Henri-Jacques De Croes – VI concerti opera prima (1734)
(Antwerp, 19 September 1705 – Brussels, 16 August 1786)
Henri-Jacques De Croes was born on 19 September 1705 in Antwerp. Little is known about his musical education. It is known that in his native city he was apprenticed to Josephus Guillielmus Soussé (Antwerp, 1676-1752) at St Andrew’s Church. Soussé was also singing master at St James’ Church, where De Croes was already appointed first violin at only 18 years old. A few years later his career as a violinist took a fast and international turn. In 1729 he entered the service of Prince Anselme-François of Thurn und Taxis and followed him to his main residence in Frankfurt, first as a violinist, later even as Kapellmeister.
However, he never lost contact with his native region. From various sources we can conclude he made frequent visits to Brussels. A simple reason for these visits could be that the princes of Thurn und Taxis had several European residences, including Brussels. Their city palace was located at the corner of today’s Petit Sablon and Rue de la Régence. However, De Croes probably also had another motivation for his frequent visits to Brussels. Since its annexation by the Austrian empire in 1713, the city had experienced unprecedented economic and cultural growth. Cultural activities were centred mainly in La Monnaie, the royal Court Chapel and the Collegiate Church of St Michael and St Gudula, but the streets were also bustling with activity: fireworks, carnival processions, parades. De Croes must have seen the interesting career opportunities, and he reached his goal. In 1744 he became first violinist at the Brussels Court Chapel under Charles of Lorraine, and two years later he even became Kapellmeister and music director. …
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