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De Boeck’s first orchestral work, the ‘Dahomeyan Rhapsody’ (1893) is a colourful work, though more Russian than African in colour. In 1896 followed a symphony, which shows Borodin’s influence. Its first performance had to wait till 1921. In his retirement he wrote a violin concerto. The slow movement was found at his death and was occasionally performed. In the 1950’s the outer movements emerged. The piece is really a romantic virtuoso concerto in classical style. The compositions mentioned have been recorded for the Marco Polo label (CD no. 8.223740) and are now available on Naxos (CD no. 8.553604).
Introduction: Although hardly known outside Belgium, the works of Auguste De Boeck merit attention.
Life: De Boeck worked as an organist in several Belgian villages and cities, from Merchtem to Brussels. He was also a teacher at the conservatories of Antwerp, Brussels and Mechlin. As a composer he was influenced by the works of the Russian composers which were regularly performed in the 1880’s at the ‘Concerts Populaires’. Although he wrote mainly operas, operettas and ballet music, he is now best remembered for his orchestral music. Auguste de Boeck died in retirement in his native village.