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Born: 1862, Utrecht, The NetherlandsDied: 1941, The Hague, The Netherlands

“In music, as in all art, absolute honesty is essential.”

The illegitimate child of an impoverished mother, Johan Wagenaar did not receive serious musical training until he was 13 years old, despite obvious talent. He quickly made up for lost time, however, becoming an acclaimed organist, choral director, composer, and teacher. He joined the faculty of the Utrecht Toonkunstmuziekschool upon his graduation from it in 1885, and he remained there until 1919, when he came director of the Royal Hague Conservatory. He composed several operas and dramatic cantatas of a satiric bent, as well as a substantial body of organ, choral, and orchestral music in a vigorous Romantic style.

Further listening: The Taming of the Shrew, Op. 25 (overture, 1909) Northwest German Philharmonic, Anthony Hermus (Cpo)Wiener Dreivierteltakt, Op. 38 (waltz cycle, 1929) Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Riccardo Chailly (Decca)