WORKS: Baron Hop Suite No 1; Baron Hop Suite No 2; Concerto for Two Oboes; Eline
PERFORMER: Pauline Oostenrijk, Hans Roerade (oboe); The Hague Residentie Orchestra/Matthias Bamert
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9815
Baron Hop, the subject of the two four-movement suites that make up more than half this CD, was a well-known figure in The Hague during the 18th century, a diplomat and the inventor of a coffee-flavoured sweetmeat known as the ‘Haagsche Hopjes’. He and other celebrities of the same locale and epoch are celebrated in music notable for its quirky humour (especially in the ‘wrong-note’ Polka Cupido-Citron) and skilful orchestration, the whole revealing its composer’s love of pastiche and period gestures. Strauss’s Le bourgeois gentilhomme music covers similar territory.
Alexander Voormolen was born in Rotterdam in 1895 and died in The Hague in 1980. His studies took him to France, where Roussel and Ravel influenced him, but his own music remained basically conservative and all the works here veer towards light music, though of the most fastidious kind. The Concerto for Two Oboes once again shows neo-classical tendencies, though the nocturne for orchestra Eline partakes more of late-Romantic harmony for its delicate portrait of the emotional heroine of a novel. Compositionally, everything is assured though little is memorable. Bamert’s conducting could do with more spirit but the playing is precise. The textures ideally need more separation. George Hall