Forbidden Music Regained

Leo Smit Stichting
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By Jan van Gilse

Vocal music
Mixed choir and orchestra (sopr ten bar SATB 2222 4331 timp perc str)
30 minutes
location of manuscript archive registration number 053/062 053/063 053/064a 053/064b
published score
order full score here


For soprano, tenor, baritone, choir and large orchestra

Words by Emil Prinz zu Schönaich-Carolath

Published version edited by John Smit

After his Concert Overture and first symphony Jan van Gilse started on the even greater challenge of composing a cantata for solo voices, four part choir and large orchestra. Had his Overture been an initial exercise, the Sulamith Cantata was meant to be the conclusion of his studies. Due to a quarrel, which Van Gilse, however, was not to blame for, he was forced to prematurely leave the Cologne Conservatory, the scheduled performance of Sulamith being cancelled as a result. In November 1902 Van Gilse left for Berlin to continue his studies with Engelbert Humperdinck. 1903 did after all see a performance in Arnhem where Van Gilse had been living for a year and where his Overture and first symphony had met with great acclaim. At the two-day music festival in Musis Sacrem in Arnhem on 17 and 18 October 1903, Sulamith was flanked by no less than Gustav Mahler’s Third Symphony (first performance in the Netherlands!) and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The 120-musician orchestra of the Arnhemse Orkest-Vereeniging [Arnhem Orchestral Society] and the Utrecht Stedelijk Orkest [Utrecht Municipal Orchestra] with a choir of 600 singers were conducted by the just 22-year-old composer. Soloists were the soprano Miss Becker from Cologne, replacing Anna Kappel, who had fallen ill, tenor Johan Rogmans and the also Cologne-based bass Konrad Haering. Both soloists from Cologne may have been involved in the preparations for the scheduled 1902 performance.
The score has been made by using the autograph score, which is stored in the NMI Jan van Gilse archives. To the piano reduction, that originally contained only the solo parts, choral parts have been added in this new edition. The original choral parts consist of single parts. With a 120-musician orchestra, the woodwind parts are likely to have been doubled throughout. In the horn parts, the redoublings have been carefully indicated. In the printed score, I made these parts ad libitum additions. The second timpani part is made by the composer.
Hilversum, John Smit

About Jan van Gilse

(05/11/1881 - 09/08/1944)
Jan van Gilse

Jan van Gilse received his musical education in Germany. His music developed into a synthesis of French impressionism and German romanticism. He became a popular conductor and one of the founders of the Society of Dutch composers (GeNeCo) and also the copyright organization BUMA. During the war, this socially engaged human being was fiercely anti-German. He had to pay a heavy price for his fighting spirit.

by dr. Hans van Dijk