Coenraad Lodewijk Walther Boer (September 2, 1891 – March 15, 1984) was a Dutch music pedagogue, musicologist, composer, and conductor . Boer was born at The Hague, Netherlands, on September 2 1891. His parents were Richard Constant Boer, a professor at Oudnoors , and Helena Johanna Walther. He grew up in a musical family. After his education at the Barlaeus Gymnasium in Amsterdam, he studied at the Amsterdam School of Music with Daniel de Lange, Julius Röntgen, and Bernard Zweers, and in the cellolas of Isaac Mossel . In 1910 he did his final exams and in 1912 he obtained the Prix d’Excellence for cello playing. After this he was solo cellist in the Orchestra of the Casino Municipal in Nice and the Latvijas Nacionālais Simfoniskais Orķestris in Riga. He married Micheline Louise Caroline Bröcker on October 9, 1915. They had three sons and a daughter.
During the First World War, Boer was stationed in Zeeland. Occasionally he could perform as a cellist with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Residentie Orkest, and the Arnhemsche Orkestvereeniging . In the latter orchestra he was cello soloist and second conductor after the mobilization. In 1919 and 1920 he was short-term director of the Concert Association Haarlem’s Muziekkorps, the forerunner of the Haarlem Orchestra Association (HOV). On September 15, 1920, he was appointed reserve officer of the infantry as chapel master of the Royal Military Chapel (KMK) in The Hague. He brought it to a high level, thanks in part to the arrival of many young musicians from other music bands that were dissolved in 1923. With the KMK he gave well-attended weekly concerts in the Haagse Bos, the Haagse Dierentuin, and the Diergaarde and Doelen in Rotterdam . He made many arrangements of symphonic music for wind band. With the KMK in 1926 Mr. Boer was appointed Knight in the order of Oranje Nassau. One of his best known compositions was Colonel Verberne Marsch (1927). In 1930 he was promoted to captain of the Grenadiers .
Also In 1930, the name of his mother was added to his surname by Royal Decree, so that from then on he was called C. L. Walther Boer. In 1932, he made the official arrangement of “Wilhelmus van Nassouwe,” usually known just as the “Wilhelmus” (Het Wilhelmus; English translation “The William”), the national anthem of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It dates back to at least 1572, making it the oldest known national anthem in the world. The origins of the lyrics are uncertain. The “Wilhelmus” was first written some time between the start of the Eighty Years’ War in April 1568 and the Capture of Brielle on April 1, 1572. Soon after the war was finished it was said that either Philips of Marnix, a writer, statesman and former mayor of Antwerp, or Dirck Coornhert, a politician and theologian, wrote the lyrics. However, this is disputed as neither Marnix nor Coornhert ever mentioned that they wrote the lyrics, even though the song was immensely popular in their time.
The “Wilhelmus” originated in the Dutch Revolt, the nation’s struggle to achieve independence from the Spanish Empire. It tells of the Father of the Nation, William of Orange who was stadholder in the Netherlands under the King of Spain. In the first person, as if quoting himself, William speaks to the Dutch people about both the revolt and his own, personal struggle: to be faithful to the king, without being unfaithful to his conscience: to serve God and the Dutch people. In the lyrics William compares himself with the biblical David who serves under the tyrannical king Saul. As the merciful David defeats the unjust Saul and is rewarded by God with the kingdom of Israel, so too William hopes to be rewarded a kingdom. Both the “Wilhelmus” and the Dutch Revolt should be seen in the light of the 16th century Reformation in Europe and the resulting persecution of Protestants by the Spanish Inquisition in the Low Countries. Militant music proved very useful not only in lampooning Roman clerks and repressive monarchs but also in generating class transcending social cohesion. In successfully combining a psalmic character with political relevancy, the “Wilhelmus” stands as the pre-eminent example of the genre. Recent research has mentioned Petrus Dathenus as a possible author of the text of the Dutch national anthem. The complete text comprises fifteen stanzas. The anthem is an acrostic in which the first letters of the fifteen stanzas formed the name “Willem van Nassov” (a contemporary orthographic variant of Nassau). ‘
The melody of the “Wilhelmus” was borrowed from a well known Roman Catholic French song titled “Autre chanson de la ville de Chartres assiégée par le prince de Condé” or in short: “Chartres'”. This song ridiculed the failed Siege of Chartres in 1568 by the Huguenot (Protestant) Prince de Condé during the French Wars of Religion. However, the triumphant contents of the “Wilhelmus” are the opposite of the content of the original song, making it subversive at several levels. Thus, the Dutch Protestants had taken over an anti-Protestant song, and adapted it for their own agenda. In that way, the “Wilhelmus” was typical for its time, since It was common practice in the 16th century for warring groups to steal each other’s songs in order to rewrite them. Even though the melody stems from 1568, the first known written down version of it comes from 1574, in the time the anthem was sung in a much quicker pace. It was sung on many official occasions and at many important events since the outbreak of the Dutch Revolt in 1568, such as the siege of Haarlem in 1573 and the ceremonial entry of the Prince of Orange into Brussels on September 18, 1578. Dutch composer Adriaen Valerius recorded the current melody of the “Wilhelmus” in his “Nederlantsche Gedenck-clanck” in 1626, slowing down the melody’s pace, probably to allow it to be sung in churches. The current official version is the 1932 arrangement by Boer, when the “Wilhelmus” was recognized as the official national anthem.
In addition, from 1919 to 1945, Boer was a cello teacher at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. At the wedding of Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard in 1937, Boer – at the insistence of German diplomats and by order of his military superiors – conducted the Nazi Horst Wessellied, after Peter van Anrooy had refused this in principle. In 1938 he was promoted to professor of musicology at the Conservatory. During the Second World War, Boer held the directorship of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague for some time because the Jewish director Sem Dresden had been dismissed. In 1942, Henk Badings took over, because Walther Boer had been taken as a Dutch soldier to a camp for prisoners of war in Poland, where he upheld the morale of his fellow sufferers by organizing joint musical performances. Immediately after the liberation he formed the Royal Military Chapel again, so that a then small ensemble could play for the Noordeinde Palace on July 7, 1945 at the entry of Queen Wilhelmina .
On April 30, 1946, Boer was appointed Inspector of Military Music at the Royal Netherlands Army and the Royal Netherlands Air Force. In this position he remained until May 1, 1963. He then received the honorary rank of titular brigadier general. He was also conductor of the Student Music Society Semper Crescendo in Leiden and various choirs in The Hague. From September 1, 1954, he was conductor of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Omroep Orkest of the Dutch Radio Union. Dr. C.L. Walther Boer was known as a formal and conservative man, who always used the doctor’s title and never his first names. He was an excellent orchestra trainer, whose preference was originally for conducting symphony orchestras . As a soldier, however, he came to stand for wind orchestra , with which he reached a very high level. As a result, he was of great importance for the development of harmony music in the Netherlands. He died at Lochem in Gelderland, Netherlands, on March 15, 1984.
My collection includes the following work by C.L. Walther Boer:
+Wihelmus van Nassouwe (arr.).