Andries ten Cate

ConcertCompCateSeidSurprisingly little is known about the Amsterdam born composer Andries ten Cate, even though he is the creator Seïd en Palmire, the oldest Dutch opera since Bartholomeus Rullofs 1772 version of Cloris en Roosje, of which at least complete pieces have been preserved. Then Cates’ opera enjoyed great success in its days, both for the music and the libretto by Jacob van Lennep, publisher and then also Holland’s most famous writer. Parts of the opera survived precisely because they were so famous, that they have been published as parts of aria albums. These are the rondo of the Pirate, and the cavatina of Selima, “Spoedig, mijn zuster”. We shall perform and record this cavatina at our first 401NederlandseOpera’s concert in Hoog-Keppel, on April 26, 2015, with soprano Jolien De Gendt as Selima and Pieter Dhoore at the piano.

Text: René Seghers
Bronnen: Jacob van Lennep: Seïd en Palmire, zangspel in drie bedrijven (1830, Libretto); Seïd en Palmire, rondo van de zeeroverhoofdman & cavatine van Selima (1831, Reduction for piano and voice); Neue Zeitschrift für Musik: das Magazin für neue Töne (1834, Volume 8); Viotta: Muzieklexicon (1881); S.A.M. Bottenheim: De Opera in Nederland (1932, Van Kampen & Zoon, Amsterdam); Keller en Kruseman: Geïllustreerde Muzieklexicon (1932/1949); Algemene Muziek Encyclopedie (1957/1980, Unieboek, Bussum); Archieven Nederlands Muziek Instituut.
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Composer and cello player Andries ten Cate (Amsterdam, 1873 – Amsterdam, 27 July, 1858) was destined for a career as a merchant, until, at the age of fourteen, he started practicing music. Subsequently, he took lessons in composition with Bertelman. In 1821 he composed his first compositions, which were quartets, quintets, concertos for brass, and cantatas for chorus and orchestra. In 1831 he composed Seïd and Palmire, commissioned by the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam, where the work was premiered in the middle of March. It was then repeated several times with great success. The enthusiasm for the opera was such, that the libretto was even translated to German, although nothing is known of a performance in German language. This is subject to further research, since the original Dutch score was lost. At the moment, Ten Cates’ music only lives on in the arias that were included in albums or separately published for home entertainment and public performance. The print of the piano-score of the cavatina mentions that Mrs. Narrei Koning ‘sang it,’ which leads us to believe that she may have been the creator of Selima. The print of the rondo of the Pirate reveals that F. Neitz presumably created this part. In 1835 Ten Cate composed a second opera, Constantia. This opus proved yet another mayor success for the composer. His third opera, Numa Pompilius, was less successful in 1836, after which his operatic career ended.
Ten Cate was one of the first members of the Society Promoting & Stimulating the Tonal Arts (Maatschappij tot Bevordering der Toonkunst) and also President of the vocal school of the Foundation in Service of the General Benefit of All (Maatschappij Tot Nut van’t Algemeen). In those functions he is said to have greatly contributed to the development of classical music in The Netherlands. He died on July 27, 1858.


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On behalf of 401DutchOperas,

Bas ten Have
Anthony van der Heijden
René Seghers

Andries ten Cate: operas

Seïd and Palmire (1831 (1830 the libretto was published)
Constantia (1835)
Numa Pompilius (1836)


– Six patriotic hymns for male voices and piano.
– Ouverture de l' opéra Seid et Palmire, arrangée par J. H. C. Claterbos
– Auswahl beliebter Stücke aus der Oper Seid und Palmire (as there is the rondeau of the Captain pirate: “Slaan de golven hemelhoog”, and the cavatina of Selima: 'Spoedig, mijn zuster' ('Soon, my sister').
– New ‘Wilhelmuslied’, harmonized for 4 voices.
– The searching mariners (chorus)
– Weber’s swan song, (chorus)
– To the stars (chorus)
– Psalms for the Walonian Church