Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Concert Pianist

Donald Macleod traces Bosmans’s trajectory as a pianist, including becoming engaged to a fellow musician.

Donald Macleod traces Bosmans’s trajectory as a pianist, and her short-lived engaged to a fellow musician.

Henriëtte Bosmans seemed destined for a life in music from the moment of her birth, in 1895. Her father was the principal solo cellist in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra and her mother a piano teacher at the Amsterdam Conservatory. Bosmans developed a flourishing career and won international success with her Concert Piece for Violin and Orchestra. As a concert pianist she performed alongside conductors such as Ernest Ansermet and George Szell.

Bosmans’s mother was a Jew and, although Bosmans didn’t consider herself Jewish, her ancestry played a significant role in the events of her life. She lived through the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, when tens of thousands of Amsterdam Jews were deported to concentration camps, including her fellow citizen, Anne Frank. This week, Donald Macleod is joined by Bosmans expert Dr Helen Metzelaar and also Dr Laurien Vastenhout from Amsterdam’s Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide.

During the 1920s and 30s, Henriëtte Bosmans was making a name for herself as a concert pianist. She was regularly engaged to perform with orchestras and her chamber ensemble, toured the Netherlands. The intense pressure of her performing work led Bosmans to feel that she’d reached a crisis point as a composer and she sought the help of her neighbour, the composer Willem Pijper. From this point her compositions began to move away from the Late-Romantic sound of the 19th century, towards a more forward-looking style. In 1934 Bosmans became engaged to the violinist Francis Koene. However, tragedy struck, and Koene died that same year of a brain tumour. Years later, Bosmans confessed that she “died a little bit then” herself.

Arietta (from Two Recital Pieces)
Francien Schatborn, viola
Jeannette Koekkoek, piano

Trio for piano, violin and cello
Leonore Piano Trio

Im Mondenglanze ruht das Meer
Julia Bronkhorst, soprano
Maarten Hillenius, piano

Le diable dans la nuit
Julia Bronkhorst, soprano
Maarten Hillenius, piano

Concertino for piano and orchestra
Ronald Brautigam, piano
Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra
Ed Spanjaard, conductor

Produced by Luke Whitlock, for BBC Wales

59 minutes

Music Played

  • Henriëtte Bosmans

    Two Recital Pieces (Arietta)

    Performer: Francien Schatborn. Performer: Jeanette Koekkoek.
    • ETCETERA : KTC-1255.
    • ETCETERA.
    • 10.
  • Henriëtte Bosmans

    Piano Trio

    Ensemble: Leonore Piano Trio.
  • Henriëtte Bosmans

    Im Mondenglanze ruht das Meer

    Performer: Maarten Hillenius. Singer: Julia Bronkhorst.
    • GLOBE : GLO 5183.
    • GLOBE.
    • 7.
  • Henriëtte Bosmans

    10 Melodies (No 5, 'Le Diable dans la nuit')

    Performer: Maarten Hillenius. Singer: Julia Bronkhorst.
    • GLOBE : GLO 5183.
    • GLOBE.
    • 3.
  • Henriëtte Bosmans

    Piano Concertino

    Performer: Ronald Brautigam. Orchestra: Radio Kamerorkest. Conductor: Ed Spanjaard.
    • NM CLASSICS : 92095.
    • NM CLASSICS.
    • 3.

Broadcast

  • Tue 8 Mar 2022 12:00

Vaughan Williams Today

Vaughan Williams Today

Programmes, concerts and features celebrating Vaughan Williams's 150th anniversary.

Beethoven Unleashed – the box set

Beethoven Unleashed – the box set

The complete set of Radio 3 Beethoven Unleashed podcasts, with Donald Macleod.

What was really wrong with Beethoven?

What was really wrong with Beethoven?

Georgia Mann and neurosurgeon Henry Marsh examine the composer's numerous health problems

Composers A to Z

Composers A to Z

Visit the extensive audio archive of Radio 3 programmes about Composers and their works.

Who knew? Five eye-opening stories from Composer of the Week

Who knew? Five eye-opening stories from Composer of the Week

The production team reflects on 5 of Donald Macleod’s best stories from the last 20 years

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

What is the strange power of Jerusalem which makes strong men weep?

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

The composer of Jerusalem was very far from the conservative figure his image suggests.

Composer Help Page

Composer Help Page

Find resources and contacts for composers from within the classical music industry.