleasant and small. (BD I:381) This is the only reference to the genesis of the Rey van burchtsaeten, apart from a remark in a letter from Diepenbrock to De Graaf, dated 29 November 1892: Until this week I was still busy with musical issues. (BD I:408) Diepenbrock’s original manuscript of the Rey van burchtsaeten has not been transmitted, but the neat copy has survived; according to the date given at the end, it was made between 26 January 1893 and 25 September 1894.

Meanwhile, Diepenbrock had started on the Rey van clarissen (Choral Song of the Poor Clares, RC 30) and the Rey van Amsterdamsche maegden (Choral Song of the Amsterdam Virgins, RC 31) from Vondel’s Gijsbrecht van Aemstel. The Rey van edelingen (Choral Songs of the Noblemen, RC 33) is the following large-scale composition in Diepenbrock’s oeuvre. Before expounding on the genesis of these four works, we will first give a summary of Gijsbrecht van Aemstel.

Synopsis of Gijsbrecht van Aemstel

Vondel’s historic play is situated in the Middle Ages. It was inspired by Virgil’s Aeneid, which describes the downfall of Troy. Amsterdam, which for a long time has been besieged by troops from the nearby town of Haarlem and Kennemerland, breathes a sigh of relief when the enemy suddenly retreats in disarray. The reason for this, so an abbot has heard, is a disagreement between the leaders. This is confirmed when questioning a captured spy of the enemy. He points out a ship full of brushwood – valuable winter fuel – which has been left behind in the rush. Elated and triumphant the Amsterdamers haul the vessel, which is shaped like a giant sea horse, into the city walls and start making preparations for the Christmas celebrations, as they were called on to do by the Rey van Amsterdamsche maeghden that concludes the first act. At the end of the second act the congregation goes to church while singing the Rey van edelingen. Meanwhile, the lout turns out to be the infamous Trojan horse: at night enemy soldiers creep out of it and together with the stealthily returned army, they take the unsuspecting citizens by surprise. The fight begins. In the Rey van clarissen nuns sketch the mothers’ grief about the violent deaths of their babies. In act four Badeloch, the wife of Gijsbrecht, is told about the cruel battle that has taken place inside the city walls since the enemy troops have entered by means of deception. She is afraid she will never see her husband again. This is followed by the Rey van burchtsaeten. Badeloch’s fears turn out to be ungrounded; Gijsbrecht returns unharmed. He wants to send away his wife and children and go down with the city, but Archangel Raphael orders him to get into safety with the others in order to lead the glorious resurrection of Amsterdam.

The Rey van burchtsaeten is an ode to the power of the marital bonds for better and for worse:

Waar werd oprechter trouw
Dan tusschen man en vrouw
Ter wereld ooit gevonden?
Twee zielen gloend’ aan een gesmeed
Of saam geschakeld en verbonden
In lief en leed.

Where can truer faithfulness
Than that of husband and wife
Ever be found in the world?
Two burning souls welded to each other
Or linked and joined together
For better and for worse.

The text also expresses the onlooker’s compassion with Badeloch who is desperate about her husband’s fate and it ends with a prayer to God to lighten the burden of the grieving wife.

Setting by Diepenbrock and premiere

Vondel’s text consists of eight six-line strophes. Diepenbrock begins five of the strophes (strophes 1 to 4 and 8) with the theme. With this theme the voice pairs soprano/alto and tenor/bass open the piece and the voice pairs soprano/tenor and alto/bass open the second strophe in mm. 19-21. The strophes 5, 6 and 7 start with a different, less prominent theme that brings together major and minor in one measure. In the sixth and seventh strophe Vondel compares Badeloch’s grieving with the lamenting of the turtle dove on the branch of a dead tree after losing her beloved mate – for the rest of her life. Diepenbrock elaborately expresses this text with long melismas on the word “jammert” (laments), in which both triplet quavers and ‘ordinary’ quavers occur. The passage is reserved for the solo voices. Throughout the work, which consists of 140 measures, chromaticism plays an important role and there is a quick succession of key changes.

The composition makes huge demands on the vocal technique and intonation of both the choir and the soloists. This was evident at the premiere in the Recital Hall of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw by the Klein-Koor a Cappella conducted by Anton Averkamp on 30 May 1894. Diepenbrock’s fiancée Elisabeth de Jong van Beek en Donk wrote in her diary:

On 29 May we went to Amsterdam together and attended the rehearsal, how horrific! I will not easily forget the incredible deception at hearing those dreadful sounds! Nothing was right, it was not in tune, there was no movement in it, the tenor of the quartet of soloists was not present, it was literally a disaster. And what was so awful for me, must have been a hundred times as painful for Fons; he felt his soul being torn apart and there was no more time to rehearse the piece or to take it off the programme. Anyhow, the performance itself was not too bad, but in the interval Fons secretly got the soloists together and rehearsed with them, so that went almost all right and altogether it was bearable and it received a succès d’estime: people heard that something unusual was going on […]. (BD II:185)

This is confirmed by Daniël de Lange’s findings in his review in the newspaper Het Nieuws van den Dag. However, de Lange came to an interesting conclusion:

What struck me, […] is the rich melodic flow in each individual part; in that respect, in this composition I consider Diepenbrock to be one of the few in the Netherlands who have the right outlook on the future of music, notwithstanding whether this work can already be regarded as a ripe work. (BD I:550)

Other performances and revision

Six years later, on 2 February 1900, the Rey van burchtsaeten was performed in the Remonstrant Church in Haarlem at a concert by the Haarlemsch à Cappella Choir conducted by E.F. Bruynsteen. Diepenbrock himself conducted the Vijftiende-eeuwsch bruyloftslied (Fifteenth-Century Wedding Song, RC 10), which was sung by a quartet of soloists: Aaltje Noordewier-Reddingius (soprano), Cato Loman (alto), Jos Tijssen (tenor) and Gerard Zalsman (bass). The programme also included Diepenbrock’s Stabat mater dolorosa for mixed choir (RC 34). Diepenbrock said the following about his experience with the Rey van burchtsaeten:

The conductor is full of enthusiasm and good intentions, but he has not yet got a true understanding of vocal music, he is also very nervous. But hearing the soloists in these things, among others in that one strophe of the Rey “Door deze liefde treurt” (Through this love mourns), invigorated me. (BD III:193)

Diepenbrock only attended the dress rehearsal for the performance in Leiden by the local Toonkunst Choir, conducted by Daniël de Lange on 6 December 1900, as the concert coincided with the premiere in Amsterdam of his two Hymnen an die Nacht (Hymns to the Night, RC 49 and 50).

Meanwhile, on 13 May 1896, the Rey van burchtsaeten had been published by Erven F. Bohn in Haarlem, together with a piano reduction of the other three choral songs from Vondel’s Gijsbrecht van Aemstel. In view of this publication, Diepenbrock revised several parts of his manuscript. After a long production process, part II of the deluxe edition of the Gijsbrecht, with incidental music by both Zweers and Diepenbrock, was published on 26 October 1901 (see RC 30). Because of the space needed for the decorative vignettes by Antoon Derkinderen, Diepenbrock’s choral songs had to be engraved anew. Five years later publisher S.L. van Looy was given permission to incorporate the Rey van burchtsaeten in the Vier Vierstemmige Liederen (Four Four-Part Songs) for choir a cappella, which also included Den uil (The Owl, RC 56), the Vijftiende-eeuwsch bruyloftslied (RC 10) and Christus is opgestanden (Christ has Risen, RC 57). On 14 September 1906 Diepenbrock received a beautiful edition, with which he was very pleased. Elisabeth reported his reaction in her diary:

He rates “Waar werd oprechter trouw” highest. He says it is an entirely new style, a blend of the old Palestrina-Bach school, Wagner and modern orchestration technique. How he ever managed “to pull it of” 14 years ago (he started it on 10 Sept. 1892, the birthday of Toon’s mother) without any tuition, he himself does not understand. (BD V:208)

Thanks to this comment we know when the composition was started after all.

When in 1912 Diepenbrock prepared the score of his Gijsbrecht for a performance of Vondel’s tragedy by the N.V. Het Tooneel of Willem Royaards in the theatre of Amsterdam, he also scrutinised the Rey van burchtsaeten, which was to be sung a cappella by a small ensemble. In some passages he simplified the voice leading. He opened the third strophe with the theme sung merely by the voice pair tenor/bass. The fourth strophe had a different modulation and ended a semitone lower, resulting in a dominant-tonic instead of a third relationship with the following section. Of note was the word painting at the end of the fifth strophe, where the text says marital love is the most powerful cement that “harten bindt, als muren breken / Tot puin in ’t end” (connects hearts, where walls crumble / finally into rubble). Now Diepenbrock ended on a low c-sharp unison in the four voices, with a descending fifth in both the soprano and the bass. In order to make things easier for the soloists, he gave the option of an eight-measure caesura in the “lament” strophe.

Ton Braas



Rey van burchtsaeten

Waar werd oprechter trouw
Dan tusschen man en vrouw
Ter wereld ooit gevonden?
Twee zielen gloênd aaneen gesmeed,
Of saam geschakeld en verbonden
In lief en leed.

De band die ’t harte bindt
Der moeder aan het kind,
Gebaart met wee en smarte,
Aan hare borst met melk gevoed
Zoo lang gedragen onder ’t harte,
Verbindt het bloed.

Noch sterker bindt de band
Van ’t paar dat hand aan hand
Verknocht om niet te scheiden,
Nadat zij jaren lang gepaart
Een kuisch en vreedzaam leven leiden,
Gelijk van aard.

Daar zoo de liefde viel
Smolt liefde ziel met ziel
En hart met hart te gader.
Die liefd’ is sterker dan de dood.
Geen liefde komt Gods liefde nader
Noch is zoo groot.

Geen water bluscht dit vuur,
Het edelst dat natuur
Ter weereld heeft ontsteeken.
Dit is het krachtigste ciment
Dat harten bindt als muren breeken
Tot puin in ’t end.

Door deze liefde treurt
De tortelduif gescheurd
Van haar beminden tortel.
Zij jammert op de dorre rank
Van eenen boom verdroogd van wortel
Haar leven langk.

Zoo treurt nu Aemstels vrouw
En smilt als sneeuw van rouw
Tot water en tot tranen,
Zij rekent Gijsbrecht nu al dood
Die om zijn stad en onderdanen
Zich geeft te bloot.

O God, verlicht haar kruis,
Dat zij den held op ’t huis
In blijdschap moog’ ontvangen,
Die tusschen hoop en vreeze drijft
En zucht en uitziet met verlangen
Waar Gijsbrecht blijft.

 

Chorus of the Citizens

Where will truer trust
Than that between a man and his wife
Ever be found in the world?
Two souls forged glowing into one
Or bound and shackled tightly
In love and sorrow.

The bond that binds the heart
Of mother to her child,
Borne with pain and suffering,
Fed at her breast with milk
Carried so long under the heart,
Bound by common blood.

Stronger still is the bond
Of a couple, having tied the knot,
Joined hands, never to part,
After many long years together,
Leading a pure and peaceful life,
Growing ever more alike.

And so love grew there,
And melted soul to loving soul,
And heart with heart together.
That love is stronger than death.
No love comes nearer to God’s own,
Nor is so great.

No water can quench this fire,
The noblest that nature
Has kindled in the world.
This is the most powerful mortar
That binds heart, though walls
May crumble into rubble in the end.

Because of this love
The turtledove mourns, torn
From her beloved mate.
She laments upon the dry tendril
Of a tall tree, Her roots dried up,
Her whole life long.

So mourns now Aemstel's wife,
And melts like snow with grief,
To water and to tears.
She counts Gijsbreght now as dead,
Who, for his city and subjects,
Gives himself.

O God, lighten her cross,
That she might with joy
Receive her hero at home,
She who drifts between hope and fear
And sighs, and looks with longing
To where he might be.

(transl. Ruth van Baak Griffioen)

 


  • A-12(4) Vondel: Gijsbrecht van Aemstel IV / Rey van Burchtsaeten Voor gemengd Koor a capella

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    • 11

    Manuscript: A-12(4) entitled Vondel: Gijsbrecht van Aemstel IV / Rey van Burchtsaeten Voor gemengd Koor a capella / comp. Alfons Diepenbrock 1892 and dated on the last page 26 Jan. 93 [-] 25 Sept 94

    • 1893-01-26 00:00:00.0 – 1894-09-25 00:00:00.0
    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: 11

  • click to enlarge

    Alphons Diepenbrock and the Golden Age

    cd Composer's Voice Classics CV 121
    Radio Symfonie Orkest ♦ Netherlands Radio Choir ♦ Westbroek, Eva-Maria ♦ Roodveldt, Maja ♦ Holboorn, Sophie ♦ Hameleers, Frank ♦ Heijnsbergen, Henk van

    Tracks: 1 = RC 31; 2 = RC 33; 3 = RC 30; 4 = RC 28; 5-7 = RC 70
  • click to enlarge

    Anniversary Edition 7

    cd Et'cetera KTC 1435 CD7
    Nederlands Kamerkoor ♦ Stok, Klaas ♦ Gronostay, Uwe ♦ Vocaal Ensemble Markant ♦ Haenchen, Hartmut ♦ Netherlands Radio Choir ♦ Antunes, Celso ♦ Quink Vocaal Ensemble

    Tracks: #1 = RC 7; #2 = RC 36; #3 = RC 85; #4 = RC 86; #5 = RC 87; #6 = RC 38; #7 = RC 56; #8 = RC 63; #9 = RC 28; #10 = RC 5; #11 = RC 34; #12 = RC 35; #13 = RC 119; #14 = RC 57

  • Luxe editie of Vondel's Gijsbrecht van Aemstel Vol II, *.*

    1901 Erven F. Bohn, De
  • Rey van Burchtsaeten

    1896 Erven F. Bohn, De
  • Vier Vierstemmige Liederen voor Sopraan, Alt Tenor en Bas

    1906 Van Looy

13 sept 1906: Bij de uitgever S.L. van Looy te Amsterdam verschijnen in druk Vier Vierstemmige Liederen waarin Den uil (RC 56), Vijftiende-eeuwsch bruyloftslied (RC 10), Oud paaschlied uit Twente (RC 57) en Rey van burchtsaeten (RC 28) zijn samen gebracht.

Alphons Diepenbrock heeft onlangs de gelukkige gedachte gehad in druk te doen verschijnen Vier Vierstemmige Liederen voor Sopraan, Alt, Tenoor en Bas, welke uitgave een verheuging zal zijn voor alle goede Nederlandsche a-cappella-koren en voor allen, wien onze vaderlandsche kunst ter harte gaat. — Elk der vier nummers afzonderlijk zou een uitvoerige bespreking behoeven, om er de beteekenis eenigermate van te doen beseffen. Evenwel moet ik trachten de mij voor deze korte aankondigingen gestelde perken zoo weinig mogelijk te buiten te gaan. […] — No. 4. Het slot van den bundel vormt de onvolprezen Rey van burchtsaeten uit Vondel's Gijsbyecht van Aemstel, die hier dus voor de tweede maal (zoover ik weet) in druk verschijnt. Ik zal niet beproeven mijn bewondering voor deze machtige uiting van Diepenbrock's genie in woorden te kleeden. De zin­rijke, aangrijpend schoone verklanking der eerste drie verzen: “Waer werd oprechter trouw/ Dan tusschen man en vrouw/ Ter wereld ooit gevonden?”/ zou alleen reeds het onderwerp van een breedvoerige beschouwing kunnen uitmaken. Maar wie zou met zoo'n droge uiteen­zetting gebaat zijn?... Hoort dien aanhef der sopranen en alten met haar simpel oprecht, trouwhartig tertsen-motief; dat sympathiek over­nemen ervan door tenoren en bassen... en dan – bij het tweede vers – dat innig samensmelten van mannen- en vrouwenstemmen, tegelijk met den heerlijk vollen uitbloei der harmonie! Hoort straks de vier solo-stemmen, waar zij in hartbrekende klachten uitdrukking geven aan het treuren en jammeren van “tortelduif, gescheurd van haar be­minden tortel”... De indruk, die dit alles op een ontvankelijk gemoed maakt kan toch met geen woorden worden benaderd! — Zag ik dan boven – uit practisch oogpunt – de hoogste waarde van dezen onschatbaren bundel in het Vijftiende-eeuwsch bruyloftslied, als zuivere kunstuiting beschouwd staat de “Vondel-Reij” m.i. verre boven al het overige uit. Maar... waar zijn de Nederlandsche koren, die dit fonke­lend kunstjuweel tot het geestelijk eigendom van het Nederlandsche volk zullen maken?...

De Tijd (Philip Loots), 2 januari 1907

pdf All reviews for RC 28 Rey van burchtsaeten (“Waar werd oprechter trouw”)