In the first half of the twentieth century, the Lemmensinstitute (at that time still in Mechelen), published a scientific journal titled 'Musica Sacra'. In this journal, they included new compositions by contemporary composers. Chief editor Jules Van Nuffel contacted his most excellent fellow composers to write these supplements.
After taking over these publications, we are delighted to present you the first new editions! We have completely remade the publication, including a beautiful brand new cover designed by our artist Stefaan Vermeulen, we corrected errors in the old editions and had new translations made from all the Latin texts by Beatrijs De Schutter. As such, we think these editions are without a doubt an interesting addition to every choral library!
You can check the entire collection using this link.
O quam suavis est/O sacrum convivium – Marinus de Jong
Rosa vernans – Marinus de Jong
Marinus de Jong (1891-1984) was a Dutch composer who studied at the Antwerp conservatory, became teacher at the Lemmensinstitute and later on at the conservatory as well where he taught piano, counterpoint and fugue. His compositions fit perfectly within the Flemish-romantic style of his colleagues, but also show influences from early music (gregorian chant) as well as from 20th century music.
His O quam suavis was met with great enthusiasm during the repertoire session in the Lemmeninstituut's chapel last year. The vocally pleasant melodic lines, together with the rich and beautiful harmony, make this uncomplicated piece into a true gem. This work has been written, just like O sacrum convivium, for two equal or mixed voices, with organ accompaniment.
Rosa vernans, also a beautiful and easy piece, was written for two equal voices and organ.
Cantate Domino – Staf Nees
Cantate Domino by Staf Nees (1901-1965), father of composer Vic Nees, is something totally different from the two pieces by Marinus de Jong. The sweet melodies make way for an elated and bombastic piece, supported by an impressive organ part. This makes the piece a joy to sing and perform! It is very clear that this composer knew as well, how to write pleasant melodies for a human voice. Making use of easy to listen to themes and motifs, the composer wrote some music that will stick in your audience's ear for a long time. This composition was written for two equal voices (soprano and alto) with organ accompaniment.
Ipsi sum desponsata – Flor Peeters
We return back to the more introvert music, written by internationally renowned organist and composer Flor Peeters (1903-1986). In Ipsi sum desponsata he uses a very recognisable rondo form (refrain and strophes), which allows the piece to be learned quickly by any choir. The instrumentation consists of two equal voices and organ, preferably two high (ladies or youth) voices. True to his nature as an organist, Peeters wrote a beautiful, flowing accompaniment that mostly follows the two voices closely, but leaves the vocal parts from time to time to fill in with some beautiful intermissions. The sound is a typical romantic sound that we know from Peeters' early works and his contemporaries.
O felicem virum – Father Hilonius Servaes o.f.m.
For every new publication in this series, we try to include at least the dates of birth and death of each composer. For some noble unknown composers this is a lot harder than for others. Thankfully, the Fransiscan monks are very helpful and so we did eventually manage to gather some information on Hilonius Servaes (1916-2009) who composed and taught harmony, piano and organ. His O felicem virum was written for two equal voices and organ, and is a prayer to Joseph as a father to newborn Jesus. This is another gem in the Musica Sacra-catalogue. Very romantic in its sound, with a very modest character, but most important of all breathtakingly beautiful.
Duo Motetta – Charles Decapmaker
Charles Decapmaker (1900-1968) wrote these two motets for boy's choir and organ. The first one, Virgo Dei Genitrix, consists of three strophes and has two voices. The second, Virgo Parens Christi, consists of strophes and refrains. Only the refrain of this piece has two voices, the rest of it is sung in unison. Decapmaker uses very beautiful and colourful chords in this music, that show influences of 20th century music in his otherwise very romantic style. Both pieces are very different, but most certainly beautiful.
Ave Maria – Arthur Meulemans
Last, but (certainly) not least, of course Arthur Meulemans (1884-1966) is included as well. This composer is without a doubt one of the most famous from the Musica Sacra series. Together with Lodewijk Mortelmans, Lodewijk De Vocht, Jef Van Hoof and Gaston Feremans, he is sometimes considered part of the Flemish 'Mighty Handful'. Apart from his big orchestral works, he also wrote a lot of choral music. One of these pieces is the Ave Maria, for equal voices and organ. Homophonic parts are alternated with imitating parts above a moving organ accompaniment that ripples on. A very touching, beautiful piece that every choir will enjoy without a doubt.