Caroline Weynants (soprano),Thibaut Lenaerts (tenor), Sophie Hallynck (harp); Nico Declerck (harmonium) & Xavier Deprez (Coppin & Van Bever organ Braine-l'Alleud, Saint-Sébastien)
Ensemble vocal Le Petit Sablon, Thibaut Lenaerts (director)
François-Auguste Gevaert was born in 1828 and died in December 1908: an opportunity to celebrate the centenary of a lesser-known historical figure. Musical director of the Opéra de Paris before the Franco- Prussian war, he became the director of the Brussels Conservatoire and chapel master to King Léopold II in 1871. Until his death, Gevaert dominated the Belgian musical scene, attracting famous teachers and pupils, from Isaac Albeniz to Eugène Ysaÿe, including Paul Gilson and Arnold Dolmetsch.The widespread influence of his theoretical work, references for 19th century musicology, contributed to drive his own compositions into oblivion. His Christmas harmonisations are, however, admirable pieces of harmonic and contrapuntal craftsmanship and his Grand'Messe de Noël Puer Natus est nobis, written shortly before his death for basilica Notre-Dame de la Treille in Lille, is a masterpiece.