Jan van Dijk
Jan van Dijk was born on 4 June 1918 in Oostzaan. He studied composition with
Willem Pijper and piano with Jaap Callenbach. From 1955 he was lecturer of
composition and theory at the Conservatory of Brabant in Tilburg and from 1961
to 1979 he taught general subjects at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. He
has followed Prof. Fokker's interest in the 31-tone system from the beginning,
and was one of the first composers to write works for the 31-tone organ in
Jan van Dijk is without doubt the most productive Dutch composer of this time.
His music is filled with surprising turns, motives, instrumental colour
combinations, all composed in a moderately modern idiom, in which sometimes
the impressionist and lucid atmosphere of Van Dijk's greatest idol after Bach:
Debussy, or else the fresh, the passion and folk rhythmic of his other idol:
Bartók, can appear. Finally also Richard Wagner belongs to his great idols. But
an epigone is this striking figure from Tilburg not in the least, if only for
the inexhaustible ways he can express himself in remarkable instrumental
Jan van Dijk has written about 950 compositions. About 250 are works for
orchestra, among which nine symphonies, five sinfoniettas, and many
symphonic poems and solo concertos for among others viola, alto saxophone,
alto recorder, accordian, double bass, saxophone, violin, flute, trombone,
oboe and organ. He also wrote a lot of music for amateur ensembles like
fanfares and brassbands, using bizarre combinations as brassband with
carillon and symphony-orchestra with carillon. Many concertos and
concertinos for piano and orchestra were introduced by himself as soloist.
Jan van Dijk also occupied several executive functions and was music journalist
for the Algemeen Handelsblad. His works were often honoured with awards.
In Concerto for trombone, violin and cello is the trombone the only
instrument that uses the 31-tone system, with the exception of two notes in the
violin score; the two string instruments play in the 'ordinary' twelve tone
systen and form in this way a large contrast with the trombone. The tone
systems employed by Jan van Dijk are based on the Euler-Fokker genera of the
sixth degree, namely  and .
The ad libitum sections for the trombone in the middle part, the Aria,
form in a certain sense the axis of the piece. These recitative-like passages
interrupt the metrical continuity of the Aria and join themselves
between the pitch heights which are structured around the central point in an
almost perfect retrograde movement. Although this information gives some
insight into the way of composing, it says nothing about the music itself. It
is not cold, rational and construed, but warm, lyrical and human.
Article on this website
Article with Adriaan Fokker "Expériences musicales avec
les genres musicaux de Leonhard Euler contenant la septième harmonique", with compositions, 1949