Bernard Zweers

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Bernard Zweers

Bernardus Josephus Wilhelmus Zweers (born May 18, 1854 in Amsterdam ; † December 9, 1924 there ) was a Dutch composer , music teacher and conductor .


Bernard Zweers (spelling of the first name occasionally Bernhard) was born as the son of the music dealer Hendricus Antonius Zweers and his wife Hermina Petronella van Solt. On February 9, 1899, he married the soprano Dora Maria de Louw (born July 4, 1876 in Delft , † August 16, 1959 in Bennebroek ), who had also been his student. They had a son together. Hendricus Antonius was a singer, organist and choir director. He also published some sacred works by Dutch composers such as Richard Hol . Bernard had been plagued by tinnitus since childhood . Nevertheless, he began to compose at the age of 14 and, since his father thought little of it, secretly bought theory books. Few piano and chamber music works have survived from this period. In 1870 Wals appeared for choir and his opus 1. In 1879 the ballad Winnend versies was published for choir and orchestra. A mass for male choir and organ by the young self-taught man was performed in several churches. In 1881 he also attended the Berlin premiere of Richard Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung . According to his own statement, he returned as a "thoroughbred Wagnerian" and also became one of the first members of the Richard Wagner Society founded by Henri Viotta in Amsterdam in 1883 .

On September 25, 1881, Zweers' 1st Symphony was premiered under his own direction in the old Parkzaal in Amsterdam. He had completed the symphony in the summer of 1881. In 1882 he began studying music with Salomon Jadassohn in Leipzig , especially in counterpoint, in order to lay a professional foundation for his further compositions. In Leipzig, after nine months of lessons, he began composing his second symphony. In February 1883 he returned to Amsterdam and devoted himself entirely to composing. Various publishers published his choral works. Even then, he set mainly Dutch texts to music. In 1885 he was first choirmaster of the Amstel men's choir . He also took over the management of the Apollo Liedertafel and the Mozes en Aäronkerk choir .

In 1887 he began working on the third symphony, which he named Aan mijn Vaderland . After completing the first three movements, a committee of respected musicians such as Frans Coenen sen. and Henri Viotta to perform the parts. This first performance took place on March 23, 1888 in the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam . In early 1890, the fourth movement Ter hoofdstad [To the capital] was added and the entire work was premiered by the Concertgebouw Orchestra under the direction of Willem Kes . His cantata St. Nicolaasfeest, composed in 1890, achieved a certain popularity . For the reopening of the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam, which was destroyed by fire in 1890, on January 16, 1895, Zweers composed the music for Gysbrecht van Aemstel by Joost van den Vondel .

His fame as a composer gave him a number of private students. He gave lessons in music theory at the Orchestra School of the Concertgebouw founded by Willem Kes . In 1895 Daniel de Lange appointed him professor of counterpoint, composition and harmony at the Amsterdam Conservatory. In 1896 he became director of the conservatory. He held this position until 1922. His students included, for example, Hendrik Andriessen (father of the composer Louis Andriessen ) and Rosy Wertheim . He wrote two coronation cantatas for the enthronement of Queen Wilhelmina in September 1898. Zweers was one of the organizers of a three-day music festival initiated by Willem Mengelberg in January 1902. For the 300th birthday of Rembrandt on July 15, 1906, Zweers composed the concert overture Saskia , named after Rembrandt's wife Saskia van Uylenburgh , and the cantata Rembrandt . In 1907 he composed a choral work to commemorate the three hundredth birthday of the Dutch admiral Michiel de Ruyter . In 1909 Willem Mengelberg conducted Aan de Schoonheid for soloists, choir and orchestra. Zweer's wife Dora Maria de Louw performed here as a soloist. As a result, Zweers set several poems by his friend Pieter Cornelis Boutens (1870–1943) to music. These settings are the focus of this creative phase.

After 1909, apart from Rozen , in 1923 Zweers did not write any more works for large orchestra and only composed vocal works in small ensembles. At the music festival in 1912, which this time lasted a week, Zweers again played an important role. In 1914/15 he composed Wijzangen for soprano and wind quintet based on texts by the Bengali Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore in the Dutch translation by Frederik van Eeden . In his later years an increasing numbness became noticeable. In 1922 he therefore resigned from his offices at the Conservatory. He composed his last work in 1924, the hymn to the Netherlands Hart en Land for soprano and piano based on a text by Pieter Cornelis Boutens.

Works (selection)

Zweers strove for a nationally patriotically oriented music and based his vocal works, apart from some church music compositions, exclusively on Dutch texts, e.g. B. by Nicolaas Beets , Jan Jacob Lodewijk ten Kate (1809–1889), Jacques Perk (1859–1881), Hélène Swarth (1859–1941) and Pieter Cornelis Boutens. He also set texts by the Bengali Nobel Prize for Literature, Rabindranath Tagore, to music . Stylistically, borrowings from Dutch folk music are mixed in his works with melodies and harmonies clearly influenced by Richard Wagner . He composed many songs for his wife. However, he hardly wrote any chamber music. In Archief-Zweers the Nederlands Muziek Instituut are many autographs of his works and other documents.

Orchestral works

  • Symphony No. 1 in D major (1881) I. Andante- Allegro II. Adagio III. Scherzo. Presto IV. Finale. Allegro assai
  • Symphony No. 2 in E flat major (1883)
  • Symphony No. 3 Aan mijn Vaderland (1890)
  • Overture Saskia (1906), created on the occasion of a Rembrandt exhibition
  • Incidental music for Gysbrecht van Aemstel (1892)

Choral works

Works for choir and orchestra

  • Cantata De Kosmos, Psalm 104 (1883) for mixed choir and orchestra. Text: Jan Jacob Lodewijk ten Kate OCLC 71659464
  • Coronation Cantatas (1897–1898), in honor of Queen Wilhelmina
  • Veni creator , hymn for tenor, three trumpets in Bb, four horns in Eb, three trombones, a tuba, timpani and organ. Amsterdam (1899) OCLC 71709064
  • Leo cantate (1902). Cantata for tenor, baritone, male choir and orchestra; Text: Antoon Leonard de Rop OCLC 67357313
  • Aan de schoonheid (1909; with solos and orchestra). Text: Pieter Cornelis Boutens OCLC 78243810
  • Thursday, October 12th, Requiem. 1882
  • Rozen [roses]; Song for mixed choir and orchestra; Text: Pieter Cornelis Boutens OCLC 776999281
  • Ons Hollandsch for male choir and orchestra; Text: H. Cosman OCLC 71492444
  • Van een Zeeuwschen jongen [From a Zeeland boy] for three-part children's choir and orchestra; Text: Johan Hendrik Been OCLC 71744537
  • St. Nicolaasfeest; Children's cantata

Works for mixed choir a cappella

  • Avondlied [evening song]; Text: Pieter Cornelis Boutens OCLC 67955989
  • Gebed van den Nacht [Prayer of the Night]; Text: GW Lovendaal OCLC 67737875

Works for male choir

  • Mass for organ and brass. November 8, 1877
  • Tantum ergo OCLC 67520625
  • Bede [please]; Text: Jo de Vries OCLC 67737924
  • Libera , for bass, four-part male choir and organ OCLC 71709064
  • Maskerdans [mask dance]. 1908 published by Noordhoff in Groningen, OCLC 67737888
  • Schemering [twilight]. Text: G. Jonckbloet OCLC 71661726
  • Vrede [peace]. Text: Antoon Leonard de Rop. OCLC 71685560
  • Vrijheid [freedom] Text: H. Cosman. Published in Utrecht by Rahr

Works for voice and piano or any other keyboard instrument

  • Achter de wuivende duinenlijn. Text: Pieter Cornelis Boutens. Published 1915 in Amsterdam by Alsbach OCLC 71512191
  • Ave Maria for two female voices and organ or harmonium, 1886
  • Ave verum for soprano and piano or harpsichord. 1877
  • De merel [the blackbird]. Song for alto voice with piano accompaniment. Text: Felix Rutten. Published in 1923 in Amsterdam by Alsbach OCLC 71512211
  • Three shots ; Boer ballad. Poem by Rudolf Presper . Published in Amsterdam by van Holkema & Warendorf OCLC 730298788
  • Eenmaal heb ik u aanschouwd for high voice with piano accompaniment. Text: H. Cosman. Published in Amsterdam by Alsbach OCLC 71512187 OCLC 71726443
  • Het evangelie der natuur, sacred song with accompaniment by organ, harmonium or piano. Text: Jan Jacob Lodewijk ten Kate OCLC 71512189
  • 'k Wil u eens wat zeggen, blondje, for voice and piano accompaniment; Text: Jacques Perk OCLC 742335218
  • Leeuwerik [The Lark]. Text: Pieter Cornelis Boutens. Published in Amsterdam in 1915 by Alsbach OCLC 69072137
  • Did daaldet ge in de zee? for tenor and piano. Text: H. Cosman OCLC 71512203
  • Lof the godheid [praise to God]. Text: Joost van der Vondel . Published in Amsterdam in 1915 by Alsbach OCLC 71512207
  • Mei [May]. Song for voice and piano. Published in Amsterdam by Alsbach & Co. 1910 OCLC 71512210
  • Rijmpje [ strumming ]. Text: Jan Prins. Published in Amsterdam in 1915 by Alsbach OCLC 69072162
  • Vergeet-mij-nietjes [forget-me-not] for voice and piano. Text: GW Lovendaal

Chamber music

  • Andante for four violins, 1884
  • Moderato for six violins

Piano works

  • Fantasy, composed on January 25, 1868
  • Sonata No. 1, 1870
  • Petite Rondo, April 23, 1871
  • Sonata No. 2, 1872
  • Valse á 4, 1872
  • Valse Caprice, January 1881
  • Padvinder's March , 1917

Works for violin and piano

  • Sonata, January 14, 1871
  • Sonata, 1873
  • Andante, 1878
  • Romance, 1897

Organ works

  • Fugue in E-flat, 1884
  • Prelude and Double Fugue, 1882


  • Symphony No. 1 in D major. Nederlandse Radiokamerorkest [Dutch Radio Chamber Orchestra]. Dir .: Ed Spanjaard; Sterling 2006 OCLC 70126742
  • Symphony No.2 in E flat major. Dutch radio symphony orchestra. Director: Antoni Wit . Sterling 2004 OCLC 56504098
  • Symphony No. 3 Aan mijn vaderland. Het Residentie Orkest. The Hague; Director: Hans Vonk . recorded in De Nieuwe Kerk, The Hague , 24. – 26. August 1977. Sterling 2010 OCLC 731116708
  • Saskia, concert overture. Radio Filharmonisch Orkest Holland. Directed by: Jean Fournet . Sterling 2004 OCLC 56504098
  • Suite from the incidental music for Gysbrecht van Aemstel. Radio Filharmonisch Orkest Holland. Dir .: Lucas Vis . Sterling 2004
  • Avondlicht . In: Die Klänge ziehn: European Romantic Choral Songs. Marburg Bach Choir . Ltg . : Wolfram Wehnert , Musicaphon M 56838. Recorded in 2000. Published in 2002

Web links

Commons : Bernard Zweers  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g C. von Gleich: ZWEERS, Bernardus Josephus Wilhelmus (1854–1924). In: Biografisch Woordenboek van Nederland 2 (The Hague 1985). Huygens ING, November 12, 2013, accessed April 18, 2017 (Dutch).
  2. a b c d e Bernard Zweers. In: Retrieved April 18, 2017 (Dutch).
  3. Muziekmanuscripten in archief 150. In: Nederlands Muziek Instituut. Retrieved April 18, 2017 (Dutch).
  4. Thursday 12 October Requiem / [1882] / Leipzig. In: Archieven - Nederlands Muziek Instituut. Archived from the original on April 19, 2017 ; Retrieved on April 19, 2017 (Dutch, original website no longer available).
  5. Andante vor vier vioolen - music edition of the Nederlands Muziek Instituut , accessed on September 29, 2019 (PDF; 117 kB).
  6. a b Organ Works. Retrieved April 19, 2017 (Dutch).