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Dutch romantic song in ‘Die Sanck een lied’

wed 1 apr 2020

‘Töne der Liebe’

In 1845, Dutch organist Gerrit van Eijken gave a performance with his 13-year old son, who, according to a Dutch music magazine of the time, ‘showed great tonal potential’. 20 years later, that son, Gerrit Isaac (Jan) van Eijken would compose ‘Töne der Liebe’, the first Dutch romantic song cycle. Töne der Liebe is a series of 11 songs, with German translations of the Song of Songs, that was dedicated to Sophie of Württemberg, king William III’s first wife.

Starting in 1851, Van Eijken went to Leipzig Conservatory, after which he studied with famous musicians such as Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and Robert Schumann. When he returned to Utrecht, he became involved in the local music scene. He became Kapellmeister for the institution that would later become the Utrecht Symphony Orchestra. He also wrote witty and humorous articles for the music magazine ‘Caecilia’.

In 1862 Van Eijken applied for the job of Music Director for the city of Utrecht, but he was denied the opportunity. He was gravely disappointed and turned to drink, which in turn led to him being fired from his job as organist at the Pieterskerk. He left Utrecht and eventually emigrated to England. There, he composed many songs, mostly to entertain rich ladies and students who had nothing else to do. Gerrit Jan van Eijken died on 22 March 1879, aged 46, in his house in Dalston/Hackney. An alcoholic, exhausted, miserable and forgotten by the Dutch public. We don’t even have a picture of him now.

Listening
Die Sanck een lied, 12 April from 11 till 12 o’clock.
With, among others, ‘Töne der Liebe‘, with soprano Anne Grimm, tenor Marcel Reijans and pianist Frans van Ruth.