Voormolen, Alexander (Nicolas)

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Voormolen, Alexander (Nicolas)

Voormolen, Alexander (Nicolas) , Dutch composer; b. Rotterdam, March 3, 1895; d. The Hague, Nov. 12, 1980. He was a scion of a family of municipal functionaries in the Netherlands, and on his mother’s side was a descendant of Claude Rameau, a brother of Jean-Philippe Rameau. He entered the Utrecht School of Music, where he studied with Johan Wagenaar and Willam Petri. Voormolen began to compose as a very young man; from his earliest steps he experienced a strong influence of French Impressionism. He went to Paris in 1916, where he was befriended by Ravel, whose influence became decisive. In 1923 he settled in The Hague; after serving as a music critic of the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant,he was librarian of the Royal Cons, of Music of The Hague (1938-55). In his early idiom, Voormolen affected richly extended harmonies and followed Ravel’s example in writing works in neo-Baroque forms, marked by gentle symmetric melodies. His compositions later followed along neo-Classical lines. His works were initially successful in his homeland, but eventually fell into desuetude.


dramatic: B a I l e t : Le Roi Grenouille (1916; withdrawn); Baron Hop (2 suites, 1923-24; 1931); Diana (1935-36); Spiegel-Suite,after Langendijk’s play (1943). ORCH.: De drei ruitertjes (The 3 Little Horsemen), variations on a Dutch song (1927); Een Zomerlied (1928); Oboe Concerto (1938); Sinfonia (1939); Kleine Haagsche Suitefor Small Orch. (1939); Pastoralefor Oboe and Strings (1940); Cello Concerto (1941); Arethuza,symphonic myth, after L. Couperus (1947; Amsterdam, Nov. 11, 1948); La Sirènefor Saxophone and Orch. (1949); Concerto for 2 Harpsichords or Pianos and Orch. (1950); Sinfonia concertantefor Clarinet, Horn, and Strings (1951); Eline,nocturne (1957; orchestrated and enl. version of the 1951 piano piece); Chaconne en Fuga (1958). CHAMBER: 2 violin sonatas (1917, 1934); Suite for Cello and Piano (1917); Piano Trio (1918); Suite for Harpsichord (1921); Divertissementfor Cello and Piano (1922); 2 string quartets (1939, 1942); Viola Sonata (1935). Piano: Valse triste (1914); Suite No. 1 (1914-16); Falbalas (1915); Elephants (1919); Tableaux des Pays Bas,in 2 series (1919-20,1924); Scène et danse erotique (1920); Le Souper clandestin (1921); Sonnet (1922); Livre des enfants (2 series, 1923, 1925); Berceuse (1924); Sonata (1944); Eline,nocturne (1951). VOCAL: Beatrijs,melodrama for Narrator and Piano (1921); 3 Gedichtenfor Voice and Orch. (1932); Een nieuwe Lente op Holland’s erffor Voice and Orch. (1936); Herinneringen aan Holland (Memories of Holland) for Baritone, Bass Clarinet, and Strings (1966); Stanzas of Charles IIfor Baritone, Flute, English Horn, Celesta, Percussion, and Strings (1966); Amsterdam,cantata (1967); From: The Recollectionfor Medium Voice, String Orch., and Celesta (1970); Ex minimis patet ipse Deus,hymn for Middle Voice, Strings, and Celesta (1971; many alternate versions); Ave Mariafor Chorus, Harp, and String Orch. (1973; many alternate versions); choruses.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire