Skip to content

I cherish Henny Vrienten most for what he did for Rudolph Valentino

In the week that already began dramatically with the deaths of Jan Rot and Arno Hintjens, Henny Vrienten has now joined musician heaven. Far too young at 73, but still 41 years older than he was in one of his most famous songs. A bit weird, but mostly very sad. One of our country's most sympathetic musicians is no more.

My generation grew up with the music of Doe Maar. For the first time, Dutch pop music was not something for parents but for us! It was about sex and drugs and rock&roll with songs like Nederwiet and Don't be afraid of my cock. But surely the anthem of my teenage years was 32 years.

Transfer

After Doe Maar went down to its own success and all the screaming girls (of which I was not one, snob as I was), the career through which I really took Vrienten to my heart began. That of film composer. He has an impressive oeuvre to his name with the music for Abeltje, Pete Bell, but also Discovery of Heaven and Sonny Boy.

His finest score is also the music for one of the most extraordinary events in Dutch film history: the recovery of Sam Wood's lost film Beyond the Rocks. Eye Filmmuseum found the classic film starring Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino in considerably affected form in their archives.

Where my contemporaries had posters of Henny on the wall, I had a poster of Rudolph Valentino in my adolescent room. I was fascinated by the side-splitting film star, his grounded, tragic and preventable death at a young age, and all the suicides it caused. What a delight to finally see him, years later, on the big screen. At then still Muziekcentrum Vredenburg was the festive premiere with Vrienten's live score.

Real movie love in Beyond the Rocks

The film is a delightfully romantic one in which a daughter of impoverished nobility (Gloria Swanson) must marry an old millionaire. Upon first meeting a young nobleman (Valentino), desire splashes off the screen. The marriage does not last, the old millionaire sacrifices himself for true love, that of Swanson and Valentino, in their only role together.

Vrienten had created a romantic, nay, lyrical composition for it, with Arabic and more traditional Western influences. Of particular note were the ambient sounds, which allowed the film to become a lot more dynamic. Horse feet, rippling water, that's what I remember. The film had its first premiere in 1922. The second in 2005, with still the intertitles, but mostly the dreamy soundtrack to suck you into the story.

Appreciate this article!

Happy with this story? Show your appreciation with a small contribution! That's how you help keep independent cultural journalism alive. (If you don't see a button below, use this link: donation!)

Donate smoothly
Donate

Why donate?

We are convinced that good investigative journalism and expert background information are essential for a healthy cultural sector. There is not always space and time for that. Culture Press does want to provide that space and time, and keep it accessible to everyone for FREE! Whether you are rich, or poor. Thanks to donations From readers like you, we can continue to exist. This is how Culture Press has existed since 2009!

You can also become a member, then turn your one-off donation into lasting support!

Tags:

Wijbrand Schaap

Cultural journalist since 1996. Worked as theatre critic, columnist and reporter for Algemeen Dagblad, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Rotterdams Dagblad, Parool and regional newspapers through Associated Press Services. Interviews for TheaterMaker, Theatererkrant Magazine, Ons Erfdeel, Boekman. Podcast maker, likes to experiment with new media. Culture Press is called the brainchild I gave birth to in 2009. Life partner of Suzanne Brink roommate of Edje, Fonzie and Rufus. Search and find me on Mastodon.View Author posts

Small Membership
175 / 12 Maanden
Especially for organisations with a turnover or grant of less than 250,000 per year.
No annoying banners
A premium newsletter
5 trial newsletter subscriptions
All our podcasts
Have your say on our policies
Insight into finances
Exclusive archives
Posting press releases yourself
Own mastodon account on our instance
Large Membership
360 / Jaar
Voor culturele organisaties
No annoying banners
A premium newsletter
10 trial newsletter subscriptions
All our podcasts
Participate
Insight into finances
Exclusive archives
Posting press releases yourself
Own mastodon account on our instance
Collaboration
Private Membership
50 / Jaar
For natural persons and self-employed persons.
No annoying banners
A premium newsletter
All our podcasts
Have your say on our policies
Insight into finances
Exclusive archives
Own mastodon account on our instance
en_GBEnglish (UK)