PHIA BERGHOUT  "Historical Document"
VAN DELDEN:  Notturno (Aug 27, 1962).  Concerto for Harp and Orchestra (Sept. 20, 1952) (with Concertgebouw Orch/Eduard van Beinum).  HENKEMANS:  Concerto for Harp and Orchestra (May 13, 1961) (with Netherlands Radio Symphony Orch/Hugo Rignold).  ANDRIESSEN:  Intermezzo   BADINGS:  Ballade (both Feb. 3, 1972).  FLOTHUIS:  Sonata da Camera (Dec. 7, 1966) (with Hubert Barwahser, flute). MOZART:  Concerto for Harp, Flute and Orchestra (June 6, 1957) (with Hubert Barwahser/Concertgebouw Orch/Eduard van Beinum).  PIERNÉ:  Impromptu-Caprice, Op. 9 (rec. Jan. 14, 1953).  TOURNIER:  Au Seuil du Temple (no date given).  DEBUSSY:  Danse sacrČe et danse profane.  RAVEL:  Introduction and Allegro (1947/8?) (with Chamber Music Society of Amsterdam/Eduard van Beinum).
ETCETRA KTC 2024 (2 CDs) (M) (ADD) TT:  71:44 & 55:03

 

Phia Berghout was born in Rotterdam December 14, 1909.  After study at the Royal Conservatory of Music with Rosa Spier, principal harpist with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, she was for a short time a member of the Arnhem Orchestra.  In 1933 Berghout was appointed second harpist of the Concertgebouw, a position she held from 1945 to 1961.  Highly regarded in her position, she gave many solo recitals and premiered works written for her, some of which are heard on these CDs compiled with the assistance of the Dutch Radio as well as Philips and Decca records. Berghout was a major figure on the world harp scene for several decades; this collection is welcome and deserved.

The first CD begins with music of Lex van Delden (1919-1988), first a reflective Notturno followed by a19-minute harp concerto written 1951/2, unique in that the third movement also features extensive use of the trumpet. This is an intriguing concerto with many introspective moments.  This live concert performance with Van Beinum and the Concertgebouw Sept. 20, 1952, makes a strong case for the work.  Although the Van Delden concerto was written for a rather small orchestra, the harp concerto of Hans Henkemans (1913-1995) is scored for large - but delicately scored - orchestra.  Van Beinum commissioned it for the 25th anniversary of the Concertgebouw; here it is heard with Berghout as soloist with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic conducted by Hugo Rignold, recorded February 3, 1972. It is considerably more substantial then the Delden, with brooding, dark textures, many orchestral solos

This twin-CD set also is a tribute to Berghout's fellow Concertgebouw first desk player, Hubert Barwahser, who was appointed principal flutist in 1936 and held that position until his retirement in 1971.  His first solo performance with the Orchestra was Mozart's Concerto in C for Flute and Harp with Rosa Spier (teacher of Phia Berghout) and Mengelberg conducting.  Barwahser and Berghout performed often together, recording the Mozart concerto for Philips with Van Beinum conducting June 6, 1957, included in this set (it can also be found on Volume 29 of Philips' Dutch Masters series). Barwahser assists Berghout in the works of Andriessen, Badings and Flothuis listed above.

EtCetera had some production problems with this set.  An insert points out that Choral by Marcelle Soulage printed on the CD notes is replaced by Au Seuil du Temple by Marcel Tournier, and that the assisting ensemble for the Debussy and Ravel works is the Chamber Music Society of Amsterdam conducted by Eduard van Beinum, taken from a late '40s Decca recording.  This is the first appearance of these two special performances on CD.  These are all mono recordings, but sound quality is totally acceptable.  An intriguing set, worthy of investigation.

R.E.B.(Dec. 2001)