Ryelandt, Joseph


Ryelandt, Joseph

Quatuor n° 2 en fa mineur op. 36 (score and parts / first print)


Joseph Ryelandt – Quatuor n° 2 en fa minor op. 36

(Bruges, 7 April 1870 – Bruges, 29 June 1965)


Both in terms of origin and education, Joseph Ryelandt was somewhat of an outsider in the Flemish music scene. He came from a French-speaking family from the upper bourgeoisie in Bruges, and after studying philosophy in Namur and (for a few months) law in Leuven, he took private lessons with pianist-composer Edgar Tinel (1854-1912), the then director of the Mechelen Institute of Religious Music, later called the Lemmens Institute. So Ryelandt did not receive training at any of the Belgian conservatories. His wealthy background allowed him to devote himself exclusively to composing for almost 30 years – after his studies with Tinel until his appointment in 1924 as director of the Bruges Municipal Conservatory. Ryelandt remained in that position until 1945, with a small interruption during the war, and in the meantime also taught harmony and counterpoint at the Royal Conservatory of Ghent from 1929 to 1939.
From 1936 onwards, his compositional activity pretty much fell silent, and when, in his seventies, he took stock of his career in 1940, he wrote: ‘I think I’ve provided enough work in all fields to be able to say to myself that I haven’t been a useless servant of art. I have done what I could. The future will decide whether anything of this work will survive me to the greater glory of God.’
Ryelandt left behind an extensive body of work, much of which was religiously inspired. In addition to liturgical works, he also wrote the opera Caecila, oratorios with titles such as Purgatorium (1904), The Coming of the Lord (1906), Maria (1909), Agnus Dei (1914) and Christus Rex (1922), and cantatas such as Le bon pasteur (1912), Mors vita (1939) and Veni Creator (1939). His symphonic music is also religiously inspired, such as the symphonic poem Gethsemani (1905) or his Symphony No 4 in E-flat (1913) where the final chorus triumphantly sings of faith. Ryelandt also composed songs (to texts by the Bruges priest and poet Guido Gezelle, among others), piano music and chamber music, including five string quartets, two of which he destroyed however (of the destroyed quartet in A, he did keep the Adagio as opus 13).
The Quatuor n° 2 en fa mineur op. 36, according to a note after the last bar, Ryelandt completed it on 3 July 1903 in Orchimont, a rural village in the province of Namur, where his in-laws owned a country house. He had the work performed at his home on 17 December 1903 by first violinist August Vander Looven (1873-1936), second violinist Oscar De Busschere (1872-1953), altoist Théo dela Rivière (1878-1957) and cellist Adolphe De Vlaemynck (1877-1969). Together with the pianist Jules Van Dycke (1877-1957), they formed the Bruges quintet, to which Ryelandt dedicated his second string quartet. The house concert also featured works by Beethoven, Boccherini and Brahms. Remarkably, in the final movement of this classically constructed and romantically inspired quartet, Ryelandt incorporated the folk song Langs een groen heidetje (Along a small green meadow), a song that was also included in Chants populaires flamands avec les airs notés et poésies populaires diverses recueillies à Bruges by Adolphe Lootens and J.M.E. Feys (Bruges, 1879).

Jan Dewilde
(translation: Jasmien Dewilde)

This score was edited by Stijn Saveniers based on the autograph manuscript and published in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Flemish Music (www.svm.be).



Flemish preface / Deutsches Vorwort lesen> HERE

Score No.


Special Edition


Chamber Music





First print


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