Emile Wambach – Andante appassionata pour cello et piano
(Arlon, 26 November 1854 – Antwerp, 6 May 1924)
Emile Wambach spent the First World War in exile with his family, first in the Netherlands and later in England, interrupted by a stay in France in 1918. The fact that he left the Royal Flemish Conservatoire in Antwerp, of which he had been the director since 1912, in the hands of temporary substitutes attracted a lot of criticism from the home front. His defenders pointed out that during his wartime exile Wambach did prove himself useful by participating as a violinist, pianist, organist and composer in numerous patriotic events and charity concerts for Belgian war victims, often in collaboration with other prominent Belgian cultural and political figures in exile. For those occasions he composed a series of songs and choral works that together form a musical war chronicle, as it were.
This Andante appassionata for cello and piano, which he completed in London on 27 January 1917, dates from that period. Here Wambach shows his most lyrical side with a passionate cantilena in the cello. He dedicated the work to ‘Monsieur E.F. Upward, affectueux souvenir’. It is not clear who is behind this dedication. Is it E.F. Upward who translated French verses by Charles d’Orléans and Pierre Corneille into English for the 1911 edition of two songs by Louis Nicole, published by the London publisher Stainer & Bell? Or is it Edward Finnimore Upward who, after a career as a headmaster, settled in London as a lawyer until his death in 1932? The data are lacking to identify the E.F. Upward of whom Wambach had such a fond memory.
The work was recorded on CD by cellist Beatrijs Schilders and pianist Urbain Boodts (Belgian composers of the Antwerp Conservatory, René Gailly CD87135, 1997 – duration 4’48”).
(translation: Jasmien Dewilde)
The autograph manuscript of the score is housed in the library of the Antwerp Royal Conservatoire (KVC SC 37.363/1-2) and was edited by Stijn Saveniers. This publication was created in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Flemish Music (www.svm.be).
Read full Flemish and German preface > HERE