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Marcel POOT (1901-1988)
Fanfare pour la Victoire (1967)a [1:46]
Intrada (1979)a [7:56]
Fanfare voor Franz André (1967)a [2:39]
Mouvement symphonique (1938)a [10:50]
Ere-fanfare voor Herman Teirlinck (1954)a [4:23]
Vrolijkheid in Brass (1978)a [7:15]
Nuptial March (1922)a [3:36]
Charlot (1926) [13:33]
Dionysos (1923) [9:11]
Diptiek (1984) [7:22]
Défilé Royal-Marche Triomphale (1922) [5:44]
Brass Band Buizingen/Luc Vertommena; Royal Symphonic Band of the Belgian Guides/Norbert Nozy
rec. Cultureel Centrum ‘Ter Dilft’ Bornem, Belgium, 21-23 December 2002 (Brass Band Buizingen) and Cultureel Centrum ‘Stroming’ Berlare, Belgium, 20-22 November 2002 (Symphonic Band of the Belgian Guides)
WORLD WIND MUSIC WWM500090 [75:02]


Experience Classicsonline

Marcel Poot was one of the most endearing composers of his generation. The pictures in the booklet often show a po-faced gentleman looking straight at you without any apparent smile. This is quite deceptive for Marcel Poot was in fact capable of some at times devastating humour and this shows from time to time in his music. Incidentally, his most popular work is the short, breezy Vrolijke Ouverture (“Cheerful Overture”). This and some other works earned him the nickname of “Till Eulenspiegel of Flemish Music”, but there is much more than that in Poot’s music. He was a master orchestrator and also knew how instruments in chamber music could be used at their best. His music is most often characterised by formal clarity, clear-cut themes and frequently abrasive scoring. Although it may be quite deeply felt, he definitely eschews sentimentality. He composed a great deal of music in almost every genre from short piano pieces to operas, although the backbone of his output is to be found in his seven symphonies distributed across his whole composing career. Some of these were once available on Marco Polo 8.223805 (Symphonies No.3, No.5 and No.7) and Marco Polo 8.223775 (Symphony No.6), and I hope that these very fine discs will soon be reissued on Naxos, which they definitely deserve.

Poot was born into a family with some interest in arts and culture. His father played the clarinet in the local wind band known as “Harmonie Royale” which he later chaired. Young Marcel was then allowed to play timpani in the band. This may explain Poot’s liking for and understanding of both brass and wind bands, for which he composed quite a lot although some of these works are sometimes very short. As can be seen from the above details, the works recorded here, be they for brass or wind band, span his long creative life. Some of the earliest works date from the composer’s twenties. I will not go into details about each of these pieces. I must nevertheless mention that the rather abstractly titled Mouvement symphonique for brass is a substantial piece of deeply felt and strictly worked-out music. Franz André was an eminent conductor who gave many first performances of contemporary works either with the Belgian National Orchestra or with the Radio Orchestra known then as I.N.R. For information’s sake, let it be mentioned that Hartmann’s First Symphony is dedicated to Franz André and that Malcolm Arnold and Arthur Butterworth had and have fond memories of him. So the short Fanfare voor Franz André is obviously based on F and A. The somewhat longer Ere-fanfare voor Herman Teirlinck is a tribute to the Flemish writer who was a friend of Poot. Another piece worth mentioning is Vrolijkheid in Brass, the “bilingual” title of which might roughly translate as “Jollity in Brass”. The music lives up to title.

The works for wind band are also fairly short although Charlot may be singled-out as somewhat more sizeable and far more serious than the title might suggest. “Charlot” is the name under which Chaplin’s ubiquitous character is known in French-speaking countries. The music of this substantial work from the composer’s early maturity shows that Poot had assimilated some of the then modern musical techniques and echoes of Stravinsky may indeed be heard here and there. Another remarkable feature of this piece is the masterly scoring for wind band. Incidentally, this work also exists in a version for symphonic orchestra. It is interesting to note that in spite of its title, the work does not refer to any particular events or characters in Chaplin’s films. The three movements (Attitudes, Struggle for Life and Les dieux s’inclinent) remain rather abstract and merely suggest the sort of journey often experienced in Chaplin’s films. Poot wrote for brass band and wind orchestra till the very end of his life, and Diptiek (1984) was his last work in the medium. The much earlier and quite serious Dionysos of 1923 already displays Poot’s formal mastery and expertly wrought scoring. The still earlier Défilé Royal-Marche Triomphale (1922) is yet another fine example of Poot’s tongue-in-cheek brand of humour.

This generously filled disc offers a most welcome survey of Poot’s output for brass band and wind orchestra. The performances are excellent and dedicated and make this release a must for all the frustrated admirers of his music. Let’s hope that more of his output will soon be available on disc.

Hubert Culot



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