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Arthur Meulemans

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Arthur Meulemans


Arthur Meulemans (9 May 1884, Aarschot – 29 June 1966, Brussels) was a Belgian composer.

When he was sixteen he enrolled at the Lemmens Institute in Mechelen, where he studied organ with Oscar Depuydt, and was taught counterpoint, fugue and composition by the Institute’s director Edgard Tinel. It was, however, his teacher of harmony, Aloys Desmet, who opened his eyes and ears to the latest scores of Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler and especially those of Claude Debussy. The startling harmonic audacity of the latter and his revolutionary orchestration technique would leave their marks on Meulemans’ future composition.

Meulemans wrote his first works, mainly songs and song cycles on Flemish words, in 1902 when he was still a student at the Lemmensschool. From then on, music in almost every genre literally flowed from his pen. His first breakthrough was his Cantate Jubilaire (1905) of which he conducted three performances with some critical success. With more than 350 works to his credit, Arthur Meulemans belongs not only qualitatively, but also quantitatively among the most important Flemish composers from the first half of the twentieth century. Roughly one third of his list of works are orchestral pieces, including no less than fifteen symphonies, more than forty concertante works for piano, organ and nearly every instrument in the orchestra, except the double bass and the tuba, and a wealth of symphonic poems, suites, concertos, overtures, variations, and so on. An incredible amount of this orchestral work was written between 1930 and 1942, when Meulemans was conductor of the large symphonic orchestra of the Institut National de Radiodiffusion, the then National Radio Orchestra of Belgium.

Works for Winds