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August de BOECK (1865 – 1937)

Fantasy (1926)
Victor LEGLEY (1915 – 1994)

Concertino per Oboe ed Archi Op.100 (1982)
Frits CELIS (born 1929)

Kareol Op.61b (1997, orch. 2002)a
Gabriël VERSCHRAEGEN (1919 – 1981)

Drie Vlaamse Dansen
Jacques LEDUC (born 1932)

Concertino Op.10 (1962)
Willem KERSTERS (1929 – 1998)

Concertino Op.2 (1953)
Piet van Bockstal (oboe, cor anglaisa)
Czech Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra/Herman Engels
Recorded: Studio II, Czech Radio, Brno, October 2002
PHAEDRA 92029 [70:16]
August de Boeck was one of the first Belgian composers of any significance in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and is probably best-known for his fine Symphony in G which has been regularly recorded (it is available on MARCO POLO 8.223740). His simple Romantic music, often tinged by some superficial Impressionism, is represented here by his delightful, pastoral Fantasy, a comparatively late work completed as late as 1926.

Victor Legley achieved some considerable reputation with his powerfully impressive orchestral work De Stalen Kathedraal Op.52 of 1958 which displays some rugged energy, somewhat in the same way as Blomdahl’s Forma Ferritonans. He composed consistently throughout his long career, and his sizeable and varied output includes several considerable symphonies, a good deal of chamber music (including several string quartets) and a handful of fine concertos (his Viola Concerto Op.78 of 1971 is one of his finest whereas his Second Violin Concerto Op.67 was commissioned as the test piece for the finals of the Queen Elizabeth Competition in 1967) of which the Oboe Concertino Op.100 completed in 1982. It is a somewhat lighter, mellower work than most of this composer’s output. It is in four concise, clearly characterised movements of which the lively dancing Finale is Legley at his sunniest.

For many long years, Frits Célis has been active as a teacher and as a conductor at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels and at the Royal Flemish Opera in Antwerp. Since his resignation, he devoted his time to composition and his output has since considerably increased. Kareol Op.61, completed in 1997, was originally written for cor anglais and piano. The orchestral version heard here was made by the composer in 2002. Kareol is Tristan’s castle and this elegiac work obliquely refers to the myth of Tristan and Isolde, and appropriately includes a brief quotation from Wagner’s opera.

In spite of his many academic activities, Jacques Leduc composed a sizeable output of orchestral and chamber works characterised by clarity and economy of means, not unlike Lennox Berkeley’s. His beautiful Oboe Concertino Op.10 of 1962 is a fine example of Leduc’s urbane lyricism and impeccable craftsmanship.

Willem Kersters is another noteworthy Belgian composer with a considerable body of works to his credit. His early Oboe Concertino Op.2 of 1953 is a very attractive work still in a fairly traditional idiom, i.e. by 20th Century standards. (Later, Kersters will develop his own brand of dodecaphony without ever adhering unconditionally to strict serial techniques.) It is in three compact movements full of Kersters’s early lyricism, but already displaying most of this composer’s hallmarks : economy of means, formal mastery, sureness of touch, to name but a few.

This superb release also includes Verschraegen’s delightful Three Flemish Dances for oboe and strings that the present soloist has already recorded once before. Gabriël Verschraegen was mainly known and appreciated as a brilliant organist, but he did also compose some music. His Flemish Dances are simple, colourful miniatures of great charm.

Piet van Bockstal is a fine musician for whom many Belgian composers have written. He often plays Belgian music, and the present generous, varied and attractive selection is most welcome, both for the quality of the music and the quality of the playing. A splendid introduction to some 20th Century Belgian music that should not be missed.

Hubert Culot


Information concerning PHAEDRA CDs may be obtained from the following address

Vzw Klassieke Concerten – Phaedra CD

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