Author Topic: Late Romantic music from Belgium / Ning Kam violin  (Read 8387 times)

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pjme

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Late Romantic music from Belgium / Ning Kam violin
« on: December 16, 2007, 02:06:14 PM »
Etcetera and Klara ( Flemish national radio) are slowly (very slowly) working on a series of portraits of Belgian composers.

This is brandnew : August De Boeck (1865 - 1937)





http://www.ningkam.com/

Several orchestral pieces :
The Dahomeyan rhapsody : a short, brillant romp à la Rimsky,I guess - it uses a Dahomeyan tune ( Dahomey is part of Benin) de Boeck heard in Brussels, as played by a group of touring musicians  and the much later Nocturne (1931 - which shows timidly  Impressionistic influences) . I've never heard the violinconcerto ( 1932) . This is music that should appeal to lovers of Glazunov, Massenet, Borodin,Rimsky Korsakov ...

Ning Kam is the soloist, the VRO ( Vlaams Radio Orkest , soon to be re-named as Brussels' Philharmonic) plays under Marc Soustrot.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2007, 12:02:03 AM by pjme »

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Late Romantic music from Belgium / Ning Kam violin
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2007, 05:55:16 PM »
Sorry not to have replied sooner! I have got de Boeck's Violin Concerto and Dahomeyan Rhapsody on an old Marco Polo CD coupled with his Symphony in G-Guido De Neve(violin) and the Royal Flanders Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Frederic Devreese. Marco Polo had a relatively short-lived Anthology of Flemish Music and I recall picking up some interesting CDs in that series, including the impressive 2nd, 3rd and 7th symphonies by Arthur Meulemans(1884-1966). Meulemans is a composer of substantial merit whose works deserve revival.

Glad to know that some interest is being shown in this largely ignored field!

pjme

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Re: Late Romantic music from Belgium / Ning Kam violin
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2007, 12:16:57 PM »
Thanks anyway for the reply Dundonnell ! Belgian composers are not well represented in any catalogue....Often only César Franck seems to be the name everybody knows.

I agree with you about Arthur Meulemans. He was an amazingly prolific composers ( cfr. Darius Milhaud and Bohuslav Martinu) ( 15 symphonies, 3 operas, many cantatas and oratorios, symphonic poems, works for brass, simple folksongs, complex choral pieces on French texts, pianoworks,several "mass plays" (open air productions with actors, choruses,singers and orchestra)...
One can easily imagine that not all is of the same quality, but I'm sure some of it should be resurected. I have fond memories of two concerti for orchestra, "Concerti grossi" for sax quartet or clarinet quartet and ch.o.. There's a lovely trumpetconcerto ,two concerti for horn, 3 for piano, 2 cello, 2 organ, 2 violin ...those for harp, harpsichord, timpani ..have never been played again since their premiere.
For a traditional composer, using the tonal system, he lived in difficult times : the emergence of serialism & atonality made him quickly an oldfashioned artist... He tried to compensate by writing shorter, less lyrical works...In some of the late works ( concerto for two pianos, Evasions for orchestra etc) one longs for more "breath"...

Anyway, let's hope that Etcetera/Klara continues this series. Godfried De Vreese (Frederic's father), Raymond Chevreuille, Karel Albert, Karel Candael, Albert Huybrechts, Marcel Poot, Lodewijk De Vocht ...deserve some attention!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Late Romantic music from Belgium / Ning Kam violin
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2008, 01:38:29 PM »
Just noticed this thread. I greatly admire Godfried Devreese's Gothic Symphony and In Memoriam (a great work) and Pliny's Fountain by Meulemans. Any other fans of these works?
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Late Romantic music from Belgium / Ning Kam violin
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2008, 03:00:31 PM »
Just noticed this thread. I greatly admire Godfried Devreese's Gothic Symphony and In Memoriam (a great work) and Pliny's Fountain by Meulemans. Any other fans of these works?

What do you think? ;D ;D ;D

I talked about Meulemans above but I shall go back to the Devreese and remind myself :)

Offline Sydney Grew

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Re: Late Romantic music from Belgium / Ning Kam violin
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2008, 03:47:53 PM »
Godfried De Vreese (Frederic's father), Raymond Chevreuille, Karel Albert, Karel Candael, Albert Huybrechts, Marcel Poot, Lodewijk De Vocht ...deserve some attention!

We don't know quite what "Romantic" means in a musical context, but another composer who should not be forgotten here is Henri Pousseur, who "ran the Belgian branch of the avant-garde" (to quote the admirable Norman Lebrecht).
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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Late Romantic music from Belgium / Ning Kam violin
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2008, 04:59:26 PM »
We don't know quite what "Romantic" means in a musical context, but another composer who should not be forgotten here is Henri Pousseur, who "ran the Belgian branch of the avant-garde" (to quote the admirable Norman Lebrecht).


However else Henri Pousseur's music can be described, "late Romantic" it most certainly is not!

Offline Sydney Grew

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Re: Late Romantic music from Belgium / Ning Kam violin
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2008, 08:43:54 PM »
However else Henri Pousseur's music can be described, "late Romantic" it most certainly is not!

We wonder whether the member has ever heard Pousseur's Stone Garland . . . But if by "Romantic" one intends "programme music" well then of course . . .

In general the quality of modern Belgian music is incomparably better than that of modern British music - this is probably because in Belgium a) there is not nearly as much "jazz-worship" and b) the valuable Symbolist movement left much deeper roots.

Here in addition to those mentioned above are a few more names of worthwhile Belgians: Peter Benoït (nineteenth century), Willy (sic) Carron, René Defossez, Paul Gilson, Joseph Jongen (he of the mighty organ concerto), André Laporte, Guillaume Lekeu (no brilliant romps for him poor young chap!), Michel Lysight, Armand Marsick, Desiré Pâque, Flor Peeters of course, Jean Rogister, Frederick van Rossum (a bit of a bore that one), Joseph Ryelandt, André-Jean Smit, Frank van der Stucken, Edgar Tinel, Renaat Veremans, and last but not least for now the renowned Eugène Ysaÿe. And we are so glad that the labours of Marcel Poot appear to be gaining wider circulation.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Late Romantic music from Belgium / Ning Kam violin
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2008, 01:30:07 AM »
What do you think? ;D ;D ;D

I talked about Meulemans above but I shall go back to the Devreese and remind myself :)

I listened to Pliny's Fountain yesterday and the Devreese CD (+all three recordings of Bliss's Morning Heroes...sad isn't it  :o)

Anyway, back to the topic..the Meuleman's is a beautiful, poetic work with echoes of Debussy and Respighi. Devreese's Gothic is one of my favourite Marco Polo discoveries (and there are many!) The Symphony (from 1940 I think) is a very powerful, melodic and inspiriting score, the Poeme Heroique is waltonian in a way but best of all is the 7 minute In Memoriam, a deeply moving work, which reminds me in spirit a bit of Sainton's Nadir although it doesn't really sound like it (I don't think that that makes any sense..but never mind).
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Late Romantic music from Belgium / Ning Kam violin
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2009, 11:23:48 AM »
I am listening to a cd (kindly given to me by Christo in Amsterdam on Saturday) of music by the Belgian composer, Frederik van Rossum(1939-).

Anyone know of him? Peter?

The cd consists of a short but rather gloomy Violin Concerto(No.1), an equally dark but slightly more advanced Symphony(No.3)-which I must confess to rather liking-and a much more advanced/expressionist work for Brass and Percussion called 'Requisitoire" which apparently won first prize in a UNESCO International Forum of Composers competition in 1980.

On the basis of this scanty knowledge van Rossum seems a rather grim and angry composer ;D

pjme

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Re: Late Romantic music from Belgium / Ning Kam violin
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2009, 09:20:56 AM »
Van Rossum turned 70 this year, so this photoisn't exactly up to date...

Lately I've heard very little about Van Rossum. I'm afraid he's a bit forgotten. But then he's one of those wildly eclectic pianist/composers who are not in favour ...Belgium has quite a few of them : one day they write a litlle tonal & fun piece for piano, next they give birth to a mammoth atonal symphony or opera with politico/religious ambitions...Hmmm...? To be honest, I know too little of him to give good information. I'll stick to : eclectic, neo romantic, coloristic use of all kinds of techniques .

He wrote a Symphonia concertante for horn, piano and orchestra and a pianoconcerto "Slovienska duca" which is an extravagant mix of Prokofiev, Katsjaturian, Bartok, Chostakovitch & Penderecki..( the last movement is to played "con demenza").


From Cebedem:
Born (Ixelles) (Brussels), December 5, 1939.
Music studies at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels
In 1965 he won the first Grand Prix de Rome.
He has persued a successful career as pedagogue and composer.
He was on the staff of the Royal Conservatories of Brussels and Liège where he taught piano, musical analysis and counterpoint. He was also director of the Music Academy Watermael-Boitsfort. Since several years he is a free-lance composer.
Numerous awards including the Koopal Prize in 1972, the Fuerison Prize in 1977 and the Grand Prix Musical Paul Gilson in Quebec (Canada) in 1973.
His Violin Concerto was the compulsory work of the “International Music Competition Queen Elisabeth of Belgium 1980”. His style is
fundamentally traditional but he makes good use of some expressionistic elements which characterize the avant-garde movement.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Late Romantic music from Belgium / Ning Kam violin
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2009, 10:06:14 AM »
Thanks for that, Peter :)

Yes..."wildly eclectic" seems to perfectly sum up the music I was listening to ;D

Offline stevenski

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Re: Late Romantic music from Belgium / Ning Kam violin
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2009, 03:09:29 PM »
Just noticed this thread. I greatly admire Godfried Devreese's Gothic Symphony and In Memoriam (a great work) and Pliny's Fountain by Meulemans. Any other fans of these works?
vandermolen, have u heard G. Devreese's Violin Concerto?; full of the most beautiful,memorable melodies; one of those unknown works which really stick in the mind. Wil have to replay the Gothic, but remember liking it.
Re Meulemans; very individual; the only impressionistic style music I have ever really liked, but with a late Romantic tinge(the melodies are fragmented, a sort of pointilliste style). Makes me think of barren, eerie Suffolk landscapes(UK), as explored in the (literary) works of Sebald(if you admire Sebald please pm me!)

I also recommend Mortelmans: more straightforwardly late Romantic: the closest equivalent i can think of is SIEGFRIED Wagner:his music, like SW's, is full of passion and yearning: the most striking is "The Myth of Spring". Any other G. Devreese, Mortelmans and Meulemans afficiandos?

Steve

PS The Devreese(Senior) Violin Concerto is on one of those old Marco Polo cds.


Enthusiasms: Michael Ponti, unknown Romantics, Meulemans, LPs, piano concerti

pjme

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Re: Late Romantic music from Belgium / Ning Kam violin
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2009, 02:09:57 AM »
October release

Flemish music has a rather unusual position in the history of nineteenth-century music, in that orchestral and symphonic music were almost completely subordinated to vocal music. There was little expertise in instrumental music, and this concentration on vocal works (which was seen as part of an inherited French culture) got in the way of the development of an orchestral tradition. However, occasionally a figure would appear who broke the mould. Lodewijk Mortelmans (1868–1952) was one of those responsible for the Flemish orchestral renaissance, and who looked with curiosity beyond the Belgian borders. He won the Prix de Rome in 1893, and used the prize money to travel to Germany and Italy to broaden his cultural experience. As a music correspondent he wrote about performances in Bayreuth and kept his finger on the pulse of European musical life. He wished to create an autonomous, ‘Flemish’ symphonic culture, while also appealing beyond its boundaries by choosing ‘extramusical’ subjects with a more universal agenda than Flemish nationalist topics.

One cannot accuse Mortelmans of being musically avant-garde or adventurous: he was aware that European classical music was following a new, atonal and even serial path, but right up to his death he was unwilling to abandon his romantic signature. But he perfected his traditional approach and his music is deeply attractive, showing the influence of both Sibelius and Wagner. A selection of his greatest works for orchestra are recorded here. Hyperion regular Martyn Brabbins conducts the Royal Flemish Philharmonic in their first recording for Hyperion.

read more at hyperion

  Homerische symfonie 
1  Movement 1: Van de helden : 'Of the heroes'  [11'00] 
2  Movement 2: Herinneringen aan Patroklos' dood / 'Memories of Patroklos's death'  [11'47] 
3  Movement 3: Sirenengespeel en gezang / 'Sirens playing and singing'  [11'41] 
4  Movement 4: De genius van Hellas/ 'The genius of Hellas'  [8'44] 
5  Morgenstemming 'Morning Mood'  [12'42] 
6  Mythe der lente 'Myth of Spring'  [10'47] 

« Last Edit: August 11, 2009, 02:11:51 AM by pjme »

Offline stevenski

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Re: Late Romantic music from Belgium / Ning Kam violin
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2009, 03:04:51 PM »
Thanks for that, pjme; very enlightening.

Lovely music. There is a little Mortelmans piece for orchestra, "Exultation", paired down and beautiful melody. Wish I could afford the Homeric Symphony!

Steve

Enthusiasms: Michael Ponti, unknown Romantics, Meulemans, LPs, piano concerti

Offline Lethevich

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Re: Late Romantic music from Belgium / Ning Kam violin
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2011, 06:13:29 AM »
Belgian question:

Can anyone direct me towards which of Wim Mertens' compositions are of a more classical bent? I've tried to sample his music to answer my initial question "Is this classical?", but am not finding any answers. Wikipedia assures me that he at least has some, despite his Einaudi-style albums, but he composed so much that it's a bit of a hassle working out exactly what is going on in his output.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wim_Mertens
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pjme

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Re: Late Romantic music from Belgium / Ning Kam violin
« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2011, 11:40:55 AM »
Sorry Lethe, but I cannot help you.  Mertens'music leaves cold, so I never investigated.

Peter

ps: A new Hyperion Cd will soon be out ( November) with music by Meulemans ( two concerti for orchestra) and several works by Jef Maes.  Antwerp PhO/ Brabbins.

Offline Darwin

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Re: Late Romantic music from Belgium / Ning Kam violin
« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2012, 11:43:32 PM »
Lekeu has been mentioned already in this thread. His "Adagio pour Quatuor d'Orchestra" is a gripping, moving piece which I am sure will appeal to anybody who likes Schoenberg's Verklarte Nacht, and makes one regret very much his untimely demise. Surely the composer of such a riveting piece as this had great things in him. It was completed in 1891, when Lekeu was 22. Verklarte Nacht was not written until 1899...

The work is scored for string orchestra with a solo trio of violin/viola/cello - the title has never made sense to me, until now. I have just realised that the orchestra is the fourth member of the "quartet".

Decent recordings are a bit thin on the ground; mine is on an Erato LP (NUM 75052), played by the Monte Carlo PO under Armin Jordan, and is perfectly serviceable. Once again Youtube comes to the rescue with this slow but rather fine, impassioned performance - well, it is an Adagio. The video is split into two parts, for reasons which are unclear to me.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2012, 11:48:02 PM by Darwin »

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Late Romantic music from Belgium / Ning Kam violin
« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2012, 06:24:05 PM »
Just been listening to downloads kindly provided at Unsung Composers of Jongens, Violin Concerto and String Trio. The Trio reminded me of Vaughan Williams, the Concerto (a beautiful work) of Bruch.

What is his Symphonie Concertante for organ and orchestra like? I have to say I don't normally like Romantic organ music.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Late Romantic music from Belgium / Ning Kam violin
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2014, 02:13:32 AM »
Once again greatly enjoying this CD:
Think he is a genuinely undeservedly neglected composer. The Symphony (1944) is moving and memorable as is 'In Memoriam '. Looking forward to lots of replies  8)

"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).