JOSEPH RYELANDT (1870-1965)
Symphony No. 1 (1897) *
song - 'k En hoore u nog niet
Clair de lune
LOUIS MAES (1850-1906)
Organ Sonata op. 175
KAREL MESTDAGH (1850-1924)
Six New Divertimenti in waltz-form (1887)
REMI GESQUIERE (1866-1962)
JULES BOUQUET (1914-1995)
Horn Sonata (1942)
MAURITS DEROO (1902-1988)
Maria Magdalena - Symphonic Poem (1939) *
String Quartet No. 1 (1931)
Stedelijk Conservatorium SO,
JUBILEUM CD - 150 2
CDs 68.49 +74.13
Jaar - Stedelijk Conservatorium, Brugge CSB 1501
This varied conspectus of Belgian music takes us into some very obscure corners.
In fact my usual reference books failed me completely.
The MAES Organ Sonata is curvaceous in the manner of the British composer
Hubert Parry but with a lighter touch. Harmonically crunchy its gentle charms
have some full blown splendours that never descend into bombast. If occasionally
it smacks of a hymn tune meditation this simply reinforces affection for
a piece sensitively spun by Ignace Michiels at the Conservatorium organ.
A splashy touch of Widor hangs over the opening of the concluding Allegro.
Jan vande Weghe despatches MESTDAGH's Chopin-derived waltz essays - glancingly
gracious in every department. RYELANDT's impressionism sidles insinuatingly,
slow of pulse like an exquisite music box winding down, contrasting with
the Beethovenian Appassionato. I noticed a passing faltering by Vande
Weghe but otherwise he is utterly convincing in music that put me in mind
of Guillaume Lekeu in his cello sonata.
Catherine Vandevelde (soprano) and Peter Oerlemans (piano) take the songs.
The first, Fantasia, by MESTDAGH is a more emotionally complex piece
than the waltz essays might have suggested. It reminded me uncannily of the
glummer soliloquising aspects Hamilton Harty's more serious songs or the
wayward mistiness of Bax's Sheiling Song. There is a touch of Harty's
Seawrack about it. GHESQUIERE'S Het Drijven is closer to the
Fauré school though again rather downbeat - of a piece in character
with the Mestdagh. The RYELANDT song 'k En Hoore is sly and charming
rather like the Granados songs. All three are lovingly done. The group of
three songs by RYELANDT from his 1897 Op. 19 set navigate some tricky subtle
emotions and in the first of the three Vandevelde's sovereign voice is heard
in singing that is long, satin, quiet and high. The next song which requires
a darker voice struggles under pressure but all is forgiven for the final
Tristesse which although having some operatic impetuosity is reflective
in an exotic Far Eastern strain.
JULES BOUQUET's Sonata for horn and piano (1942) is much more modern, written
during the German occupation. Piet Dombrecht's horn is not always secure
in what must be a tough piece although he is in devastating control in the
super quiet role in the slow movement (a touch of Ravel's Pavane).
Its role is typically melodic - singing heroically for all the world as if
Bouquet rather venerated Rachmaninov. Did I also note a hint of Khachaturyan
in the first movement. The theme in the first movement is memorable, robustly
long-legged and resilient - a golden theme. An Autumn ease falls like feathered
leaves over the central movement. It would be good to hear this piece in
competitions instead of the other Horn staples. Bouquet does not make you
work at all hard. Whether he struck quite the right humorous mood in the
last movement I rather doubt. The other two movements seem of much greater
MAURITS DEROO's 1939 tone poem Maria Magdalena explodes with a head-on
collision between the lithe tunefulness of Bliss's Checkmate and
Music for Strings and the snarling ruthless Machine Age voltage of
Antheil and Mossolov. Later episodes are less turbulent but a chilled-to-the
bone pall hangs over almost everything reminding me somewhat of Luis de Freitas
Branco's Artificial Paradises tone poem. Intermittently there are
hints of Sibelius (Symphony No. 4 and Tapiola) and Franck
(Psyche) and Shostakovich. This is a most unnerving piece - with a
tougher hide than my shopping list of influences might tentatively suggest.
It certainly is not atonal but the language is agreeably disorientating and
the piece proceeds jerkily from incident to incident. There is some complexity
in the final five minutes where string writing influenced by the final movement
of Tchaikovsky 6 surrenders to a dreamy honeyed pulse. Most impressive and
well worth a second listen.
DEROO's first quartet from 1931 is touched with the wand of the Ravel quartet
RYELANDT's Symphony No. 1 receives its recording premiere. Its tiger attack
opening has the springy stertorous rush of Schumann's Symphonies No. 2 and
No. 4 and Overture, Scherzo and Finale. The strings are not as secure
as they are in the Deroo poem although perfectly adequate. The slow movement
of Tchaikovsky 5 hangs over the second movement. I sensed a lack of security
in the brass section but though noticeable it does not alloy the pleasure
of this nicely reflective movement. The scherzo is chuggingly Brucknerian
(Symphony 7) with something of Schubert's Great C Major about it.
The notes are brief and in Flemish only. They give the full French and Flemish
texts as sung but no translations.
Altogether a most enterprising set and well worth a purchase.
The Conservatorium has at this moment produced no other discs.
Since Baron Joseph Ryelandt has been the director of this Conservatorium,
you could find some interesting material in their archives. Enquire at
email@example.com , that is the E-mail adress of themusic-library.