Ryelandt was very much a Bruges based artist (he was born and died there).
He is of the same generation as De Boeck (a strong contender in the late
romantic stakes), Meulemans (his symphonies are well worth getting acquainted
with), Paul Gilson (try his La Mer), as well as even lesser known
figures such as Lodewijk Mortelmans, Martin Lunssens (I have never heard
of him!) and Flor Alpaerts (better known for organ and choral music but with
orchestral music to his name also).
On this showing Ryelandt is firmly in the Franck (Psyché and
Symphony), Wagner and Tchaikovsky (Symphony No. 4) camp. The first movement
is restless - touched with a sense of the apocalypse. The strings are not
ideally clean though they put the music across well enough. The symphony
is the fourth of five symphonies and I would be very pleased to discover
the other four. There is nothing crudely dramatic about it. The Elysian calm
(almost Brahmsian but with a very light hand on the orchestration) of the
Andante Sostenuto (II) is memorable. The Lento (yes, a lento
after an andante) is the most contemporarily romantic movement.
It has a dynamic lilt which slaloms between Dvorák, Brahms, Mendelssohn
(The Hebrides) and Franck. The chorus enter the fray in the finale
(they are heard briefly earlier on in the work) which at 17:15 is the longest
movement of the four. In it you can pick out the influences of Fauré's
Requiem (the words are from the Credo) and also those of Verdi
and Brahms. The style is reverential, ethereal and moving with some Handelian
pomp at 10.00 onwards. If there are (very slight) reservations about the
string section the chorus are quite magnificent. As a work this is impressive
compromised only by a long finale that feels structurally rather
ramshackle amid the flickering sincerity and flaming grandeur.
The Symphony (like the other four still in manuscript) had to wait until
1960 before its premiere at a concert for the occasion of the composer's
90th birthday. This recording observes the composer-sanctioned
cuts. I would like to hear the others. I understand that numbers 3 and 5
have been issued previously.
Delian's with a taste for Fauré and the Richard Strauss orchestral
songs will love the Idylle Mystique. It will also warm the cockles
of those who loved the Bantock Sappho song-cycle (not to be missed
on Hyperion). Mlle Capelle is in voluptuous voice though not so fulsomely
overflowing that she is unable to enunciate clearly. The words are from The
Song of Songs and deserve to join that select company of works we known from
the Francophone generation of the period 1890-1920. Think perhaps of Chausson's
Poème de l'Amour et de la Mer and the chaster tone of Elgar's
Sea Songs. It also made me think back to the Novak song-cycles (Supraphon
and ClassicO) I reviewed earlier this year.
The notes are good on facts and rather long on musical technicality. The
booklet gives the texts of neither the Symphony nor the song cycle.
Tasteful design work in common with the CYPRES Lekeu and Delage discs also
forwarded for review.
A middlingly strong suit in the neglected repertoire league. More than enough
to make me want to explore further. The song cycle is the strongest of the