Vanden Berghe, Philippe

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Vanden Berghe, Philippe

Rondo capriccioso pour piano, opus 25

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Philippe Vanden Berghe

(Menen, 8 December 1822 – Menen, 5 January 1885)

Rondo capriccioso pour piano, opus 25 (1855 or earlier)

Philippe Vanden Berghe was born into a wealthy family of landowners and investors, some of whom displayed political activity. Vanden Berghe became a person of private means when he was thirty years old. About 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 course. Three years before his death, he suddenly retired from public life for unknown reasons.

Although he did not get formal music 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, who was 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 is 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-counterpoint structure. Chromatic elements, typically romantic harmonic ornaments, and ongoing modulation 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). His piano compositions include two concerts (opus 21 and 38), concert etudes, fantasies on other compositions and folk songs, danses modernes, and character pieces. For organ he wrote, among other works, études de genre and versets. In addition, Gregoir lists several unpublished works, such as masses, motets, a Te Deum, psalms, and cantatas.

The Rondo capriccioso in D minor was published in Ghent by Gevaert, and dedicated to the wife of Léopold Crépin, chief engineer of bridges and roads in West Flanders, who would become known for his role in the urban development of Ostend. The Rondo is mentioned in the 1855 Journal de la librairie. It is a virtuoso, toccata-like work with a chasing pace. The piece abounds in modulations, sequences and circles of fifths – typical features of Vanden Berghes style.

After a moderato introduction, lively in pace and dynamics but mild and gentle, the rondo theme (presto) is presented fortissimo con brio. Throughout the first three pages, the characteristic staccato theme of parallel thirds placed upon a repeated bass manifests itself in different keys. A second theme in A minor (piano scherzando, canto marcato) is characterized by a longer continuous line, and then further elaborated. Consequently, the main theme returns in its original key and dynamics, and is repeated several times at intervals. It then appears in a new shape and texture, followed by a repetition of the second theme. The virtuoso coda gives the tempo a final boost.

Liselotte Sels

Reprint of a copy from the library of the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp (KVC 54.528). This score was published in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Flemish Music (www.svm.be) and Labo XIX&XX, a research group of the library of the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp.

 

 

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Score No.

2543

Special Edition

The Flemish Music Collection

Genre

Solo Instrument

Size

225 x 320 mm

Printing

Reprint

Pages

20