Badings: Symphonies Nos 4 and 5

Reviewed on Mon 15 Feb, 2016

Henk Badings (1907-1987) was a prominent composer and important educator, but his music is all but unknown today. David Porcelijn and CPO are seeking to rectify that – as they have with other Dutch composers in recent years – by recording his 15 symphonies.

Critically acclaimed, and widely performed and commissioned in his lifetime, Henk Badings (1907-1987) was a prominent composer and important educator, but his music is all but unknown today. David Porcelijn and CPO are seeking to rectify that – as they have with other Dutch composers in recent years – by recording his 15 symphonies, which here reaches the third volume. On this evidence I find Badings a mildly interesting discovery, whose idiom somewhat lacks the colourful imagination of his compatriots Julius Röntgen and Jan van Gilse. The Fourth Symphony (1943) is intricately wrought with emphasis on inner detailing rather than overt thematic development, whilst the Fifth (1949) proves a pleasant enough experience, if not viscerally memorable. Both works are traditionally structured, displaying an earnestness and occasional dry wit in their orchestration that belies Badings’s academically-oriented mindset. Porcelijn’s clear-headed advocacy secures committed playing from the Bochum orchestra. Atmospheric and excellent recorded sound; useful booklet notes.
–Evan Dickerson