Death of a leading Dutch composer, 88

John Borstlap has informed us of the death of Hans Kox, whom John described as ‘the most important 20th century composer in the Netherlands, with a typically modern voice but who still kept some important traditional values like tonality (in the widest sense) and expression’.

His publisher writes: ‘From 1984, Kox devoted himself entirely to composing. To that end, he secluded himself, for “Composing is simply the loneliest profession on earth. I knew that when I got started, and actually, I wouldn’t have it any other way.” In more than 50 years, Kox completed about 150 compositions. His music has no specific intentions or meaning. Kox describes his music as “just music, sound. Music is itself, however one wants to interpret this.”’

He had certain things in common with Shostakovich, including a love of cats.

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  • Very interesting, Mr. Borstlap. Is he really superior to Badings, Vermeulen, and Pijper?

  • There is also an interesting national TV documentary about Kox:

    (Dutch but with English subtitles)

    Jaap van Zweden performed an impressive première of Kox’ 5th symphony in the Concertgebouw which I attended. The publisher got it wrong with saying that Kox’ music has no specific intentions or meaning. Like the music of Shostakovich, the music is full of meaning, but subliminal meaning. What listeners unconsciously ‘recognize’ relates to their own individual life experience, and that is – as with Sh – not always very pretty.

  • ‘..whom John described as ‘the most important 20th century composer in the Netherlands.’

    Good for John (who I’m sure would describe himself as ‘the second most important composer in the Netherlands’), and in that spritit I would like to add that Dirk Kuyt is the greatest football player ever produced by the Netherlands (forget Cruyff), that Jeroen Krabbé is our greatest painter (and actor, by the way), that Multatuli can’t hold a candle to our greatest writer Kluun, that Suriname was a better colony than Indonesia and that André Rieu is our greatest conductor.

    • What about the scientists? Someone must be much greater than Mssrs. Huygens and Leeuwenhoek; who is it?

    • Thanks for nothing in the way of enlightenment. You’re generous with your sarcasm though, no one can take that away from you.

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