Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us


Ego Flos (Cant. 2:1) for mixed choir (Poem by Guido Gezelle translated from the Flemish by Paul Claes and Christine D'haen)
Concerto per la beata Vergine for oboe and mixed choir
Eight Japanese Folk-Songs arranged for mixed choir and baritone solo
Nausikaä - Cantata for youth choir, soprano, baritone, flute and piano

Els Crommen, soprano; Jan van der Crabben, baritone (Nausikaä);
Philippe Souvagie, baritone (Folk-Songs); Joost Gils, oboe; Lieve Schuermans, flute; Hans Ryckelynck, piano; The Flemish Radio Choir, cond. Johan Duijck

In Flanders Fields Vol. 35 [Phaedra 92035 67 mins]


This CD caught my attention amongst a batch from Phaedra, received just before attending the 50th Cork International Choral Festival, at which Vic Nees' music was to be heard. He is a distinguished Flemish composer, born 1936, who specialises in writing for non-professional choirs, and is expert in judging the possibilities and respecting the boundaries (another comparable figure is Jaakko Mäntyjärvi whom I got to know at and since the 48th Cork Festival - do follow those two links!)

Everything is superbly crafted, mainly tonal but original and fresh. The oboe concerto with choir is surely unique, but triumphantly successful - other composers who come across it might echo Brahms, who said that he too would have written a cello concerto if only he had known it was possible before hearing Dvorak's. Oboists who have friends in the choral world (which is a little apart from the mainstream concert world) should beat a path to persuade conductors to programme this oboe concerto. It sets three songs of Marian praise, created 'on the basis of the lyrics'; the oboe sometimes accompanies, at other times is independent and the overall effect is a rich one. The Japanes folk-songs, for Osaka, succeeds in combining Eastern pentatonic monody with Western harmonic and contrapuntal elements. Nausikaä for youth choir treats the helpful rescue of Odysseus, with accompaniment by piano and a part for solo flute.


© Peter Grahame Woolf