Cuypers, Jozef 


Cuypers, Jozef 

Rapsoid, Irish rhapsody for pianoforte (first print)


Jozef Cuypers – Rapsoid, Irish rhapsody for pianoforte

(Aarschot, 14 December 1899 – Newbridge, 30 January 1978)

(ca. 1937)

After receiving his first music lessons from composer and organist Herman Meulemans, Jozef Cuypers studied organ and composition at the Higher Institute for Church Music (the Lemmens Institute) in Mechelen with composers Oscar Depuydt, also an excellent organist, Lodewijk Mortelmans and Jules Van Nuffel. After obtaining his final degree in 1922, like many Flemish organists he left for Ireland in 1923, which at the time had a shortage of church organists and music teachers. Ireland was struggling to recover from the ‘Cogadh Cathartha na hÉireann’, the civil war that tore the country apart and that lasted from 28 June 1922 until 24 May 1923.

Cuypers became master of the choristers and organist of the Dominican convent in Newbridge and also a music teacher at the monastery’s college. As chapel master he wrote liturgical music, such as motets and the often performed Mass in D for four-voice choir and organ, which he dedicated to Jules Van Nuffel in 1949. With songs to texts by Guido Gezelle and Alice Nahon, among others, he also maintained ties with Flanders. However, he also became fascinated by Irish folk music. He composed successful piano arrangements of Irish songs that the government published in three volumes in the years 1937-1939.
In other compositions he incorporated Irish folk music as well, or was inspired by Irish themes, such as the piano piece Dublin-Bay in summerlight, published in 1934 by Éditions Modernes (Maison Georges Vriamont) in Brussels, with a cover illustration by René Magritte.

In his three-part Rapsoid, published by Éditions Modernes in 1937, he also incorporated folk songs, such as the popular The sailor’s hornpipe (also known as The college hornpipe and Jack’s the lad). This traditional melody also appears in Henry Wood’s Fantasia on British folk songs (1905).
Rapsoid became one of Cuypers’ most popular works and was recorded by Renata Cosse for the NIR on 16 September 1952.

Duration: ca. 12’40”

Jan Dewilde
(translation: Jasmien Dewilde)

This edition is a facsimile of a score from the library of the Antwerp Royal Conservatoire (KVC 232.603) and was published in collaboration with the Study Centre for Flemish Music (


Full German and Flemish preface > HERE

Score No.

Special Edition






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