Notes and Editorial Reviews
François-Auguste Gevaert was born in 1828 and died in December 1908 : an opportunity to celebrate the centenary of a great historical figure, whose influence was no less important than that of Fétis. Muscial director of the Opéra de Paris before the Franco Prussian war, he became the director of the Conservatoire royal de Bruxelles and chapel master of King Léopold II in 1871. Until his death, Gevaert will dominate 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 (including his translations of Riemann), references for 19th century musicology, contributed to drive into oblivion his musical work. His Christmas harmonisations are however admirable pieces of harmonic and contrapuntal craftsmanship and his Grand'Messe de Noël « Puer Natus est nobis » en musique polyphone pour voix de femmes et orgue, written shortly before his death for basilica Notre-Dame de la Treille in Lille, is a masterpiece of surprising flavour. The Ensemble vocal du Petit-Sablon, directed by Thibaut Lenaerts, wholeheartedly embraces this music, with its impressive degree of perfection, to extract its delicious substance!