Jef Van Hoof – Introduction for brass
(Antwerp, 8 May, 1886 – Antwerp, 24 April, 1959)
In 1930 composer-conductor Jef Van Hoof founded the Antwerp Brass Ensemble, which consisted of eleven brass players (five trumpeters, five trombonists, one tuba player) and a percussionist. With this ensemble he performed both newly composed works and arrangements, but the ensemble was also a suitable medium to accompany choirs and mass singing at all kinds of open air events.
For brass ensemble Van Hoof wrote such works as Ritmische suite (1923), Zes oproepen op Vlaamse volksliederen (1930), Sinfonietta (1932) (Repertoire Explorer. The Flemish Music Collection, nr. 522) and Oproep I-IV (ca. 1955). In addition he also composed liturgical works with accompaniment of brass ensemble, such as his Missa de Deo (1936) for choir, brass ensemble and percussion (nicknamed the Copper Mass) and a Te Deum (1949) for the same ensembles.
Van Hoof’s Antwerp Brass Ensemble was popular and was immortalised by visual artists such as Alfred Ost (1884-1945) and Stef Vanstiphout (1931-1995). The caricatural representation by Vanstiphout was printed at the front of this score.
The genesis of this Introduction for brass is not entirely clear. Van Hoof probably wrote this work as an overture for the mass play Kruis en Ploeg (Cross and Plough) that was performed in 1952 on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Boeren- en Boerinnenjeugdbond (Union of Peasant Youth). This organisation (now known as Katholieke Landelijke Jeugd (Catholic Rural Youth)) was a subdivision of the Belgische Boerenbond (Belgian Farmers’ Union) and was engaged in socio-cultural training and creative leisure activities among young people in the agricultural sector.
The text for Kruis en ploeg was written by playwright and stage director Anton Van de Velde (1895-1983), who also directed it. The mass play was performed in various places in Flanders between 22 June and 20 July 1952.
In addition to – more than likely – this introduction, Van Hoof also wrote some pieces for brass ensemble for this mass play, including two marches. But only this Introduction for brass was published by de Crans publishers in 1970; the autographic manuscript is kept in the Letterenhuis in Antwerp (nr. 98.358).
The songs that were sung during the mass play were written by Flor Peeters, Hendrik Thyssen, August De Boeck, Arthur Verhoeven, Ignace De Sutter, Jules Vyverman and Paul François.
(translation: Jasmien Dewilde)
– Luc Leytens, Thematische catalogus van de werken van Jef Van Hoof, Brussels, Paleis der Academiën, 1994, pp. 367-373.
– Mark Liebrecht, Met Jef Van Hoof onder één hoed, Merksem, Westland, 1965.
This score was published in collaboration with the Study Centre for Flemish Music (www.svm.be) and is a reprint of a copy from the library of the Antwerp Royal Conservatoire (KVC 254.829).
Read Flemish and German preface > HERE