Constant van de Wall, a European-Javanese composer

Henk Mak van Dijk

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Constant van de Wall, a European-Javanese composer

paperback/ gebrocheerd: € 9.95

ISBN: 9789082063592, geïllustreerd, 34 blz., March 2019, Engels
Formaat: 21.0 (h) x 17.0 (b) x 0.4 (d) cm. Gewicht: 96 gram.

Uitgever: Uitgeverij West

vertaald door: Wim Tigges


Constant van de Wall, a European-Javanese composer

Constant van de Wall (Surabaya, 1871 – Nice, 1945) occupies a prominent place in the list of Indisch composers because of a number of uniquely European-Javanese compositions: songs, pieces for piano and for orchestra, chamber music, and the opera Attima. From this it is evident that his eyes and ears were open to the country where he was born and raised: the nature, Javanese antiquities, the shadow play, the Malay pantun, Javanese dance, gamelan music, kroncong and Islam. According to Van de Wall, ‘Java’ could support western music, give it momentum and lead to brilliant compositions. Western romantic music, with its sequences of harmonies providing tension and relaxation, he considered to be most appropriate to this end, and according to him it should continue to dominate in the blend of East and West. He positioned himself as the ‘only representative of the oriental element in music’ (1917) and as ‘compositeur javanais’ (1921), and he received favourable reviews in the Dutch, Indisch, and French press alike. Yet he felt unappreciated by his colleagues, because they often failed to notice or to value ‘the work of Indisch composers.’ After his death, Van de Wall was soon consigned to oblivion. Even today international textbooks on exoticism fail to show any trace of his Indisch music. If we consider that hardly any exchange existed with Javanese about their music at the beginning of the twentieth century and that there were hardly any Europeans who could or would play gamelan, the originality of Van de Wall's choice for the use of indigenous music culture is all the more striking.

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