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Volume 5: Five Choral Pieces on Biblical Themes

Choral Fugue: Gott des Weltalls Herr p.1
Uvnucho Yomar p.13
Tov L’hodot l’Adonai p. 17
Adonai Malach. p. 25
Jesus Once of Humble Birth p. 28

Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864), the master of French of Grand Opéra, is less well-known as a composer of songs. And yet Meyerbeer the songwriter is becoming better known as the extent of his oeuvre of over 80 Lieder, melodies and canzone is slowly rediscovered.

As in all his works, genre plays a crucial role, and Meyerbeer was gifted with an extraordinary capacity to live in the natural musical expressions of the various German, Italian and French milieux he lived in throughout his life, and to whose essential characteristics he responded with effortless intuitiveness. His unique cosmopolitanism, so characteristic of the 18th and early 19th centuries, was first hailed as an important binding force between nations. Later such trans-national characteristics were treated with scorn, even contempt, as extreme nationalism and wars beset the various countries of Europe. ….

Jonathan Faiman (Irvington Middle School, New York, USA)
David Faiman (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Sede Boqer, Israel)
Robert Ignatius Letellier (Trinity College, Cambridge, UK)


Allegro assai p.1
Vivace p. 31
Molto moderato (e sostenuto) p.51

Adolf Busch – a composer? The musician is known primarily as a performer, even if the community of those who appreciate historical recordings is not necessarily growing rapidly today. But anyone who has heard Busch as a violinist is not only influenced by his playing when listening to recent interpretations of the same works, but also makes demands that cannot always be met. As an interpreter, Adolf Busch was famous for the intensity of his musical approach. He refused musical beauty as an end in itself (just like his brothers) – the depth of his penetration into the musical substance is still considered exemplary today. As a person, too, Busch was similarly uncompromising – his position against Nazi Germany, his resolute devotion to and commitment to what he believed in and what was important to him are still exemplary today.

Adolf Busch was born in Siegen in 1891, the second of seven surviving children of a carpenter who, through much practice, had become a violin maker, and the daughter of a locksmith who ran her own handicrafts shop. Adolf received his first violin lessons from his father at the age of two and a half, he performed in public for the first time at the age of four, and the “child prodigy” label was not long in coming. From 1902 to 1909 he studied at the Cologne Conservatory with Willy Hess, Bram Eldering and Fritz Steinbach. Adolf’s brother, the conductor Fritz Busch, describes his brother’s composition lessons with Steinbach as “rarely given[…] but all the more excellent for it[…]”. Large and small forms were explored, and Steinbach also provided his pupil with poems on song composition. On 26 January 1909, Adolf Busch met Max Reger; accompanied by his brother Fritz, he played the composer’s Violin Concerto in A major from memory. Reger was enthusiastic about his playing, and the two subsequently gave many concerts together. Busch’s compositional development owes much to this friendship, even though other composers, such as Ferruccio Busoni, later left their mark on Busch’s oeuvre, which was nevertheless quite unique. …

Jürgen Schaarwächter
Custodian of the Busch Brothers Archive at the Max Reger Institute, 2023

(Antwerp, 29 January 1762 – Antwerp, 8 March 1831)

Pierre Jean Suremont was a successful Antwerp merchant who found his passion in music, and his artistic outlet in composing. For twenty years, from 1786 to 1806, he worked and lived in Brussels. During his time there he was good friends with Jean Englebert Pauwels (1768-1804), violinist and conductor of the Monnaie Theatre as well as an excellent composer. It was possibly Pauwels who guided Suremont in his first steps in the field of composition. Suremont‘s earliest compositions date from the first years of the nineteenth century: some minor liturgical works and the opera Les trois Cousines. After his return to Antwerp in 1806, he quickly followed up with four major mass compositions and festive psalm settings, all for soloists, choir and large orchestra. These works were performed in the Antwerp Cathedral and in other major churches in the city.

After the turbulent period of the end of French rule, and the seizure of power by the Dutch (1814-1815), Suremont welcomed the new ruler with a Chant Patriotique à Son A: R: Frederic Guillaume d‘Orange Nassau Prince Hereditaire des Pays-Bas (1815). The new regime wanted to actively promote the Dutch language, amongst other things through composition competitions. In a first competition, where he was asked to compose music for a Dutch national anthem, Suremont missed the boat. But in 1816, he became first laureate in a competition organised by the Société Royale des Beaux-Arts et de la Littérature de Gand, with the cantata Nederlands Zegenprael (Dutch triumph), to a text by Catharina Bilderdijk. And a few years later, in 1818, the Fourth Class of the Royal Institute of the Netherlands awarded its cantata De Toonkunst (Musical art), set to a text by Hendrik Herman Klijn. This Symphonie too was most probably Suremont‘s entry for a competition held in Ghent in 1820. More on this later. …

Piet Stryckers
(Translation: Jasmien Dewilde)

This score is published as part of the research project Pierre Suremont (1762-1831): a forgotten Antwerp composer (Labo XIX&XX, a research group of the Library of the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp). The score was edited by Piet Stryckers in collaboration with Hannah Aelvoet and is published by the Centre for the Study of Flemish Music (www.svm.be). Please contact the SVM for the orchestral parts.

(b. Altwaltersdorf, 3 January 1786 – died Dessau, 23 November 1853)

“Handel of our time” (“Händel unserer Zeit”) – this is how Friedrich Schneider was described in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung on March 8, 1837. Schneider, whose full name was Johann Christian Friedrich Schneider, was one of the most important personalities of the Leipzig music scene during his lifetime: in 1806 he became singing teacher of the Ratsfreischule, in 1807 organist of the Universitätskirche, in 1810 music director of the Seconda’sche Operntruppe, in 1813 organist of the Thomaskirche, in 1816 director of the Singakademie and in 1817 music director of the Stadttheater. In 1811 he played the solo part in the premiere of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 5th Piano Concerto in Leipzig. In addition, Schneider was a corrector and advisor to the publishing house Bureau de Musique, now known as Edition Peters. He finally achieved national and international recognition because of his oratorio Das Weltgericht, which was the most performed contemporary work of its kind until Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s Paulus. Das Weltgericht was premiered at the Leipzig Gewandhaus on March 6, 1820, and was an absolute hit according to the report by music writer and composer Johann Friedrich Rochlitz in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung of March 15, 1820: “The general respect and excellent participation that the worthy, deserving man and artist [Schneider] has earned here, willingly united everything that could be united in order to bring the work to a perfect and also brilliant representation.” (“Die allgemeine Achtung und ausgezeichnete Theilnahme, die sich der werthe, verdiente Mann und Künstler [Schneider] hier erworben hat, vereinigte freywillig, was sich irgend vereinen liess, um das Werk zur vollkommenen und auch glänzenden Darstellung zu bringen.”) After the success in Leipzig, performances followed in Berlin, Quedlinburg, Prague, Dessau, Altenburg, Magdeburg, Frankfurt am Main, Vienna, Gera, Görlitz, Erfurt, Stuttgart and Cologne. According to a reviewer in the Berliner allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, “since Haydn’s composition of the Seasons no such significant work had emerged in the field of the oratorio.” (“Seit Haidn‘s Komposition der Jahreszeiten ist im Fache des Oratoriums kein so bedeutendes Werk hervorgegangen.”) The triumphant success of the Weltgericht also helped Schneider to the position of the Herzoglich Anhalt-Dessauischen Hofkapellmeister. …

Marcel Kraupp, Wien, Ostern 2023 (translation P.D.)


(Bruges, 7 April 1870 – Bruges, 29 June 1965)


Both in terms of origin and education, Joseph Ryelandt was somewhat of an outsider in the Flemish music scene. He came from a French-speaking family from the upper bourgeoisie in Bruges, and after studying philosophy in Namur and (for a few months) law in Leuven, he took private lessons with pianist-composer Edgar Tinel (1854-1912), the then director of the Mechelen Institute of Religious Music, later called the Lemmens Institute. So Ryelandt did not receive training at any of the Belgian conservatories. His wealthy background allowed him to devote himself exclusively to composing for almost 30 years – after his studies with Tinel until his appointment in 1924 as director of the Bruges Municipal Conservatory. Ryelandt remained in that position until 1945, with a small interruption during the war, and in the meantime also taught harmony and counterpoint at the Royal Conservatory of Ghent from 1929 to 1939.
From 1936 onwards, his compositional activity pretty much fell silent, and when, in his seventies, he took stock of his career in 1940, he wrote: ‘I think I’ve provided enough work in all fields to be able to say to myself that I haven’t been a useless servant of art. I have done what I could. The future will decide whether anything of this work will survive me to the greater glory of God.’
Ryelandt left behind an extensive body of work, much of which was religiously inspired. In addition to liturgical works, he also wrote the opera Caecila, oratorios with titles such as Purgatorium (1904), The Coming of the Lord (1906), Maria (1909), Agnus Dei (1914) and Christus Rex (1922), and cantatas such as Le bon pasteur (1912), Mors vita (1939) and Veni Creator (1939). His symphonic music is also religiously inspired, such as the symphonic poem Gethsemani (1905) or his Symphony No 4 in E-flat (1913) where the final chorus triumphantly sings of faith. …

Jan Dewilde
(translation: Jasmien Dewilde)

This score was edited by Stijn Saveniers based on the autograph manuscript and published in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Flemish Music (www.svm.be).

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