Late Romantic music from Belgium

Started by pjme, December 16, 2007, 01:06:14 PM

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Roy Bland



There's a thing I don't understand, in Belgium there are lots of record labels that release 4 or 5 records and then disappear

Scion7

Re: Absil - yes, music scholarship doesn't describe him as a late Romantic:

In his earliest works Absil was clearly under the influence of his teachers: the Rhapsodie flamande, for example, is in the Gilson tradition. With La mort de Tintagiles, however, he sought a more individual manner, but his style was formed in the chamber music that he wrote after 1934. This style is essentially polyphonic and polymodal, with different modes used in each work, although there is a predilection for intervals of an augmented 4th and a diminished octave. Changes in metre and irrational divisions are frequent; sometimes there are superimpositions of triple and binary metres, or of differently divided gruppettos, so producing characteristically vigorous effects. Often cast in variation or other conventional forms, Absil's music has great structural clarity. An evolution took place after 1938 when he attempted to make his work more accessible, but without removing its distinctiveness. From drama and ruggedness his music turned to settled charm. He followed Bartók, whose work he much admired, in studying, from 1943, the peasant music of Romania and other countries, and several of his works use folk or folk-like themes. But in 1963 Absil appeared to stop making concessions to public taste and devoted his efforts almost exclusively to instrumental music.
When, a few months before his death, Rachmaninov lamented that he no longer had the "strength and fire" to compose, friends reminded him of the Symphonic Dances, so charged with fire and strength. "Yes," he admitted. "I don't know how that happened. That was probably my last flicker."

vandermolen

Quote from: pjme on November 07, 2023, 06:58:07 AMAnother forgotten composer, another old recording....


This 1950 work has its moments (the ending of the first movement) and - of course - the entrance of the organ in the last movement ... stylistically its a real hotchpot: a little bit of Saint Saens, a pinch of Hindemith, Franck, ...snippets of Janacek or Chostakovich and a little snuff of Bartok...
yet, I think this would go down well in a large concerthall  :)

The sentimental paintings are far too sweet for this "heavy" music.
I'd opt for some Permeke:



Thanks - I like the sound of this symphony.
"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).

pjme

#123
Quote from: vandermolen on November 13, 2023, 11:44:59 PMI like the sound of this symphony.
OK - and that in spite of the congested sound of these DECCA Lps!  :)
Here is some Jean Absil in a nice recording:


Sweet - a bit like Poulenc, Milhaud, Falla and Jean Françaix .

pjme

#124
Quote from: Roy Bland on November 13, 2023, 05:40:27 PMThere's a thing I don't understand, in Belgium there are lots of record labels that release 4 or 5 records and then disappear
There's only a small handful of people who buy them.... :'(

The Belgian governments do very little to promote classical music. HIP ensembles (Lionel Meunier/Vox Luminis, La petite bande, Ratas del viego mundo/Floris De Rycker, Huelgas, Collegium Vocale, Il Fondamento, Graindelavoix....) do often well for a long time but aren't spared either.

https://www.kunsten.be/en/now-in-the-arts/perspectieven-op-de-oude-muzieksector-in-vlaanderen/

The Antwerp Philharmonic/now Antwerp symphony Orchesta, tried to launch its own lable and promised to issue cd's with Belgo/Flemish repertoire, but that initiative seems to have ended after a couple of cds.
Luc Famaey's Phaedra label is now part of Dutch music Works. I don't know if new recordings are planned.

The future isn't bright (and has never been) for performances of (any classical) Belgian music.

Roy Bland

#125
Quote from: pjme on November 14, 2023, 07:31:09 AMThere's only a small handful of people who buy them.... :'(

The Belgian governments do very little to promote classical music. HIP ensembles (Lionel Meunier/Vox Luminis, La petite bande, Ratas del viego mundo/Floris De Rycker, Huelgas, Collegium Vocale, Il Fondamento, Graindelavoix....) do often well for a long time but aren't spared either.

https://www.kunsten.be/en/now-in-the-arts/perspectieven-op-de-oude-muzieksector-in-vlaanderen/

The Antwerp Philharmonic/now Antwerp symphony Orchesta, tried to launch its own lable and promised to issue cd's with Belgo/Flemish repertoire, but that initiative seems to have ended after a couple of cds.
Luc Famaey's Phaedra label is now part of Dutch music Works. I don't know if new recordings are planned.

The future isn't bright (and has never been) for performances of (any classical) Belgian music.

mine obviously wasn't a negative opinion with us the situation is even worse than four radio and television orchestras there is one left and the only modern composer not unknown to the public is Allevi .For instance they make a great work https://www.facebook.com/RoyalSymphonicBandoftheBelgianGuides/

pjme

#126
Quote from: Roy Bland on November 15, 2023, 05:39:37 PMthe only modern composer not unknown to the public is Allevi
Oh dear, Giovanni Allevi, that's very much in the simplistic-sentimental-quasi-neo-romantic -repetitive-tintinabulistic-tingel-tangel- Einaudi way....hopelessly dreadful to my ears. ;D

I must quickly clean those ears :)


 

Roy Bland

Quote from: pjme on November 16, 2023, 01:56:10 AMOh dear, Giovanni Allevi, that's very much in the simplistic-sentimental-quasi-neo-romantic -repetitive-tintinabulistic-tingel-tangel- Einaudi way....hopelessly dreadful to my ears. ;D

I must quickly clean my ears


I  agree that  moment is negative , this is what the contemporary scene offers but we're going OT
some evaluations which do not necessarily reflect my personal opinions

https://www.hashtagmagazine.it/perche-la-liberazione-dalla-musica-brutta-salvera-il-mondo/

https://loccidentale.it/la-musica-contemporanea-e-brutta/

https://www.radioromalibera.org/la-musica-contemporanea-deve-essere-brutta/amp/

https://criticaimpura.wordpress.com/2015/04/13/musica-bella-e-musica-brutta-una-riflessione-di-lorenzo-leone/

https://www.giornaledellamusica.it/articoli/ecosistema-contemporaneo

Pohjolas Daughter

Quote from: pjme on November 13, 2023, 07:40:55 AMWhile preparing the evening meal, doing some household chores and looking at the grey, windswept skies, I listen to old recordings of Belgian music. Some of them I've known all my life (thanks to the library), some have been "rescued" from long forgotten radio broadcasts (I used to write to the BRT archive).
Anyway, Flor Peeters is mainly known as an organist and still enjoys some attention.
Here is his pianoconcerto in two versions: piano/orchestra and piano/organ. Rather fun!


Eugène Traeys piano should have had a decent tuning....and the recording is drab...Still, there are some snappy rythms, catchy tunes and a dreamy arioso...


Mats Jansons piano sounds good the recording is excellent. The two other movements are also on YT.

Peeters massive, impressive (ca 40 mins.) concerto for organ and large orchestra was recorded for KLARA.
https://youtu.be/ho2pnslHMZA?si=k0C8HGcdhhSOhiKP
I'll have to check them out!

And, wow, the radio station shared recordings with you?!  How did that come about?

PD
Pohjolas Daughter

pjme

#129
Quote from: Pohjolas Daughter on November 16, 2023, 09:50:33 AMAnd, wow, the radio station shared recordings with you?!  How did that come about?
Several broadcasting stations - at least (then BRTN) now VRT (Flemish radio&TV) , France Musique, and RTBF (Radio Télévison Belge), had programs "From the archives" and (ca 1970-1985) one just had to write a letter and ask for a certain work to be re-broadcast. Not everything was possible (copyright) but many recordings by the BRT (and/or RTB) orchestras (then : a large symphony orchestra, a chamber orchestra, a jazz orchestra and a "broadcasting" /Big band /concert - like orchestra, and a chorus!) would be broadcast again - late at night.
I bought a good Uher taperecorder and recorded loads of rare repertoire which I did share with a friend in NY.
Probably other European stations (Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark?) had similar programs , but I corresponded only with the Belgians and French.

Apart from that the history of the Belgian radio orchestras is complicated . A couple of years ago I tried to reconstruct its "agony" ;) ...(I may have posted this here before...):

"Belgium is a bilingual country. Today even, with a very small German speaking community, officialy trilingual. I'll spare you the more complicated details. Read more at:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Belgium#Postwar_Belgium
In 1930 Belgian National Radio becomes a (bilingual) reality. The N.I.R. /I.N.R. is created: the National Institute for Radio broadcasting /  Institut national de radiodiffusion.
The BBC serves as a model.
From Februari  1931 three conductors are installed: Franz André, Jean Kumps and Arthur Meulemans. Apparently, Désiré Defauw (also actif in Chicago) acts as "artistic advisor" .
Three orchestras are formed: a Symphony Orchestra, a Radio Orchestra and  the "Klein Orkest", a small orchestra.
After many problems, changes and quarrels a Large Symphony Orchestra of the N.I.R.-I.N.R. is created in 1935 , with Franz André as conductor.
Inspired by Paul Collaer the Large S.O. expands its repertoire and performs numerous contemporary compositions: Krenek, Malipiero, Milhaud, Bartok, Schönberg, Hindemith, Stravinsky, Koechlin. And, of course, many works by Belgian composers: Marcel Poot, Arthur Meulemans, Paul Gilson, August Baeyens, Karel Albert, Karel Candael, Michel Brusselmans, Jef Van Hoof, Edgard Tinel, Jules Strens etc.
Franz André retires in 1958, but conducts regularly as guest.
In 1960 the broadcasting institute is split and the stations become respectively BRT and RTB ( Belgian Radio and TV / Radio et Tv Belge).
In 1957 Daniel Sternefeld becomes chief conductor of the  (combined) BRT-RTB Groot Symfonisch Orkest (Grand Orchestre Symphonique de la RTB-BRT). He remains  untill 1971. He is followed by Irwin Hoffman [1973-76].
The Large Orchestra is split.
In 1977 RTB becomes RTBF (F= Français). The Nouvel Orchestre Symphonique de la RTBF is created. Edgard Doneux is chief conductor. In 1984 this orchestra is renamed Orchestre Symphonique de la RTBF and Alfred Walter becomes chief.
In 1978 the BRT orchestra is renamed as BRT Filharmonisch Orkest.
In 1988 Alexander Rahbari becomes chief –conductor.
In 1991 BRT becomes BRTN (N= Nederlands= Flemish) In 1997 BRTN becomes VRT, Vlaamse Radio en Televisieomroep.
Also in 1991 the Orchestre Symphonique de la RTBF is definitively dismantled.
Frank Shipway is director from 1991 till 1999.
In 1998 the BRTN orchestra is renamed as Vlaams Omroeporkest (VRO / Flemish Broadcasting Orchestra) and Yoel Levi becomes its chief conductor.
In that same year the orchestra is detached from the broadcasting organisation and restarts –in 2008 - as Brussels Philharmonic. Michel Tabachnik is followed by Stéphane Denève."

Since 2022 Kazushi Ono is director / "chef permanent".

Brussels Philharmonic

Nouvel Orchestre de la RTBF / Edgard Doneux.

François Joseph Fétis

Roy Bland


pjme



Roy Bland


Scion7

RE: Royal Belgian Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band

Thanks for the heads up on this.
I grabbed it - good Band music.  :)
Several unknown composers which is great (when they are good.)
When, a few months before his death, Rachmaninov lamented that he no longer had the "strength and fire" to compose, friends reminded him of the Symphonic Dances, so charged with fire and strength. "Yes," he admitted. "I don't know how that happened. That was probably my last flicker."

pjme

Quote from: Roy Bland on November 23, 2023, 09:44:07 PM
Not exactly "late romantic - but definitely not "avant garde".

"Tonality in music fulfils a uniting role like gravity in everyday life, whereas atonality belongs more to the realm of space travel." This metaphor, which Peter Cabus used in a 1993 lecture on his second symphony, is typical of the vision that he developed concerning the musical world around him and the history of music in which he had carved out a place for himself. Cabus was primarily a classicist, a man with great respect for the composers who preceded him. For him, Brahms and Beethoven were still highly relevant. "

https://matrix-new-music.be/en/publications/flemish-composers-database/cabus-peter/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwtmoS9V3Qc
Echoes of Frank Martin and Bela Bartok.

Cabus "Sinfonia concertante for harpsichord, piano and chamber orchestra on Remus Platen impenetrable Olympus of rare music...

Roy Bland


pjme

#137
Eugène Ysayë's Ouverture sur des thèmes d'Atala (1919)

https://www.kbr.be/en/agenda/ysaye-rediscovered-international-study-day/

BELGIAN MUSIC DAYS: February 15th / Brussels

Wim Henderickx, Le visioni di paura (Visions of Fear)
Apolline Jesupret, Bleue, tableau symphonique (World Premiere, commissioned by Ars Musica)
Eugène Ysaÿe, Ouverture sur des thèmes d'Atala (European Premiere) (with chorus)
Jacqueline Fontyn, Piano Concerto "Rivages solitaires"
Kris Defoort, Human Voices Only



This fourth edition of the Belgian Music Days, a biennial festival dedicated to Belgian composers, starts with Le visioni di paura ("Visions of Fear") by this season's composer Wim Henderickx. For this composition, he drew inspiration from a painting by Hieronymus Bosch, and was influenced by the outbreak of the Gulf War in the summer of 1990. The new work that will be presented in world premiere next is currently being written by the promising young pianist and composer Apolline Jesupret. She studied at the Royal Conservatory of Mons.

In early 2023, as part of a collaboration with the Royal Library of Belgium (KBR), a manuscript by the famous Belgian violinist and composer Eugène Ysaÿe containing the Ouverture sur des thèmes d'Atala was discovered in the Bozar archives. Eugène Ysaÿe composed this work in 1919 as a tribute to his late brother Théo, a pianist and composer, inspired by a cantata the latter had dedicated to him in 1892. The work was performed only once - in Cincinnati in 1920, conducted by the composer - and will receive its European premiere at this concert. In partnership with Bozar, KBR is organising a study day dedicated to the Ysaÿe brothers prior to the concert.

Human voices only, written in 2014, is the first orchestral work by Belgian composer and avant-garde jazz pianist Kris Defoort. He found the inspiration for this work in Morocco. With numerous references to early 20th century composers such as Debussy, Ravel, Satie and Stravinsky, Kris Defoort allows the instruments of the orchestra to play through the various facets of the human voice, evoking a never-ending Arabic melody. The concert will conclude with pianist Jan Michiels performing a short piano concerto by one of Belgium's greatest composers, Jacqueline Fontyn. She wrote Rivages Solitaires ("Lonely Banks") in 1989.


Jac van Steen, conductor
Jan Michiels, piano
Chœur de l'IMEP (Institut royal supérieur de musique et de pédagogie de Namur)

Ysayë and Cincinnatti:


In 1917, Eugène Ysaÿe left for America for what he thought would be a new tour across the Atlantic. In April of the same year, the United States entered the war and Ysaÿe found himself stranded. He remained in America for two and a half years, during which the death of his younger brother, Théo Ysaÿe, occurred.

In 1920, Eugène Ysaÿe, who then became director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, planned the creation of a work, entitled Ouverture sur des themes d'Atala, which he composed based on themes from a youth cantata written by his brother Théo Ysaÿe. Everything suggests that this Overture was only performed once, in 1920 in Cincinnati, no other performance having been recorded. And as Marie Cornaz points out in the report below, the manuscript found in the Bozar archives was, most likely, used during the creation of the work, on May 6, 1920.

pjme

Quote from: pjme on February 14, 2024, 09:42:53 AMOuverture sur des themes d'Atala, which he composed based on themes from a youth cantata written by his brother Théo Ysaÿe. Everything suggests that this Overture was only performed once, in 1920 in Cincinnati, no other performance having been recorded.
Alas, tonights concert will NOT be broadcast. A cd MAY be issued ...later....