Vandenbosch, Pierre Joseph


Vandenbosch, Pierre Joseph

Quatre sonates pour le clavecin, avec un violon et basse ad libitum, opus 5



Pierre Joseph Vandenbosch – Four sonatas
for harpsichord, with violin and bass ad libitum, opus 5

(Vandenbosch: Hoboken, 1736 – Antwerp, 19 February 1803)

In 1765, the composer, organist, harpsichordist and music teacher Pierre Joseph Vandenbosch succeeded the priest and musician Dieudonné Raick (1703-1764) as the organist of the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp. This was an important position and it is very unlikely that this was the first position Vandenbosch ever held. However, it is not known whether he used to play the organ before, nor who his teachers were. Vandenbosch would go on to play the organ for more than thirty years, until the French Directorate closed the churches in 1797. According to Edouard Grégoir, he displayed ‘une habilité étonnante sur la pédale’ (‘an astonishing dexterity of the pedal’). However, Vandenbosch did not limit himself to the organ. He became one of the most influential musicians in Antwerp. Grégoir called him ‘le factotum des amateurs et de l’élite de la noblesse, musicalement parlant’ (‘the factotum of amateurs and the elite of the nobility, musically speaking’). He also often acted as an accompanist. Also according to Grégoir, his influence was such that he determined whether a touring musician was allowed to perform in Antwerp or not, and during concerts he acted as a ‘chef de claque’, who decided whether a performer would be successful or not. As a frequently requested teacher Vandenbosch presumably led a very comfortable life and ended up living of his private means. This might explain why it appears that he did not compose anything in the last twenty years of his life.

For the musical explorer Charles Burney (1726-1814) Vandenbosch was pretty much the only bright spot during his visit of Antwerp in 1772. Burney wrote the following: ‘The organist at present is M. Vanden Bosch, he is a spirited and masterly player. (…) While that part of the service, which succeeded this procession, was performing, I went up into the organ-loft, and was very politely treated by the organist, M. Vanden Bosch, who is a man of considerable merit in his profession; his style of playing is modern, and he is very dexterous in the use of the pedals. This instrument of Notre Dame, contains upwards of fifty stops, and has a full compass; it has been built about a hundred and fifty years, and would be well toned, if it were in tune. After church, I went home with M. Vanden Bosch, who was so obliging as to shew me his instruments and books. Several compositions for the harpsichord of this master have been engraved at Paris; he has a very good taste, and great fire, both in writing and playing.’


Read full preface, also Flemish preface > HERE

Score Data

Special Edition

The Flemish Music Collection


Chamber Music


225 x 320 mm




Performance Score



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