Impromptu in a, opus 6 & Caprice in f, opus 8 for piano solo
(Antwerp, 11 August 1830 – 3 March 1901)
Impromptu in A minor, opus 6
Caprice in F minor, opus 8
The musical life of Joseph Callaerts revolved around the organ. He was a respected composer, performer and improviser, and enjoyed a great reputation as a teacher. He maintained an active local and international concert life, received several awards, was given important composition assignments, functioned as a jury member in many competitions, and was often invited to inaugurate new organs. In 1892, he was granted the medal of “Knight in the Order of Leopold”. His compositions were widely appreciated during his lifetime, but their popularity decreased from the first decades of the twentieth century onwards.
Callaerts was trained as a choirboy in the Antwerp Cathedral of our Lady, under Kapellmeister Guillaume J. J. Kennis and choirmaster Corneel Schermers. Later, he was apprenticed to composer and violinist Henri Simon, and composer, pianist, pedagogue and author Edouard Grégoir. From 1850, he served as organist for the Jesuits in Antwerp. During his formal education at the Brussels Conservatory with Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens, he was already granted the position of organist of the Antwerp Cathedral. In 1963, the post of city carilloneur was added, and in 1867 he was appointed as organ teacher (and later practical harmony teacher) in Peter Benoit’s Antwerp Flemish Music School, which was to become the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp in 1898. Jan Blockx, Emile Wambach, Willem De Latin and Lodewijk Mortelmans were some of his notable students.
Besides a large number of organ works, including a concerto, Callaerts composed piano and chamber music, choral works and cantatas, songs, orchestral works, music for wind orchestra and brass band, an opera-comique, and a lot of liturgical music, such as motets, litanies, and masses. Callaerts has a traditionalist composer profile. Unlike his contemporary Peter Benoit, he did not search for innovative forms and did not aspire to convey a political or social message with his music…
by Liselotte Sels
Read full preface (also Flemish preface) > HERE