JOSEPH RYELANDT a cultural biography by DAVID VERGAUWEN.
Today, fin-de-siècle Bruges is known especially for the poetry of Guido Gezelle, the novels by Georges Rodenbach and the paintings by Fernand Khnopff. Lesser known is the composer who also worked there and who around 1900 would become one of Belgium’s most important composers. Born in 1870, Joseph Ryelandt would turn out to be one of the chief representatives of the late-romantic style in Belgium. Like his collegues in painting or literature, he would soon find international renown.
Ryelandt was a proud citizen of the city of Bruges. He was born, he lived and he spent most of his life in Bruges. He died and was burried there and his family tree stretches back to medieval times. Some of his family members were intimitly connected to the history of the city. Ryelandt’s artistic scope however reached well beyond the borders of his home town. He corresponded with international stars like Eugène Ysaÿe and with prominent composers such as Edward Elgar, Vincent d’Indy and Charles
JOSEPH RYELANDT a cultural biography
Koechlin. He kept in touch with many other important writers and poets of his day.
This book tells the story of the life and work of this fascinating composer. His story is set against the unique background of the social and political context of the day; Ryelandt was a French- speaking progressive catholic living in Flanders. He will become a guide on a tour around the cultural life in Belgium between the fin-de-siècle and the Second World War. His music can be heared as a soundtrack to Rodenbachs masterpiece ‘Bruges-la-morte’.
This study was based on unique source material, amongst other the archive of the family Ryelandt