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Ton De Leeuw: Complete Piano Solo Works / René Eckhardt


Release Date: 02/28/2012 
Label:  Quintone   Catalog #: 9005/6  
Composer:  Ton De LeeuwTon de Leeuw
Performer:  René Eckhardt
Number of Discs: 2 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



DE LEEUW Piano Sonata No. 2. Praeludium. Partita (1946). Kleine Suite. 4 Rhythmic Etudes. Danse Lente. 3 Afrikaanse Etudes. Pastorale. Lydische Suite. Zes Dansen. Men Go Their Ways . Partita (1943). Piano Sonata No. 1. 3 Inventies. Sonatine. 4 Preludes. Variations sur une chanson populaire française. 5 Etudes. The 9 Rasas. Linkerhand en Rechterhand. Les Adieux René Eckhardt (pn) QUINTONE 09005/09006 (2 CDs: 152:52)

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The wonderful thing about reviewing recordings is that every once in a while one comes upon a CD that makes one stop and listen to the music, reacting to it as though one knew the language, but had never heard it used quite that way before. The current recording—compiling the complete piano works of the Dutch composer Ton de Leeuw (1926–96)—made just that sort of impression on me when I first heard it. Of course one could relate it in sound to the age out of which it came: There is a neoclassical lucidity; the earlier works do sound a bit like Hindemith harmonically with perhaps hints of the figurational polyphony prevalent in composers such as Fartein Valen. These works could be classified as modal as well. To a certain extent, though, this tells one very little about the music. What differs here is the thinking that led to his unique compositional style. Certainly, as with many composers of the age, he wanted to distance himself from the excesses of 19th-century Romanticism; he cared less about expansiveness and tension and resolution than he did about music that sought to attain a state of equilibrium. He was greatly affected by non-Western examples. His music, if viewed in the manner as one would Wagner, Strauss, or Mahler, might seem cold in a way, but it is no more so than Sibelius or Nielsen; this is music that does not want to be what it is not.


Luckily one can track the composer’s development from nearly the beginning of his career right to the end of it here. There are obvious differences in conception. In his booklet notes, Paul Janssen talks about a threefold division of styles that could be used to classify de Leeuw’s music: neoclassical, experimental or serialist, and extended modality. More importantly, though, he goes on to remark that this is at best a “purely cosmetic division” as the elements that remain constant throughout the composer’s oeuvre far outweigh the differences. De Leeuw is unmistakably de Leeuw regardless of time period. Much of the music’s positive effect must be credited to pianist René Eckhardt. His understanding of this music, his love of it, along with his fluency, breathes life into compositions that could sound boring in the hands of other pianists. His way of maintaining an air of simplicity in works such as the Partita (1943), the Praeludium, or Linkerhand en rechterhand creates an aura around the music with which the composer would have been delighted; it simply sounds like music that does not undergo development but simply “is.” Though there are moments when one feels as though Eckhardt could be slightly more aggressive with the music (the Toccata or the “Réjouissante” from the 1946 Partita or especially the final movement of the Piano Sonata No. 2) he is attentive to the lyrical aspects of the figurational patterns, which could sound like empty ramblings without the careful attention to coloration and phrasing. All in all, this is a marvelous recording—the very first of de Leeuw’s piano music, but hopefully not the last. This is music that deserves to be heard more. With excellent sound and informative booklet notes, this is a release to grab up and devour. So far this is one of the highlights of my year.


FANFARE: Scott Noriega
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Piano no 2 by Ton de Leeuw
Performer:  René Eckhardt (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1948 
2.
Praeludium by Ton de Leeuw
Performer:  René Eckhardt (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944 
3.
Partita for Piano by Ton de Leeuw
Performer:  René Eckhardt (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943 
4.
Kleine Suite by Ton de Leeuw
Performer:  René Eckhardt (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946 
5.
Ritmische Etudes (4) by Ton de Leeuw
Performer:  René Eckhardt (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952 
6.
Danse lente by Ton de Leeuw
Performer:  René Eckhardt (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953 
7.
Afrikaanse Etudes (3) by Ton de Leeuw
Performer:  René Eckhardt (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954 
8.
Pastorale by Ton de Leeuw
Performer:  René Eckhardt (Piano)
9.
Lydische Suite by Ton de Leeuw
Performer:  René Eckhardt (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954 
10.
Dansen (6) for Piano by Ton de Leeuw
Performer:  René Eckhardt (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955 
11.
Men go their ways by Ton de Leeuw
Performer:  René Eckhardt (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1964 
12.
Partita for Piano by Ton de Leeuw
Performer:  René Eckhardt (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943 
13.
Sonata for Piano no 1 by Ton de Leeuw
Performer:  René Eckhardt (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945 
14.
Inventions (3) for Piano by Ton de Leeuw
Performer:  René Eckhardt (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946 
15.
Sonatine for Piano by Ton de Leeuw
Performer:  René Eckhardt (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949 
16.
Preludes (4) for Piano by Ton de Leeuw
Performer:  René Eckhardt (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950 
17.
Variations sur une chanson populaire française by Ton de Leeuw
Performer:  René Eckhardt (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950 
18.
Etudes (5) for Piano by Ton de Leeuw
Performer:  René Eckhardt (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1951 
19.
The nine rasas by Ton de Leeuw
Performer:  René Eckhardt (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1968 
20.
Linkerhand en rechterhand by Ton de Leeuw
Performer:  René Eckhardt (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1976 
21.
Les adieux by Ton de Leeuw
Performer:  René Eckhardt (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1988; Netherlands 

Sound Samples

Piano Sonata No. 2: I. -
Piano Sonata No. 2: II. -
Piano Sonata No. 2: III. -
Piano Sonata No. 2: IV. -
Praeludium
Partita (1946): I. Intrada
Partita (1946): II. Toccata
Partita (1946): III. Menuet
Partita (1946): IV. Rejouissante
Kleine Suite: I. Prelude
Kleine Suite: II. Koraal
Kleine Suite: III. Toccata
4 Ritmische etudes: No. 1. -
4 Ritmische etudes: No. 2. -
4 Ritmische etudes: No. 3. -
4 Ritmische etudes: No. 4. -
Danse lente
3 Afrikaanse etudes: No. 1. -
3 Afrikaanse etudes: No. 2. -
3 Afrikaanse etudes: No. 3. -
Pastorale
Lydische Suite: I. -
Lydische Suite: II. -
Lydische Suite: III. -
6 Dansen: No. 1. -
6 Dansen: No. 2. -
6 Dansen: No. 3. -
6 Dansen: No. 4. -
6 Dansen: No. 5. -
6 Dansen: No. 6. -
Men Go their Ways: I. -
Men Go their Ways: II. -
Men Go their Ways: III. -
Men Go their Ways: IV. -
Men Go their Ways: V. -
Partita (1943): I. Intrada
Partita (1943): II. Pavane
Partita (1943): III. Gavotte
Partita (1943): IV. Sarabande
Piano Sonata No. 1: I. -
Piano Sonata No. 1: II. -
Piano Sonata No. 1: III. -
3 Inventies
Sonatine: I. -
Sonatine: II. -
Sonatine: III. -
4 Preludes: No. 1. -
4 Preludes: No. 2. -
4 Preludes: No. 3. -
4 Preludes: No. 4. -
Variations sur une chanson populaire francaise: No. 1. -
Variations sur une chanson populaire francaise: No. 2. -
Variations sur une chanson populaire francaise: No. 3. -
Variations sur une chanson populaire francaise: No. 4. -
Variations sur une chanson populaire francaise: No. 5. -
Variations sur une chanson populaire francaise: No. 6. -
Variations sur une chanson populaire francaise: No. 7. -
Variations sur une chanson populaire francaise: No. 8. -
Variations sur une chanson populaire francaise: No. 9. -
5 Etudes: No. 1. -
5 Etudes: No. 2. -
5 Etudes: No. 3. -
5 Etudes: No. 4. -
5 Etudes: No. 5. -
The Nine Rasas
Linkerhand en rechterhand
Les adieux

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