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Muziek-warande: tijdschrift voor muziekminnende Vlamingen

(Brussels, 1922-1932)

Prepared by Johan Eckeloo
Online only (2012)

The Dutch-language music periodical Muziek-Warande (MUZ) [Musical pleasure ground] was published in Brussels from January 1922 to December 1931. A subtitle, added in 1923, Tijdschrift voor muziekminnende Vlamingen [Periodical for music loving Flemings] makes clear that the journal targeted the Dutch-speaking population of Belgium. In 1929 another subtitle was added, showing affiliation with the National Association for Copyright, the Officieel Orgaan der Nationale Vereeniging voor Auteursrecht (NAVEA) [Official Organ of the National Association for Copyright]. MUZ was published monthly, from 1927 to its demise. Issues are twenty-four pages in length with continuous page numbers for each year. The August-September issues were published as double issues. MUZ is written in an archaic spelling of the Dutch language, in which compound names such as “Beethovenconcert” are used, despite official Dutch spelling rules, which specify use a hyphen between the two nouns, for example, “Beethoven-concert.”

Muziek-Warande is printed in an oblong format of 17 by 24 cm. Each number has a cover of dark brown paper of a thick quality, with the cover text printed in green ink. Each cover contains a list of contributors and a photograph of the musician to whom the main article is devoted. The picture, often in sepia tones, is manually glued on the cover. Illustrations are infrequent, and when present, are generally of poor reproduction quality, owing to the halftone printing. All advertisements, printed on thin, coloured sheets of paper, are positioned at the front and the back sections of the issues.

The general editor of Muziek-Warande is Emiel Hullebroeck (1878-1985), an active conductor, educator and composer of songs and operettas. Hullebroeck toured the Flanders with “song evenings,” a combination of a lecture and community singing. Strongly engaged in the Flemish movement, Hullebroeck was sympathetic towards the social acceptance of the artist. His ideas as general editor are described as “lifting up the people’s level at one side, promoting Flemish music, and emphasizing the vocal genres, at the other.” When the periodical becomes the representative organ of the National Association for Copyright in 1929, the latter is compatible with Hullebroeck’s social engagement.

An important contributor is Lambrecht Lambrechts (1865-1932), a literary man, the ideal mediator between the worlds of music and literature. His presence explains why Muziek-Warande pays great attention to vocal music, for, almost every issue includes a poem suitable for a musical setting. In addition, there are roughly twenty other collaborators, performing musicians and musicologists, whose names are invariably printed on the journal’s cover. Every Flemish province is represented by a local contributor. Furthermore, there are several foreign correspondents, for example, Jos de Klerk and Willem Zonderland in the Netherlands, Staf Gebruers in Ireland and Jaap Kunst in the Dutch East Indies.

Each issue is composed of several articles followed by shorter collections of miscellaneous notes and reviews. All issues begin with a biographical sketch of an important Flemish or internationally recognized musician, preceded by the cover page photograph or lithograph of the musician under consideration. Occasionally a complete issue studies various aspects of a single composer. The greatest number of sketches deal with local Flemish composers, conductors and pedagogues including Paul Gilson, Johan Wagenaar, Flor Alpaerts, Peter Benoit, Edgar Tinel, and Frans-August Gevaert. Sketches of musicians in the generally accepted canon of great musicians, include Musorgsky, Saint-Saëns, Franck, Mahler, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert and Smetana, among others, while sketches of twentieth-century musicians deal with Honegger, Léhar, Pfitzner, Toscanini, Mengelberg, Alexander Tcherepnin, Elgar and Prokofiev. Other studies are about musical criticism, analysis of compositional materials (harmony and counterpoint), analyses of actual compositions including identification of motives and discussion of formal treatment. There are also more reflective articles in which points of interest are musical style, copyright and social stature of the musician. Occasionally a complete piece of music, associated with the discussion of a musician’s works, is included. An obituary section gives many short sketches of both well-known and lesser-known musicians.

Important columns are reviews of concerts, mixed news about musical life in Belgium, Holland and of foreign countries, many copied from local publications including Noord-Nederlandsche Muziek Kronijk [Chronicle of the North Netherlands] and the Muzieknieuwsjes [Music news]. Het hoekje voor de beiaardier [The corner for the carillon player] is interesting as Flanders is an important region for carillon art, its lyrics, repertory and anecdotes. Reviews of published music are extensive and regularly encountered. There are also many citations – from witticisms to aphorisms – interspersed throughout the periodical, doubtless used to fill up empty spaces, but also to reveal the mission of the periodical. The periodical pays attention to the novelties of the twentieth century, such as radio broadcasting, gramophone recordings and the beginnings of sound films. From 1927 gramophone records are reviewed, and this new medium seems to be accepted, but the breakthrough of the sound film industry is left open to question.