Bernard Zweers
1854 - 1924
The Netherlands
Picture Picture Picture
B.J.W. Zweers
Bernardus Josephus Wilhelmus [Bernard] Zweers (18/05/1854 - 09/12/1924), a Dutch composer and music teacher, born and died in Amsterdam. Bernard Zweers was born in 1854 as the son of an Amsterdam book- and music shopkeeper. Although his father was an amateur singer, he strongly disapproved of his son’s musical interests, expecting him to follow him in the family business. Being fundamentally self-taught, he had some minor musical successes before his parents finally approved and sent him to study with Salomon Jadassohn in Leipzig in 1881-1883. Of crucial importance to Zweers' musical education was his first exposure to the work of Richard Wagner when he was present at the Berlin premiere of the Ring des Nibelungen, in 1881: I, who never ventured farther than Nijmegen and who had never heard even a normal opera before, I was in Berlin, listening to Wagner's Ring! ... and I returned a full-blooded Wagnerian. After his return, he became active in Dutch musical life and took on various appointments, including the conductorship of various choirs. However, due to deterioration of his hearing abilities and his own wish to concentrate on teaching, he relinquished most of these. From 1895 to 1922 he was head of teaching and composition at the Amsterdam conservatory but rather than impose his own music on his pupils, he left them the freedom to develop their own style - a break with the policies of his predecessor Johannes Verhulst. He became a highly-esteemed, even revered teacher to a whole generation of Dutch composers. Aside from his didactic abilities, Zweers was renowned for his sense of humour. At one meeting of the Dutch Musicians’ Association (Nederlandse Toonkunstenaars Vereeniging), Zweers’ Second Symphony was programmed along with Huyschenruyter’s Concert Overture. Just before the concert, Huyschenruyter approached Zweers to tell him how much he’d enjoyed his symphony (in rehearsal). After a moment’s silence, Zweers responded: “Sir, I have not heard your overture, but I am certain that my symphony is on a higher level”. Dumbstruck by this display of artist’s arrogance, Huyschenruyter stood silent until Zweers burst out laughing: “Of course, because your overture is in D, and my symphony is written in E flat!”
Donderdag 12 October Requiem
Composed in:1882
Donderdag 12 October Requiem for Soprano, alto, tenor and bass and orchestra in E flat major, written in Leipzig in 1882.
Composed in:1890
Musical form:motet
Libera (1890) for Bass solo + 4 part choir and organ/harmonium. (Tenor I,II and bass I,II) in D flat major.
Libera me domine
Composed in:1916
Musical form:motet
Libera me, domine for Soprano, alto, tenore and bass and orchestra in F major.