1959 THE WINNERS
|1st prize:||ƒ 1000, the medal of Muziekstad Den Bosch, a diploma, a concert with the Brabant Orchestra, a KRO Radio broadcast.|
|2nd prize:||ƒ 500, a diploma, a concert with the Brabant Orchestra, a KRO Radio broadcast.|
|Young Talent prize:||ƒ 500, a diploma|
GREAT PRIZE OF THE CITY OF DEN BOSCH
|AALTJE NOORDEWIER-REDDINGIUS PRIZE|
|1st prize||Zofia Janukovicz-Pobłocka||Soprano||PO|
|2nd prize||Manya Beier||Soprano||GE|
|2nd prize||Lia Rotter||Soprano||BE|
|KATHLEEN FERRIER PRIZE|
|1st prize||Mariëtte Dierckx||Alto||BE|
|2nd prize||Djurdjevka Čakarević||Mezzo-soprano||YU|
|2nd prize||Julianna Falk||Alto||HUNG|
|JACQUES URLUS PRIZE|
|JOS ORELIO PRIZE|
|2nd prize||Harold Gray||Bass||UK|
‘TOONKUNST PRIZE’ FOR YOUNG TALENT
|Max van Egmond *||Bass-Baritone||NL|
|* Max van Egmond competed for the ‘Toonkunst’ Young Talent Prize with Wilhelmina (Wilma) Driessen in a separate standoff performance before the Jury. Since the Prize aimed at the promotion of Dutch artists, they ere also the only two finalists that could compete for it.|
GREAT PRIZE OF THE CITY DEN BOSCH
‘Arthur Loosli from Bern, Switzerland, started his performance with Händel, sang with much panache an aria from Mozart, even though he exaggerated it a bit, and he finished with a sublime rendition of a Mussorgsky song. His is a very extensive instrument and a most beautiful vocal color.’ (Johan van Dongen, Brabants Dagblad, September 1959)
Arthur Loosli brought the audience on his side with a vey funny rendition of Leporello’s ‘Catalogue aria’ from Don Giovanni.’ (FV, unidentified newspaper cutting, September 1959)
‘The winner’s strongest points are not his volume, but he does have a beautiful, warm timbred voice, noble in expression, and sustained by a secure technique. In arias by Händel and Mozart as well as in a Schubert song he proved to be an immaculate artist, of whom we will certainly hear more in the years to come’ (Bertus van Lier, Unidentified newspaper cutting, September 11, 1959)
‘A highlight during the finals was Arthur Loosli’s Osmin aria.’ (‘Eerste prijzen naar Zwitserland, België en Polen,’ Eindhovens Dagblad, September 1959)
Arthur Loosli emerged as the hero of the day with a First prize among basses, on top of which he was elected Best Singer in the Competition. There could be no doubt as to whether he deserved his prizes. Loosli is a ‘Spiel-baritone’ with rare gifts’ (Leo Hanekroot, De Tijd, September 11, 1959)
Arthur Loosli gave a war, broad rendition of Mozart’s Concert aria ‘Io ti lascia.’ Leporello’s register aria from Don Giovanni was sung entirely in German, and although the aria doesn’t sound as good in German as in Italian, the Swiss bass-baritone proved here again his talent for comical opera.’ (F.V., IVC Gala Concert review, Unidentified newspaper cutting, September 15, 1959)
The Swiss bass-baritone Arthur Loosli (February, 23, 1926, La Chaux-d'Abel, Berne, Switzerland) first studied painting and history of art in Berne, Paris and Florence between 1946 and 1950. He was rather successful as a carver and a draughtsman, having international exhibitions in European cities as well as in the USA. He also worked for many years as an art teacher at the high school of Thun. Regardless, once discovered his vocal gifts could not be denied and from 1952 onwards he trained his voice with Felix Loeffel at the Conservatory of Berne. Further studies followed with the famous bass Mariano Stabile in Venice (1958) and with Arne Sunnegaard in Stockholm (1958-1959). Following the completion of his studies, Loosli went to test his ground in the International Vocal Competition (IVC) Den Bosch, where he literally came, saw and conquered, emerging there not only as First prize winner in the bass/baritones category, but also taking with him the Great Prize of the City of Den Bosch as best Vocalist in the Competition.
Arthur Loosli (bass-baritone) Berner Kammerensemble – Theo Hug (conductor), 1967 (CD Jecklin JD 510-2)
Although just graduated, he did not arrive to Den Bosch without experience, since he had started his important concert career as of 1958. Over the years, he proved himself on the one hand as oratorio soloist of high rank, on the other hand as talented Lieder interpreter, which is of course in line with the reviews of his IVC appearances in 1959, where his intelligence and his musicality were acknowledged in line with his limitations in terms of volume. Although he did not appear in staged opera, he did appear in concert opera performances. He sang in important music centers in Switzerland, in Rome, Bergamo, Bari, Brescia, in Genoa, Lucca, Mantua, Parma, Padua and Ravenna, in Amsterdam, Brussels, Besançon, in Stuttgart, Mannheim, Nürnberg, in Stockholm and at the Festival of Wroclaw (Breslau). He mastered a broadly varied repertoire, which began with compositions from the Baroque period (Bach, Händel) and reached up to works of contemporary composers (Schoeck, Willy Burkhard, Honegger, Martin, Britten, Tippett). Bach-Canatas list him in recordings of Bach: Johannes-Passion (HMV, as Christus), Othmar Schoeck: Lieder (HMV), Schubert: ‘Winterreise’ and ‘Schwanengesang’ (Akzent; with personal designs of the artist); Zelenka: ‘Messe,’ ‘Böhmische Pastorellen’ (Swiss Pan).
FIRST PRIZE WINNERS
‘Zofia Janukowicz delivered an excellent performance in an aria by Tchaikovski.’ (‘Eerste prijzen naar Zwitserland, België en Polen,’ Eindhovens Dagblad, September 11, 1959)
‘Her Tchaikovsky is conquering. She emanates the music as a force of nature.’ (Leo Hanekroot, De Tijd, September 11, 1959)
‘The Polish soprano Zofia Janukowicz gave a very stylish performance of an aria from ‘Jerusalem’ from Mendelssohn’s Paulus, while her interpretation of Lisa’s aria from Pique Dame was impressive.’ With her metallic, melancholic voice she imbued this aria with dramatic impact.’ (F.V., IVC Gala Concert review, Unidentified newspaper clipping, September 15, 1959)
Zofia Janukowicz-Pobłocka (February 19, 1928 ,Vilnius) was born in Vilnius, Lithuania. In 1946, following the War, she and her family were repatriated from Kimstacz to Elk, where she went to music school. Onwards, she followed the Stanisław Moniuszko Music School in Gdansk, where she studied with Janiny Cygańskiej and Maurycego Janowskiego. From 1950 to 1958 she moved to Zopot. In 1955 she won First Prize at the National Singing Competition Moniuszko in Warsaw. She obtained her teaching degree in 1957 and her soloist diploma in 1958, in the class of professor Barbara Iglikowskiej, both diplomas obtained with honors. She was then approved to compete abroad, and she achieved a major success when she won the First Prize in the 1959 edition of the International Vocal Competition (IVC) Den Bosch, in The Netherlands.
Most peculiarly, her Polish biography mentions that her artistic aspirations gravitated towards the art of song, whereas she emerged from the IVC Finals as a hot-blooded opera diva. What was then still lacking in teems of refinement and interpretation was subsequently perfected with Clara Ebers and Janine Micheau, during two consecutive IVC Summer Courses in Vught, The Netherlands.
Her First Prize in s'-Hertogenbosch immediately landed her a concert tour through the German Democratic republic in 1960. In the season 1960-1961 she participated in several performances of Gluck’s Orfeo with the Gdansk State Opera. A scholarship of the Italian Government subsequently enabled her to complete her studies at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome from 1961 to 1962. She studied there with Giorgio Favaretto and Rachele Maragliano-Mori, while privately also studying with the renowned Ada Sari. Since then, she performed frequently in Italy, and she also returned to The Netherlands, where, among others, she recorded a recital with arias from Verdi and Mozart.
After returning to Poland, she became a national celebrity soprano, appearing all over the country, on radio and television. She was one of the first performers of the vocal works of Karol Szymanowski, whose ‘Silesian Triptych’ she recorded. In 1962 she gave recitals in Czechoslovakia, Europe and the Asian part of the Soviet Union. In seven years she gave at least ten further recitals in The Netherlands, where her IVC Victory was well remembered. She also appeared in Moscow.
Zofia Janukowicz-Pobłocka (soprano), Ewa Pobłocka (piano), Gdansk, 1975
During her career she took part in nearly 1.300 symphony concerts, oratorios, chamber music performances and solo recitals. Polish radio and recording archives have over 130 recordings with her from Poland, Italy, The Netherlands, Denmark and the Soviet Union. From the start she combined her singing career with her activities as a teacher at the Gdansk Conservatory. In 1975 he went into early retirement as a soloist and concentrated herself on her teachings at the Academy of Music in Gdansk. In the years 1984 - 1987 was elected Dean of the Faculty of Vocal Music Academy in Gdansk. In 1987-1990 he was dean again for the second term. In the years 1985-1996 she served as the Head of the Voice Department. She ended her teaching career in 2005.
‘Mariëtte Dierckx, well known in Eindhoven for her Joshua with the Christian Oratorio Federation en her Orfeo with Het Rozenknopje, sung marvelous in Bach’s ‘Erbarme dich,’ as well as in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia.’ (‘Eerste prijzen naar Zwitserland, België en Polen,’ Eindhovens Dagblad, September 11, 1959)
‘The Kathleen Ferrier Prize for altos went to the Belgian alto Mariëtte Dierckx, who has concerted several times in The Netherlands, among others under conductor Bertus van Lier. She was easily the best in her field, especially in the Schumann song and the coloratura aria from Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia.’ (‘Vocalistenconcours met een hoeveelheid aan prijzen,’ Undentified newspaper cutting, September 11, 1959)
‘After the well played overture of Cherubini’s Anacreon, First Prize winner among altos Mariëtte Dierckx sang ‘Che faro’ from Gluck’s Orfeo . The orchestra started in a rather fast pace, but this was slowed down onwards, in order to give Dierckx the possibility to enfold the full range of her talents. She sang both the ‘Che faro’from Gluck and ‘Una voce poco fà’ from Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia with a very controlled and pure voice, which brought her loud applause.’ (F.V., Unidentified newspaper clipping, September 15, 1959)
Immediately following her First Prize at the International Vocal Competition (IVC) Den Bosch, Mariëtte Dierckx was engaged at the Royal Flemish Opera Antwerp (KVOA), where she remained a member of the ensemble until 1963. From this period we present her here in a 401DutchDivas archive recording of Carmen:
Mariëtte Dierckx (Carmen), early 1960’s.
SECOND PRIZE WINNERS
Manya Breier made a little glitch in Sarti’s ‘Miserère,’ yet she got herself together impressively. She was also the only vocalist who dared to come up with a modern song, by Reuter. An excellent aria from Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor landed her a place in the finals. ’ (FV, unidentified newspaper cutting, September 1959)
‘Manya Breier sang a touching version of Schubert’s ‘Am Spinnrade,’ and a delightful aria from Nicolai’s Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor, followed by a superbly sung Debussy song.’ (‘Eerste prijzen naar Zwitserland, België en Polen,’ Eindhovens Dagblad, September 11, 1959)
‘Manya Breier, Second Prize winner with the most beautiful timbre of all voices in the competition. ’ (‘Eerste prijzen naar Zwitserland, België en Polen,’ Eindhovens Dagblad, September 11, 1959)
‘Among sopranos there were two who could claim to have more right to the First Prize than the Polish winner, among them the German Manya Breier, who may well think of herself as the greatest artist in this competition. Hers is a great artistic personality that is in danger of blowing up too soon precisely because of its greatness: she has difficulty to control her greatest weapon, her intense emotionality. This emotional impact is not caused by lack of restraint or by sentimentality, on the contrary: her inspiration, or better, her ability to bring emotions to life is at times more intense than a human being can handle. This renders her nervous, which in turn affects her vocals, and causes mistakes. In Frau Fluth’s aria from Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor she compensated her mistake with her intensity, which resulted in a fascinating tour de force In ‘Gretchen am Spinnrade’ something happened that eluded human scales. This song fulfilled the entire promise of German song proper. The song has this inside, and Manya Breier brought it out to full light. She will have to do less in the future, in order to survive in a professional sense of the word Art is a compromise between vision and matter in the broadest sense of the word: man proper. So, Manya Breier must retreat to lower grounds in order to survive, but she had certainly deserved the First Prize in her league. ’ (Leo Hanekroot, De Tijd, September 11, 1959)
With all critics overwhelmed by both the emotional intensity and the sheer beauty of Manya Breier’s voice, one is drawn to listening and drinks in the same intense experience. Fortunately, her jubilated Frau Fluth aria from the Gala Concert on September 14, 1959 was preserved in our IVC recordings archive
Manya Breier (Frau Fluth), Brabants Orkest – Hein Jordans (conductor), Casino Theatre Den Bosch, September 14, 1959.
‘She impressed with her aria from Il trovatore, ‘Stride la vampa,’ even though her voice was not always completely under control’ (F.V., IVC Gala Concert review, Unidentified newspaper clipping, September 15, 1959)
Djurdjevka Čakarević (April 8, 1923, Gaj, Kovina - 2 January, 2006, Belgrade) graduated in singing from the Belgrade Conservatory in 1957, In the class of Professor Jelke Stamatović-Nikolić. In 1957 she debuted in the comic opera in Belgrade 1957. By 1959 she won the Second Prize in the Kathleen Ferrier category in the International Vocal Competition (IVC) ‘s-Hertogenbosch. In 1961 she added the First Prize in the vocal competition in Verviers. During her career, she sang both soprano and mezzo-soprano roles, until she was well over sixty years old. She was renowned for her Italian opera interpretations in works by Verdi (Amneris in Aida, Princess Eboli in Don Carlo and others.), and then also the works of Janacek, Prokofiev, and Tchaikovsky. Her luscious voice and theatrical temperament, combined with a powerful volume and a beautiful timbre’ captivated the audience and the critics of Belgrade, and then also Munich, Wiesbaden, Venice, Lausanne, Prague, Turin, Budapest, Milan, Rome, Moscow, Cologne, Kiev, Leningrad, Cairo, and Buenos Aires. In addition to opera she was also a renowned concert singer. Her singing was once described as ‘distinguished by stylistic purity, musical sophistication and interpretive skill.’ Since 1975 she also worked as a voice teacher in Belgrade, but also in Torino, Cologne, and Basel. She has worked with singers formed exclusively on improving their vocal technique and interpretation.
Djurdjevka Čakarević (Azucena), Brabants Orkest – Hein Jordans (conductor), Casino Theatre Den Bosch, September 14, 1959.
Jualianna (Julia) Falk
‘Julianna Falk achieved her place in the finals on the grounds her excellent interpretation of a Kodaly song. Impressive were also her performance and her voice control, even though she made a little slip in the aria from La Gioconda.’
‘Very stylish in the aria ‘Piangero la mia sorte’ from Händel’s Giulio Cesare.’ (F.V., IVC Gala Concert review, Unidentified newspaper clipping, September 15, 1959)
Although Hungarian alto Julia Falk is a familiar name due to a number of reissued 1960’s recordings, often made with fellow International Vocal Competition winners such as Max van Egmond, Jacques Villisech, Károly Schmidt, and others, surprisingly little is known about her in terms of biographical data. Kutsch-Riemens doesn’t feature her, and neither is she featured in the ‘Whose who in Opera’ volumes that we have in our library. What we do is that her name first appears as Second Prize winner of the ARD Vocal Competition, Germany. She is present on the 1962 recording of Haydn’s Schöpfungsmesse (LP Musica Sacra AMS 35). That she was a name that counted for something in the world of oratorio is clear from her appearance in the 1963 live recording of Händel’s Judas Maccabeus with Frits Wunderlich under Rafael Kubelik (although she was just the Messenger there). Likewise from 1963 is the recording of Bach’s Actus Tragicus with the Leonhardt Consort, made for Teldec along with a few other Bach cantatas. In addition there is an EMI vinyl record of Schubert’s ‘Deutsche Messe,’ conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch.
Julia Falk (alto), Leonhardt Consort, 1963 (CD Teldec Das Alte Werk)
The baritone Harold Gray received a standing ovation for his rendition of Schubert’s ‘Der Wanderer.’ Excellent further performances of ‘O Isis und Osiris’ and an aria from ‘The Messiah labeled him a favorite for the Prizes. ’ (FV, unidentified newspaper cutting, September 1959)
‘There should have been two First Prizes in this competition in the Jos Orelio category, on top of which I would like to stress that is unacceptable that basses and baritones are just thrown together here.’ (Leo Hanekroot,’ De Tijd, September 11, 1959)
‘To me, the very young Irish bass Harold Gray was more of a discovery than his winning colleague. Both sang the Messiah aria, Gray in English, while he also sang a Brahms song and a Verdi aria. In technical sense, Loosli was superior, which is not surprising, since Gray has only been studying since one year and still has to learn a lot. Regardless, his talent was evident.’ (Vocalistenconcours met hoeveelheid aan prijzen,’ unidentified newspaper cutting, September 11, 1959)
‘The self confident English bass Harold Gray gave a fine, traditional interpretation of Händel’s Messiah, which aria had previously garnered him his Second prize in the competition.’ (F.V., IVC Gala Concert review, Unidentified newspaper clipping, September 15, 1959)
‘During the Gala Concert the best impression was made by the Irish bass Harold Gray, whose Messiah aria was noble and worthy, sung with a full voice that over the years will gain in amplitude. I am convinced that he will eventually have the greatest career of the 1959 IVC finalists.’ (Leo Riemens, IVC Gala Concert review, De Telegraaf, September 15, 1959)
‘In my opinion (and those of many others), the best male vocalist in the competition was the phenomenal Irish bass Harold Gray. His is a unique sounding voice, with a technical security that made the most dazzling coloraturas of Händel’s arias sound as if they were sung by a soprano leggiero.’ (Leo Riemens, De Telegraaf, September 1960)
After years where former Second Prizewinners successfully reentered the IVC in order to obtain a First prize, the 1960’s mainly saw a sequence of les successful attempts to upgrade previous results there. English bass Harold Gray had won Second Prize in the Jos Orelio category in 1959, but amidst an exceptionally competitive field of the 1960 event, especially in the bass and baritone section, he was given no more than an Honorary Diploma. An ill advised choice for Sarastro’s aria ‘O Isis und Osiris,’ which didn’t fit his vocal range very well, almost prevented him from reaching the finals, but he made up for that with fine performances of Händel and Schubert.
Harold Gray (bass), Brabants Orkest – Hein Jordans (conductor), Casino Theatre Den Bosch, September 14, 1959.
‘Lia Rottier sang an elaborate rendition of Mozart’s ‘Et incarnates est.’ (‘Eerste prijzen naar Zwitserland, België en Polen,’ Eindhovens Dagblad, September 11, 1959)
‘Belgian soprano Lia Rottier from Ghent excelled in an aria from Massenet’s Manon, and her Chausson song was beautiful.’ (Johan van Dongen, Brabants Dagblad, September 1959)
‘Among sopranos there were two who could claim to have more right to the First Prize than the Polish winner, and these were the German Manya Breier and the Belgian Lia Rottier, the latter perhaps a shade over-intellectual and formal, but with perfect emanation and clear diction.’ (Leo Hanekroot, De Tijd, September 11, 1959)
‘Many thought with me that the First Prize among sopranos should have been awarded to Lia Rottier from Belgium, whom I also though to be the best vocalist of the competition. She sang an aria of Manon , a Debussy song and Mozart’s ‘Incarnatus est’ with exceptionally rich voice, controlled and with impeccable style, for which she then received the Second prize.
‘During the IVC Gala Concert Lia Rottier repeated her aria from Massenet’s Manon , regrettably again without the ‘Gavotte.’ She was in my mind the only artist in this competition who reached the required level in all three disciplines of opera, oratorio and song. This brief aria did not give her the possibility to demonstrate her considerable talents.’ (Leo Riemens, IVC Gala Concert review, De Telegraaf, September 15, 1959)
‘Last but not least there was Lia Rottier, who gave a glorious rendition of Manon’s ‘Je marche sous tous les chemins’ by Massenet.’ (F.V., IVC Gala Concert review, Unidentified newspaper clipping, September 15, 1959)
Simultaneously with her celebrated appearance at the 1959 International Vocal Competition (IVC) Den Bosch, Belgian soprano Lia Rottier (October 10, 1936, Semmerzake-Deinze) studied voice at the Conservatory Ghent, Belgium. Most peculiarly her biography spells that she graduated there for her master in 1963, while she debuted at the Ghent Opera as early as 1957, as Micaëla in Bizet’s Carmen. Thus, she arrived to the 1959 edition of the International Vocal Competition (IVC) ‘s-Hertogenbosch with two years stage experience. As can be judged from the press quotations above, she came close to winning a First Prize, and Leo Hanekroot even thought her the best singer in all. With a First Prize for her alto compatriot Mariëtte Dierckx, and an Honorary Diploma for Kamiel Lampaert, Rottier made the 6th IVC a resounding success for Belgium.
Another biography mentions a 1959 debut at the Munt Opera in Brussels, where she for seven seasons, from 1959 until 1966. Following her IVC victory, she also appeared with the Royal Flemish Opera Antwerp, where she sang from 1960 until 1963. There she recreated the legendary 1903 opera Prinses Zonneschijn (Princess Sunshine) of the Flemish composer Paul Gilson, an absolute masterpiece with a shimmering orchestration that combines that balances the best of the French school with the late romantic, Post Wagnerian schools of Germany (which at times makes it foreshadow the orchestration and lyricism of Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini). Since this opera deserves to be heard again, we present here Rottier’s aria with great pride:
Lia Rottier (Prinses Zonenschijn), Royal Flemish Opera – Serveer van den Broeck (conductor), 1983.
Little known is that she created the Spanish premiere of Gilson’s masterpiece in the Liceu Barcelona, 1965, in a series of 3 guest performances of the Flemish Opera. In the National Opera Brussels she performed also the 9th Symphony of Beethoven. Post the 1970’s, she appeared in numerous opera and concert performances in Germany, The Netherlands, France (Paris and Nice), and Luxemburg. Of her further roles we mention Mélisande in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande. Rttier also sang in The Netherlands, with Opera Forum, where she debuted as Bess in the 1972 run of Porgy & (a lilly white) Bess. In 1975 she gave concert performances of Die Fledermaus (as Rosalinde) and Don Giovanni (as Donna Anna) with the Limburg Symphony Orchestra under André Rieu senior, in Heerlen. These were followed in 1977 by performances in Sittard as Violetta Valéry in La traviata. Apart from her operatic work, she became a renowned concert and oratorio artists. Summarizing, Rottier was quite a celebrity at the time, and appeared in numerous Flemisch radio broadcasts until at least the 1980’s, yet very little remains of her career today other than a handful of recordings – even specialized Belgian websites currently lack photographs of her. Her recordings include François-Joseph Gossec’s ‘Grande Messe des Morts,’ and his ‘Missa pro defunctis.’ Arguably her best memento in all is an LP with her Eudoxie from a 1964 production of Halévy’s La Juive from Ghent, with Tony Poncet as Eléazar, and IVC 1955 participant Géry Brunin as Rachel!
Lia Rottier (Eudoxie), Orchestra and chorus of the Royal Opera House Gent – Robert Ledent (conductor), 1964.
‘He rose above his competitors in the tenor section, and his rendition of ‘Und Gott schuf die Mensch’ from Die Schöpfung was impeccable, as was ‘Il mio tesoro’ from Mozart’s Don Giovanni , and the one failed coloratura passage there was easily forgiven.’ (FV, unidentified newspaper cutting, September 1959)
‘The Belgian tenor Kamiel Lampaert obtained an Honorary Diploma but one would have wished for him to win a Second Prize. His voice may not be an ‘important’ one, but it is well developed, and he is a serious musician, whose career one can imagine in the world of endless oratorios.’ (Leo Hanekroot, De Tijd, September 11, 1959)
All we know about Kamiel Lampaert is that he appeared n a 1950’s (?) vinyl pressing of Armand Preud’homme’s folk-musical Heidegalmen, along with the famous Belgian baritone Renaat Verbruggen and soprano Angèle Geerts. Our tenor has two solo songs, composed in a crossover style between art song and folklore, and one duet wit Geerts. Regrettably, the sleeve has no notes and therefore also no biographical information on the tenor. What we do know is that Lampaert sang for over a decade as a member of the Royal Flemish Opera ensemble Antwerp. He appeared there as Monsieur Courtois in the world premiere of Peter Welffens opera Reinaert de Vos. On May 6, 1966, he repeated this creation in the City Theatre Eindhoven in The Netherlands. Judging from a second guest performance in The Netherlands with the Royal Flemish Opera Antwerp (now in Arnhem, as Goro in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly), he was at least active with the company until the mid 1970’s, after which we have no more information about his career.
Kamiel Lampaert (tenor), Orchestra – Gaston Nuyts (RCLP 9)
YOUNG TALENT PRIZE ‘TOONKUNST’
Max van Egmond
‘Max van Egmond puts notes on display in a near exhibitionist manner, and still has to learn how to sing from the heart. Give it a little more edge in the high register and he will be there.’ (Leo Hanekroot, De Tijd, September 11, 1959)
The admired Dutch bass-baritone Max (Rudolf) van Egmond (February 1, 1936, Semarang, Java, Indonesia (the former Dutch East Indies)) completed his schooling and musical education in Holland after the war. He studied in Amsterdam with pedagogue Tine van Willigen-de Lorme during a period of more as 25 year. He became a member of the Nederlandse Bach Vereniging (Dutch Bach Society) at the age of eighteen. In 1959 he participated in the International Vocal Competition (IVC) Den Bosch, where he won the 'Toonkunst' Encouragement Prize, three years after his friend and compatriot, Elly Ameling had won her glorious First Prize there.
For those merely familiar with the impressive international career of Van Egmond in song and oratorio, it may come as a surprise to see that his ‘Toonkunst’ Young Talent Prize was mildly disputed by the press of the day. Indeed, most critics thought the Prize should have been given to the only other candidate, Wilhelmina Driessen. Normally, we could look back in time and simply tell right from wrong, but the truth here seems rather that both deserved this new IVC Prize (reserved for Dutch talents, hence Driessen and Van Egmond were the only candidates), given their exceptional later careers. One should at the same time bear in mind that both arrived to the International Vocal Competition Den Bosch at a very early age; Van Egmond was only 23. Which is not to say that the Press misinterpreted Van Egmond’s talent, which was duly recognized, as were his future strong points. Whereas in 1959 he was still considered ‘over intellectual,’ and needed to work out his technique a little more. Once that was galvanized, it was precisely his vocal intelligence that helped him to set standards in interpretation in Lieder and oratorio that still makes his name count for something today. In short, his surprise victory was at that age a coup that Van Egmond is rightfully still proud of to date.
Van Egmond won prizes also in the Brussels (1959) and Munich (1964) competitions, and all these marked the beginning of his distinguished career as a singer of oratorio, lieder and baroque opera. He achieved his greatest fame as an interpreter of J. S. Bach's cantatas, masses and passions and from 1965 participated in complete recordings and performances of these masterpieces with conductors Gustav Leonhardt, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Frans Brüggen (Teldec, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Seon). One of Holland's most beloved artists, he has received numerous awards and honors including a special decoration from Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands for his decades of service to Dutch musical life. His forty-year career has taken him throughout Europe, Canada, the USA, Israel and Asia.
Max van Egmond (Meraspe), Complesso Barocco – Alan Curtis, 1978 (LP Electrola/ CD Reader’s Digest)
For many years a professor at Amsterdam's Sweelinck Conservatory, Max van Egmond continues to give master classes throughout the world. His recordings with the Belgian-based Ricercar Consort have explored the extensive seventeenth-century German cantata repertory in a highly successful ongoing series of recordings (Deutsche Barock Kantaten - Ricercar). From the early 21st Century onwards Van Egmond concentrated on performing lieder and French art songs, and has produced highly acclaimed recordings (with the Belgian pianist, Jos van Immerseel) of Schubert's 'Winterreise' and chansons of Gabriel Fauré (Channel Classics). His concerts, recordings and many prominent students all provide eloquent testimony not only to his expertise in all areas of the vocal repertoire, but also to his great kindness and humanity in the service of music. In addition to the many LP’s and CD’ recordings, Reader’s Digest released a fascinating 3CD portrait of the artist in their French ‘Les plus grandes voix du Monde’ series, which is divided in ‘Splendeurs baroques,’ ‘L’art dela mélodie,’ and ‘Fêtons Noël!’
Max van Egmond (Bass-baritone), Wim Matse (pinao), 1980, Oldezaal (CD Reader’s Digest)
THOSE WHO CAME TO DEN BOSCH TOO SOON…
Wilhelmina [Wilma] Driessen
‘Although Wilhelmina Driessen did not win the ‘Toonkunst’ prize for Youg talent, she is the born artist that I wrote about yesterday. During the IVC 1959 Finals, she surpassed herself. All she still needs is a teacher who can make her voice more full and round than it currently is and she will arrive, since hers is a musical instinct such as I’ve seldom seen.’ (Leo Hanekroot, De Tijd, September 11, 1959)
‘The 20 Years young Wilhelmna Driessen from den Haag was as much a talent as it gets. Her voice is exceedingly fresh, almost child-like. With her aria from La sonnambula she proved to have future possibilities as a lyrical coloratura soprano, with chances in opera. Her good looks will further help her there. While one was handing out Honorary Diplomas likes bonbons, I would have wished her to at least receive one such a distinction too, if not an extra Encouragement Prize for Young Talent. I console myself with the knowledge that career wise First prize winners aren’t always the most lucky ones.’ (Vocalistenconcours met een veelheid aan prijzen,’ Unidentified newspaper cutting, Spetember 11, 1959)
‘The first soprano in the semi finals was Helga Dernesch from Vienna, who seems to have arrived a little too early here. In fact, I wonder how she even made it to these semi finals: voice and musicality were completely insufficient.’ (Johan van Dongen, Brabants Dagblad, September 1959)