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Music critic Paul Janssen greatly enjoyed listening to Samama's new release
Rousing Mix of Melancholy and Joy
Amsterdam, Mon, 29. Apr 2002In 'Mens en Melodie', one of Holland's leading music magazines, Paul Janssen thinks Samama's music an excellent example of contemporaneous Dutch music: Ravishing compositions, in a handsome performance at that.

Contemporaneous Dutch music fully deserves to be made more and more widely known, is the profound conviction of Paul Janssen in 'Mens en Melodie' (Man and Melody) 57 (2002), 2/8. For Dutch composers nowadays produce excellent and most accessible works, which fortunately enough are increasingly available on CD, thanks to the efforts of the Donemus Foundation under the flag of MusicGroup Holland.

Take, for example, the recent CD of Leo Samama (1951), which to many will be no more than a revelation. While in his use of diatonic he is mainly traditional with an occasional tempting excursion to modern tonality, the clarinet quintet as well as the sextet display the classic-romantic quadripartite form. In the clarinet quintet, written on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the State of Israel, the main focus of interest is the ancient Jewish tradition of synagogue and klezmer music, an element which, however, never really dominates. But the result is music full of melancholy and gaiety, written with French elegance. In the sextet he unhesitatingly weaves brutal jazz elements and exuberant syncopes in his otherwise 'Brahmsian' composition.

It is the very combination of melancholy and sheer pleasure in composing and playing that makes these compositions so catching. Add to this all the completely convincing way the compositions are realized, by the Valerius Ensemble in the clarinet quintet and soprano Nienke Oostenrijk and the Daniel Quartet in the sextet, and the conclusion is inevitable that no up-to-date collection should be without this CD.


Review in Dutch paper ' De Volkskrant'
"Chamber Music in Polished Performances"
Voorburg (NL), Thu, 4. Apr 2002In the Volkskrant of April 4th, Jaco Mijnheer characterizes Samama's recent compositions as entertaining and especially interesting in the field of rhythm, and praises the good taste of the performers.

'Leo Samama, co-ordinator of the Residence Orchestra of The Hague, is also a composer. In recent years he has written a series of extensive works for chamber music, which are now released on CD by MusicGroupHolland.
As a composer, Samama mainly looks back. In the one-piece work 'En Hollande', for soprano and string quartet, he uses an old-fashioned French idiom, in harmony with Verlaine's Dutch Travel Account of 1892. Nienke Oostenrijk and the Daniel Quartet here strike the required light key.
In the clarinet quintet and the string sextet, however, the atmosphere is more Central European, with an occasional Yiddish melody. Both compositions can be appreciated here in polished performances by the Valerius Ensemble.
Samama's music is entertaining: especially in the field of rhythm there is much for the listener to enjoy.' (Jaco Mijnheer)


Review in Dutch music magazine "Luister"
Praise for "En Hollande"
Photo: Jorn Mineur Hilversum (NL), Thu, 31. Jan 2002A new "Composers' Voice"-release with music by Leo Samama has been received well by Dutch music magazine "Luister".

Reviewer Siebe Riedstra describes Leo Samama's music as "very listenable without being predictable". About the title work 'En Hollande', a composition for soprano and string quartet based on the Verlaine poem of the same name, he writes "The motorics in the string quartet symbolize Verlaine's train journey perfectly and form a quietly pulsating cadence beneath the floating lyric of the voice [...]". About the clarinet quintet: " [...] and the result is a piece that sounds as Hebrew as Schelomo by Ernst Bloch whereas it is as different as it can be." "The string sextet [...] is a visit to Johannes Brahms, but here, too, Samama achieves to give the events a completely characteristic twist."

Riedstra awards a 9 (out of 10 points) to the "excellent" performance and a 10 to the recording (which was produced by Bloomline.Net sponsor Bloomline Coryphée) and concludes that "this is, as far as I know, the first commercial release dedicated to this composer. It was about time."

The recording is available at the classical music stores now and will expectedly be offered on Bloomline.Net starting February 2002. Catalog No.: Composers' Voice Special CV106.

(On the picture: Leo Samama amid the Valerius Ensemble during the recording sessions of the Clarinet Quintet.)

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