Twentieth-Century Flute Works of the Netherlands: A Study of Selected Compositions by Rosy Wertheim, Dick Kattenburg, and Leo Smit



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Although relatively unknown to American audiences, the musical culture of the Netherlands at the beginning of the twentieth century was vibrant and substantial. Composers such as Rosy Wertheim, Leo Smit, and Dick Kattenburg were actively composing from the early 1920s until the early 1940s, and their pieces show not only mutual influences, but also influences from changing cultural atmospheres. The Netherlands experienced a period of heavy Germanic influence in the nineteenth century. However, twentieth-century composers engaged with the colorful French sounds of Les Six. Through this project, I explore the lives of these three twentieth-century Dutch composers, while analyzing selected flute compositions to illustrate indications of the French aesthetic, compositional influences from composer to composer, and some effects the Nazi occupation may have left on Smit’s flute sonata. This study begins with a short biography of the composers’ lives. Then, it more deeply examines the shared Jewish heritage of these composers, as well as how Amsterdam’s Jewish culture changed by the Nazi Occupation. Finally, this study explores various theoretical aspects of the selected works, including compositional similarities with Les Six in Wertheim’s Trois morceaux pour flûte et piano, similarities from composer to composer in Kattenburg’s Sonate voor Fluit en Piano, and a detailed narrative analysis of the second movement of Smit’s Sonate voor Fluit en Klavier. The study of these composers and their sonatas is extremely important for flutists, scholars, and American audiences who can gain understanding of unfamiliar music and the impact of the Holocaust on these composers.



Smit, Leo, Wertheim, Rosy, Kattenburg, Dick, Flute sonatas, Netherlands