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CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

August de BOECK   (1865-1937)
Orchestral Works
Dahomeyan Rhapsody (1893) [4:25]
Violin Concerto (1912-14) [26:17]
Nocturne (1931) [8:40]
In de Schuur (In the Barn) op. posth. [5:12]
De Klijne Reinkoning (The Little King of the Rhine) (1904) [18:54]
Fantasy on two Flemish Folk Songs (1923) [6:55]
Ning Kam (violin)
Flemish Radio Orchestra/Marc Soustrot
rec. 25-28 June 2007, Studio 4, Flagey, Brussels. DDD
ETCETERA KTC4024 [67:31]

Experience Classicsonline

In the early 1980s the boundaries of my knowledge of classical music were being pushed further and further out to find a new periphery. The Pizers, Mark Lehman, Walter Wells and Mike Herman were among my US contacts before the demands of family, employment and the hectic pace of tape exchange could no longer be sustained by me. Mike, who now contributes invaluable discographies to the site, introduced me to the Belgian-Flemish composer, August de Boeck with tapes of the Dahomeyan Rhapsody (Belgian RTVSO/Irwin Hoffmann) and the romantic Violin Concerto (Pierre Domeux (violin) RTBCO/Clemence Quattacker). As de Boeck CDs were issued I tracked them down: the Marco Polo label Symphony, Violin Concerto and Rhapsody (8.223740, Frederic Devreese) and on Discovery, the Symphony with Gilson’s De Zee (BRTNPO/Karl-Anton Rickenbacher).

The Rhapsody is short and entertaining with little trace of exotic local colour. The style of the Concerto is romantic in the saturated hoarse manner of Bruch, Delius, Karlowicz, Coleridge Taylor, Tchaikovsky and even Korngold at his most tender and touching. It remains a succulent work well worthy of revival and of being showcased by a young and talented violinist for an international competition. The concerto is most lovingly shaped by Ning Kam and Marc Soustrot who are a shade more closely recorded by Etcetera than is Guido De Neve for Marco Polo. They time out at 26:25. The Nocturne is superbly done to show us that recordings can be magical when the extremes of volume are used as in the barely whispered shimmer of the Nocturne. Something of an echo here of Bantock’s Pierrot of the Minute overture though the Nocturne is from late in de Boeck’s creative career. In de Schuur is an uproariously jolly romp. The orchestral movements from De Klijne Reinkoning are warm and even Wagnerian, falling away into a fade before a stirringly glowing fanfare. The Epilogue includes a caramel sweet violin solo as part of a Straussian sunset. The Fantasy on two Flemish Folk Songs is an amiable piece - calming and flashily demonstrative. On this evidence de Boeck was an outstanding companionable fellow who revelled in the late-romantic style and was happy expressing himself through its resilient qualities.
Rob Barnett





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