Pijper, Willem

views updated

Pijper, Willem

Pijper, Willem, renowned Dutch composer and pedagogue; b. Zeist, Sept. 8, 1894; d. Leidschendam, March 18, 1947. He received a rudimentary education from his father, an amateur violinist, then went to the Toonkunst School of Music in Utrecht, where he studied composition with Johan Wagenaar and piano with Mme. H.J. van Lunteren-Hansen (1911–16). From 1918 to 1923 he was music critic of Utrecht Dagblad, and from 1926 to 1929, co- ed. of the monthly De Muziek. He taught theory at the Amsterdam Cons, (from 1918), and was a prof, of composition there from 1925 to 1930; served as director of the Rotterdam Cons, from 1930 until his death. In his music, Pijper continued the Romantic tradition of Mahler, and also adopted the harmonic procedures of the modern French School. He postulated a “germ-cell theory” in which an opening chord or motif is the source of all succeeding harmonic and melodic development; he also cultivated the scale of alternating whole tones and semitones, regarding it as his own, not realizing that it was used abundantly by Rimsky-Korsakov (in Russian reference works it is termed the Rimsky-Korsakov scale); the “Pijper scale,” as it became known in the Netherlands, was also used by Anton von der Horst and others. During the German bombardment of Rotterdam in May 1940, nearly all of Pijper’s MSS were destroyed by fire, including the unpubl. reduced scoring of his large 2nd Sym. (restored in 1961 by Pijper’s student Karel Mengelberg); also destroyed was the unpubl. Divertimento for Piano and Strings.


dramatic: Opera: Halewijn (1932–33; Amsterdam, June 13, 1933; rev. 1934); Merlijn (1939–45; incomplete; Rotterdam, June 7, 1952).Incidental Music To: Sophocles’ Antigone (1920; rev. 1922 and 1926); Euripides’ Bacchantes (1924) and The Cyclops (1925); Shakespeare’s The Tempest (1930); Vondel’s Phaeton (1937). orch.:Orchestral Piece for Piano and Orch. (Utrecht, Dec. 11, 1915; originally titled “Piano Concerto No. 1,” causing confusion with his later and only Piano Concerto [Amsterdam, Dec. 22, 1927], in turn sometimes incorrectly referred to as “Piano Concerto No. 2”); 3 syms.: No. 1, Pan (1917; Amsterdam, April 23, 1918), No. 2 for Large Orch. (1921; Amsterdam, Nov. 2, 1922; reduced scoring by K. Mengelberg, 1961), and No. 3 (Amsterdam, Oct. 28,1926); 6 Symphonic Epigrams (Amsterdam, April 12, 1928); Cello Concerto (Amsterdam, Nov. 22, 1936; rev. 1947); Violin Concerto (1938–39; Amsterdam, Jan. 7, 1940); 6 Adagios (1940; Utrecht, Nov. 14, 1951). chamber: 2 piano trios (1913–14, 1921); 5 string quartets (1914; 1920; 1923; 1928; 1946, unfinished); Passepied for Carillon (1916); 2 violin sonatas (1919,1922); 2 cello sonatas (1919,1924); Septet for Wind Quintet, Double Bass, and Piano (1920); Sextet for Wind Quintet and Piano (1922–23); Flute Sonata (1925); Trio for Flute, Clarinet, and Bassoon (1926–27); Wind Quintet (1928–29); Sonata for Solo Violin (1931). Piano: Theme with 5 Variations (1913); 3 Aphorisms (1915); 3 sonatinas (1917,1925,1925); 3 Old Dutch Dances (1926); Sonata (1930); Sonata for 2 Pianos (1935). vocal:Fêtes galantes for Mezzo-soprano and Orch., after Verlaine (1916; Schweningen, Aug. 2, 1917); 8 vieilles chansons de France for Voice and Piano (1918); 8 Noëls de France for Voice and Piano (1919); Romance sans paroles for Mezzo- soprano and Orch., after Verlaine (1919; Amsterdam, April 15, 1920); 8 Old Dutch Love Songs for Voice and Piano (1920; rev. 1943); Heer Halewijn for Chorus (1920); 8 Old Dutch Songs for Voice and Piano (2 sets: 1924, 1935); Heer Danielken for Chorus (1925); Hymne for Bass-baritone and Orch., after Boutens (1941–43; Amsterdam, Nov. 1945).


W. Kloppenburg, Thematisch-bibliografische Catalogus van de Werken van W. P. (Assen, 1960); H. Ryker, The Symphonic Music of W. P (diss., Univ. of Wash., 1971).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

More From encyclopedia.com