Hyperion Records

Jongen, Joseph (1873-1953)  

Joseph Jongen

born: 14 December 1873
died: 12 July 1953
country: Belgium

EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In a biographical pamphlet published by J & W Chester in 1922, Lord Berners described Joseph Jongen as a composer whose music had ‘remarkable lyric charm and dramatic power’. That acute summary of his musical language makes his neglect all the more puzzling. If Jongen is known at all, it is largely through his finely crafted organ music, rather than his substantial output for orchestra or his chamber music (including three fine string quartets). Born in Liège on 14 December 1873, his father was a cabinet-maker and wood-carver who specialized in church furnishings. But he was also a keen amateur musician (he had studied the trombone in his youth), who had encountered the best music Paris had to offer when he spent six months there in 1867. Jongen began to study the piano when he was seven years old, and his teacher (who was organist of Saint-Jacques in Liège) soon encouraged him to take up the organ as well. Jongen continued his studies at the Conservatoire in Liège while still singing in the choirs of several churches. His time at the Liège Conservatoire was formative, with his first chance to hear Eugène Ysaÿe, and visits to the city by composer–conductors such as Vincent d’Indy and Richard Strauss.

Jongen was a brilliant student and had already started to demonstrate his gifts as a composer in his early teens. In 1897 he won the Belgian Prix de Rome, which gave him the chance to study in Italy and to travel. He made the most of this opportunity, setting out first for Berlin in 1898, where the concerts conducted by Arthur Nikisch and Felix Weingartner made a lasting impression, as did performances of Strauss’s Heldenleben (conducted by the composer) and Jongen’s first hearing of Brahms’s Violin Concerto, played by Joseph Joachim. One of his grandest works from this period was a symphony, written under the influence of Strauss’s tone poems. He took it to Strauss and was delighted to be welcomed warmly and taken seriously, recalling later that Strauss’s comments were ‘like beams of light, as if a thick curtain had been lifted from my eyes’.

from notes by Nigel Simeone © 2015

Albums
'Jongen & Peeters: Choral Music' (CDA67603)
Jongen & Peeters: Choral Music
'Jongen: Violin Concerto; Lazzari: Rapsodie' (CDA68005)
Jongen: Violin Concerto; Lazzari: Rapsodie
CDA68005  5 January 2015 Release  
'Concert Pieces for Organ' (CDA66265)
Concert Pieces for Organ
MP3 £5.25FLAC £5.25ALAC £5.25Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66265  Archive Service   Download currently discounted
'Organ Fireworks, Vol. 11' (CDA67577)
Organ Fireworks, Vol. 11
MP3 £4.00FLAC £4.00ALAC £4.00Buy by post £10.50 CDA67577  Download currently discounted
'Peeters & Jongen: Choral Music' (CDA67603)
Peeters & Jongen: Choral Music
'Smörgasbord' (CDA67184)
Smörgasbord
Complete works available for download
Adagio symphonique in B major, Op 20 Philippe Graffin (violin), Royal Flemish Philharmonic, Martyn Brabbins (conductor)   January 2015 Release
Deus Abraham, W150 Peter Morton (tenor), Thomas Gould (violin), Paul Provost (organ)
Fantasia in E major, Op 12 Philippe Graffin (violin), Royal Flemish Philharmonic, Martyn Brabbins (conductor)   January 2015 Release
Habanera, Op 86 Mats Lidström (cello), Bengt Forsberg (piano)
Improvisation-Caprice, Op 37 No 2 Nicolas Kynaston (organ)
Messe en l'honeur du Saint-Sacrement, Op 130 St John's College Choir Cambridge, London City Brass, Paul Provost (organ), David Hill (conductor)
Sonata eroïca, Op 94 Christopher Herrick (organ)
Toccata pour grand orgue in D flat, Op 104 Nicolas Kynaston (organ)
Valse Mats Lidström (cello), Bengt Forsberg (piano)
Violin Concerto in B minor, Op 17 Philippe Graffin (violin), Royal Flemish Philharmonic, Martyn Brabbins (conductor)   January 2015 Release
Alphabetical listing of all musical works
Adagio symphonique in B major, Op 20 (Jongen)
Deus Abraham, W150 (Jongen)
Deux Motets, W71 (Jongen)
Fantasia in E major, Op 12 (Jongen)
Habanera, Op 86 (Jongen)
Improvisation-Caprice, Op 37 No 2 (Jongen)
Messe en l'honeur du Saint-Sacrement, Op 130 (Jongen)
Pie Jesu  No 1 of Deux Motets, W71 (Jongen)
Quid sum miser?  No 1 of Trois Motets, W99 (Jongen)
Sonata eroïca, Op 94 (Jongen)
Toccata pour grand orgue in D flat, Op 104 (Jongen)
Trois Motets, W99 (Jongen)
Valse (Jongen)
Violin Concerto in B minor, Op 17 (Jongen)
Show: MP3 FLAC ALAC
   English   Français   Deutsch