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Program & explanation 9-8-2020

1. Sonata no. 16 in B flat major.

D. Cimerosa (1749 - 1801)

Domenico Cimerosa, composer of the second half of the 18th century, contemporary of Haydn and Mozart. Italian through and through and famous for its operas. As you heard, he also wrote sonatas for piano. That was by no means the piano we know and, moreover, many people at that time simply played this music on their harpsichord, because that piano was only about 30 years old. Because it is not so tied to one instrument, the music also sounds great on a pipe organ and because the theme is very similar to a well-known birthday song, we opened the concert with this! The next piece, also by Domenico Cimerosa, is the concerto for oboe and strings. And like so many well-known works from music, this is also a forgery. To the extent that Arthur Benjamin made this concert in 1949 from all kinds of music from the same sonatas by Cimerosa and turned it into an oboe concerto. But the music is no less beautiful! You will hear two parts from this concert, from Cimerosa and not…

2. Siciliano and Allegro guisto (parts III and IV)

D. Cimerosa
from the concerto for oboe and strings
(composed of Art. Benjamin)

Around 1740, the great Bach wrote a great work in which he wanted to pay homage to the teachings of Luther and to his own artistry. He composed the so-called 'Clavierübung', the 'Klavier exercise'. Now you should not understand the word "exercise" as training for the keyboard, but more as an attempt to create a grand monument.
And Bach did that too. In three parts, because three is a sacred number. The third movement, and that's what we'll be talking about this afternoon, is actually composed entirely for the organ and comprises all parts that are sung in a Lutheran celebration: the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Confession of Faith, etc. But Bach opens the work with a gigantic prelude, a grand prelude, in which he exposes God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The opening of the work is very solemn and stately, what was called the so-called 'French Overture' at the time. This stately symbolizes God the Father. The second theme starts with a kind of echo work and some gentler music and represents the Italian style but also God the Son. The third theme is a descending scale that eventually ends in a fugue and stands for the German in the music and for the Holy Spirit descending. It is one of Bach's greatest organ works and you can take 10 minutes for it!

Then a little more comfort to listen: from Hummel's oboe concerto. Hummel will probably not tell you much because he is the epitome of a forgotten greatness. In his time his skills were on a par with that of Beethoven and Mozart. Friend of Schubert, inventor of the pension for musicians and well-known composer of guitar concerts, among others! This oboe concerto is also of high quality: the first piece, the adagio, is characterized by the beautiful melody and the exciting chords. The second part is a simple piece of music with a variation for the ear, but a big job with many notes for the performer!

But first the seriousness of Bach!

3. Praeludium in E-flat gr. t. BWV 552

JS Bach (1685 - 1750)    


4. Adagio and Variationen - op.102

Joh. Fake. Hummel (1778 - 1837)

     for oboe and orchestra


Frans Bullens not only plays the organ, but he also composes a bit, and sometimes writes a piece of music for someone as a birthday present. We call that an occasional job. And that's how this little berceuse was born.

The work after that was composed in the late 1990s and is of a completely different quality. It was written for the alto oboe, a bigger brother of the regular oboe, with the organ as an accompaniment instrument. But the composer has certainly not made the organ subordinate to the soloist. They fight the battle together, as it were, sometimes with the oboe in the lead role, sometimes with the organ. The form of the piece is the sonata form and you can clearly hear the two themes of the work: one rather impetuous, the other a bit more gentle.

The performers have now arrived at the top of the organ. This organ, built by Wilhelm Rütter in 1882, is a national monument in itself and of special value. It sounds very different from the choir organ you have heard all the time. At the Rütter organ you can taste, as it were, the dark brown atmosphere of the oak of the cabinet!

5. Berceuse No. 1 in A (1954 -)

Fr. Bullens

6. Concert piece No. 1 in G - for alto oboe and organ

Fr. Bullens

After these Bullens works, the musicians descend to earth again. We will stay with the alto oboe for a while. Incidentally, the instrument is also called the 'English horn', a translation of the French 'Cor d'anglais', but there is little English to it and it is not a horn either. This is how things can get weird in the music world!

The next piece is a song by Gabriel Fauré, which lends itself perfectly to the alto oboe, because of its delicious melody and the beautiful chords that are now played on the large Rushworth & Dreaper harmonium, on loan from the Volckaert.

Then we move on to a bravado piece of the first order: the overture 'Dichter und Bauer'. Originally 'Dichter und Bauer' was a stage farce in which Franz von Suppé wrote the music. The Overture was the introduction to this stage work. In all naivety von Suppé sold his music to a publisher for 8 guilders, but later it turned out to be a huge success: every company, from symphony orchestra to fanfare played the work. And so the publisher became rich and the maker himself not. That's how it can go in the music world….
Of course the work is not written for organ at all, but you can play it fine on the organ. In England they love it; playing opera music, etc. on the organ is a tradition there. In the Calvinist Netherlands that was not done and the Catholic Church didn't want much of it either. Nowadays we are a bit more lenient and certainly on such a festive day as today!

7. A près un rêve - op. 7 No. 1

G. Fauré (1845 - 1924)

8. Overture 'Dichter und Bauer'

Fr. v. Suppé (1819 - 1895)


A very popular melody or piece is associated with almost every instrument. Of course, Bach's 'Toccata' sticks to the organ, everyone knows it. At the piano 'Für Elise', at the trumpet the 'Triumphal March' from Aida and so on. This applies less to the oboe, although there are countless pieces in which the oboe plays a leading role.
The recently deceased film composer Ennio Morricone wrote the music for the film 'The Mission' in 1986. The main theme is for the oboe, as the main character from the film, Father Gabriel, a missionary, also plays the oboe himself.


9. Gabriel's oboe

E. Morricone (1928 - 2020)

2 Berceuses in A.

Fr. Bullens

On the occasion of Frans Bullens' birthday, Petra Schoonenboom and Rick Muselaers (organ) performed 2 of his compositions.

And then we actually arrive at the last part of this afternoon with a memory of a nice advertisement about beer, so that the water enters your mouth and we can quickly flee to the gardens where the beer flows freely.

Craftsmanship is mastery

Cl. V. Mechelen (1941 -)

Recording: Jef Geerinckx

Petra Schoonenboom

Petra Schoonenboom studied oboe with Frank Minderaa at the Brabants Conservatorium (diploma 1989) and followed the Musicians 4 music education course at the conservatory in Amsterdam (diploma 2017)

She worked as an oboe teacher and music teacher / coach with various harmonies, the Kunstpoduim in Dongen, the Pieck in Drunen and the Arts Center in Waalwijk.

She currently works as a supporter of the education department and oboe teacher at the Kunstkwartier in Helmond and as a music teacher / coach for the CKE in Eindhoven.

As a student, Petra has been associated with the Ricciotti ensemble in Amsterdam.
For years she played with the band 'Orpheus' in Tilburg,
was oboist in the XL Jazz orchestra conducted by Martin Fondse,
was oboist with harmony VenV in Waspik and played in various 'ad hoc' ensembles and orchestras.

Frans Bullens.jpg
Frans Bullens

studied organ with Maurice Pirenne at the Brabant Conservatory (graduation in 1978) and electronic keyboards-light music at the same institute (graduation in 1996).

From 1970 to 1980, Frans was an organist at the St. Lambertus Church in Veghel. In his working life he was associated with the foundation 'Het KunstPodium' - Dongen, Gilze & Rijen and the foundation 'H 19'-art education in Oosterhout as a teacher of organ, keyboards, piano and choir formation.

At the moment, Frans Bullens is still active as choirmaster-organist in the Parish of Dongen and as such associated with the St. Laurentius Church, where, in addition to organ playing, he also directs the Mixed Choir St. the Gregorian Choir. He is also choirmaster at the Basilica of St. Jan in Oosterhout and in the parish St. Elisabeth in Raamsdonk and Raamsdonksveer.

He is a board member of the Ned. St. Gregory Association of the diocese of Breda, board member of the Dutch Gregorian Festival and advisor to the Ludens Foundation and the Mattheus-Passion Foundation, both in Oosterhout. On occasion, Frans Bullens is also a concert organist, composer and editor of much instrumental and vocal (church) music.

Many of his answer psalms are published in the Sunday Masses of Gooi & Sticht and the Abbey of Berne. For the diocese of Breda he wrote the 'Mass vd H. Geest' and four answer psalms for the Vormselliturgie. For the order of the Montfortians he composed two series of Canticles by Montfort in a translation by A. Govaart, both of which were released on CD. He also composed 6 songs for the collection Franciscan Songs which was published in 2019.

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