Boeck, August de – Mélodies sur des poèmes francais for voice and piano (score & critical report / 2 volumes / first print)
(Merchtem, 9th May 1865 – 9th October 1937)
August De Boeck was one of Belgium’s leading composers in the first half of the last century. He became well-known with, among other works, five operas, including Winternachtsdroom (1902), Reinaert de Vos (1907-09) and La Route d’Émeraude (1913-1920). Furthermore he composed a number of brilliant symphonic works, cantatas, religious music, songs and a series of works for various instruments.
In De Boeck’s oeuvre his songs to French poems occupy a prominent place. They were written over a period of almost half a century, between 1889 and 1937. In these songs De Boeck succeeds in evoking deep emotions with an infallible melodic intuition and very personal harmonies. With simple means he sometimes achieves sublime results; an example of this is his song L’Église paysanne, which mostly became famous in a Dutch version by Maurits Sabbe. For a number of songs, such as the Cuisinier-songs, the Stances à Marylyse, La dernière lettre or the compelling C’est en toi, bien-aimé, he wrote beautifully detailed piano accompaniments. Yet one can tell that De Boeck was first and foremost an organist. This is evident, for instance, from the way he treats basses (sequences of octaves in Le Passant), or from the use of series of lying chords (in Crépuscule, On s’en allait dans la forêt, etc.). As a pupil of his friend Paul Gilson, De Boeck was above all a masterful orchestrator. Both had personal contacts with Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, who greatly appreciated their orchestral works. The colourful orchestral accompaniments De Boeck made for a number of his songs clearly illustrate this. …
Read full English / German and Flemish preface > HERE