Vanden Berghe, Philippe


Vanden Berghe, Philippe

Pier-Lala, Fantaisie pour Piano, opus 24 / Allegro Agitato pour Piano, opus 28


Philippe Vanden Berghe
(Menen, 8 December 1822 – Menen, 5 January 1885)

Pier-Lala, Fantaisie pour Piano, opus 24

Allegro Agitato pour Piano, opus 28

Philippe Vanden Berghe was born into a wealthy family of landowners and investors, some of whom were involved in local politics. By the age of thirty, Vanden Berghe himself was able to live off his private means. Circa 1853 he married Leonie Louise Mulle from Ypres, with whom he had eight children. He held public positions as a member and chairman of boards and associations in Menen, Kortrijk and Roeselare, in which he pursued a conservative policy. Three years before his death, he suddenly retired from public life for unknown reasons.

Although he did not receive formal musical education, Vanden Berghe was trained in violin, piano, organ and composition. He went to Namur to study with local musicians, such as the conductors Paul Wilbrant and Schröder. According to his friend Edouard Gregoir, a composer, pianist and musicographer, he maintained relationships with famous piano virtuosos such as the Austrian Henri Herz (1806-1888), the Swiss Sigismund Thalberg (1812-1871), the Czech Jules Schulhoff (1825-1898), and the German Ferdinand Hiller (1811-1885), with whom he was said to have studied counterpoint.

As a composer, Vanden Berghe absorbed the trends of his time. Stylistically, he can be situated at the crossroads of French and German influences. Melodious virtuosity is sustained by a harmonic-contrapuntal structure. Chromaticism, ongoing modulations, and typically romantic harmonic ornaments are widely present.

A significant part of his oeuvre, in particular his piano and organ work, was published, partly on his own, but also by established companies such as Gevaert (Ghent), Breitkopf & Härtel (Leipzig) and Richault (Paris). Vanden Berghe’s piano compositions include two concerts (opuses 21 and 38), concert etudes, fantasies on other compositions and folk songs, danses modernes, and many character pieces. For organ he wrote, among other works, études de genre and versets. In addition, Gregoir lists several unpublished works, including masses, motets, a Te Deum, psalms, and cantatas.


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