Inspired by the image of the mermaid as a symbol for a forbidden love (that beckons as a siren, but will never become reality), I made many trips – from Stockholm to Saint Petersburg and from Helsinki to Azerbaijan. But not all treasures are hidden at a great distance. Last year, I boarded the train to my neighbouring city The Hague, for some good old-fashioned musicological strolling in the analogue archives. The gem that attracted me? A 1918 song called “Meirminnen”. For the Dutch journal “De Liedvriend” (the friend of the art song), I wrote a short article about this charming song, that just got published. Sheet music and piano…
My hometown, Utrecht, is arguably one of the cultural marvels of Netherlands. But this has not always been the case. While working on an article about the conductor and composer Johann Hermann Kufferath (1797-1864), my friend Mirjam & I discovered that, at the beginning of the 19th century, there was a nadir in Utrecht’s musical life. The overall Dutch music scene of the period 1800-1830 was interesting, because well-known musical figures lived in Amsterdam and The Hague. But not in Utrecht. This blog post explores four possible reasons for this gap in fairly recent Dutch music history.