TWAALF ETUDES OP EEN THEMA VAN J. MULDERS
The Twaalf etudes op een thema van J. Mulders (‘Twelve Studies on a Theme by J. Mulders’) was already published in 2004. This final (second) version differs considerably from the first. The arrangement technique employed is of the type ‘character variation’, in which in general the number of bars, the phraseology and the harmonic functions remain intact. This applies especially to the peripheral studies. Those at the composition’s core, especially Studies VII and VIII, deviate rather more from the ground-plan in terms of key, structure and harmony. All the studies were – indeed with their permission! – dedicated to befriended colleague pianists. This does not, however, detract from the intention that the composition be performed as one complete entity.
Style: romantic, modal.
Level of difficulty: Grade VIII-XI (on a scale of XII grades)
Theme – Andante
Etude I – L’ístesso tempo
Etude II – Alla Siciliano
Etude III – Allegro marziale e energico
Etude IV (Sarabanda elegica) – Grave
Etude V – Allegro appassionata e agitato
Etude VI – Allegro non troppo, ma burlesco
Etude VII – Andante quieto e espressivo
Etude VIII – Allegro moderato
Etude IX – Maestoso, non troppo lento
Etude X – Andantino
Etude XI – Maestoso
Etude XII – Presto furioso
Theme – Come prima
“In terms of its form the work is somewhat reminiscent of Schumann’s Etudes Symphoniques, even though Brussee has decided against a grand Finale, instead allowing the theme to return in all its simplicity, as a subdued “Das war einmal…”. This theme, described by Brussee as ‘inherently Dutch, tough and plain’, reminds me, with its balanced modal character, a little of the language of César Franck. Because the harmony and its melodic development remain clearly audible in almost all of the variations, this modality permeates the whole work, lending to it a lightly melancholic, somewhat French atmosphere. The actual variations are technically highly demanding studies in the tradition of Chopin, Liszt and Rachmaninov. (…) Even though these pieces seem to stem from a particular technical problem, there is here no question of methodological practice pieces, rather of music for which you must simply be a good pianist. This work belongs to the podium! It is naturally curious that in these days a composer is expressing himself in a language of, globally speaking, a century ago. I would not, however, wish to regard this as disadvantageous. Rather, Albert Brussee, as one of the few of today’s pianists, truly strives towards a connection with the great pianists from the beginning of the twentieth century, who were usually much more than just the pure performers who reflect today’s norm. In the light of such comprehensive musicianship he takes the definitive step by actually composing in the style that, as pianist, lies so close to his heart. Anyone regarding this as an anachronism would in fact need to censure the playing of all classical music…..
Bert Mooiman, Piano Bulletin 2011-1. (Translated from the Dutch)
Copyright, availability and price
© 2010 (second version) AB Music Productions and Editions, The Hague.
48 pages; with a preface in Dutch and English.
Available through the usual music channels or via the publisher.
Price: € 19.50.