CeBeDeM

CeBeDeM

index
of affiliated composers

ABSIL, Jean

Jean ABSIL was born on October 23, 1893 (Bonsecours - Hainaut) and died on February 2, 1974 (Uccle - Brussels).

Absil was, first, a pupil of Alphonse Oeyen, organist at the basilica of Bonsecours. From 1913 he attended classes at the Royal Music Conservatory of Brussels, where he completed his musical studies. After learning orchestration and composition with Paul Gilson, he was awarded the Rome Prize and the Rubens Prize. He also sought the advice of Florent Schmitt. He was a professor at the Royal Music Conservatory of Brussels and at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel and, for more than forty years, he was director of the Music Academy in Etterbeek, which has borne his name since 1963. He was also a member of the Royal Academy of Belgium.

Two activities dominated Jean Absil’s life and career: education and composition. An undisputed educator, he trained generations of composers for more than forty years. A leader who allowed his disciples to discover the music of their time, Absil synthetized the French School, Stravinsky, Bartok, polytonal, atonal and serial music (J. Stehman). His extensive works encompass all genres.

His first distinguishing work was “La mort de Tintagiles”. His research on polytonality and atonality led to a brief study: “Postulat de la musique contemporaine”, prefaced by Darius Milhaud.
Between 1929 and 1936 Absil applied the principles of his style mainly to numerous chamber music works. In 1936 he returned to large orchestral works with a second Symphony and Concertos for various instruments, including a “Concerto for piano” which, as a compulsory piece at the Ysaÿe International Competition of 1938, definitely established his reputation. He produced large-scale works such as “Les Bénédictions”, “Pierre Breughel l’Ancien”, “Les Voix de la Mer”, and many choral works, whether religious or secular. Moreover, he often drew his inspiration from the folklore and rhythmic subtleties of Central Europe.

When characterizing the Absilian language, Joseph Dopp rightly notes that the ear never suffers from an impression of tonal insecurity when listening to Absil’s music: while it is no longer possible to find a reference to the classical major or minor tonalities, the composer invents new modes, which he replaces for each piece. From these modes emerge chords which, even if they are different from the classical ones, also have an expressive sense (tension or resolution). Absil never practised a real atonality: the apparent tonal independence of the voices always resolves itself into a unique tonality.

[Diana von Volborth, © CeBeDeM ; English translation © CeBeDeM 2004]

works

  • A cloche-pied op. 139, 1968
    children'schoir and piano 00:04:40
  • Alcools op. 43, 1940
    mixed choir a cappella 00:10:00
  • Allegro brillante op. 132, 1967
    2 pianos 00:02:00
  • Allegro brillante op. 132, 1967
    piano and orchestra 00:02:00
  • Alternances op. 140, 1968
    piano 00:14:00
  • Asymétries op. 136, 1968
    2 pianos 00:11:00
  • Ballade op. 156, 1971
    alto saxophone, piano and small orchestra 00:09:00
  • Ballade op. 129, 1966
    piano (left hand) 00:12:00
  • Berceuse, 1932
    alto saxophone or viola or cello and small orchestra 00:05:00
  • Berceuse, 1932
    violin, flute and oboe 00:05:00
  • Berceuse, 1932
    alto saxophone and orchestra 00:05:00
  • Berceuse, 1932
    viola and orchestra 00:05:00
  • Berceuse, 1932
    cello and orchestra 00:05:00
  • Berceuse, 1932
    cello and piano 00:05:00
  • Berceuse, 1932
    viola and piano 00:05:00
  • Berceuse, 1932
    alto saxophone and piano 00:05:00
  • Berceuse, 1932
    middle voice and piano 00:05:00
  • Bestiaire op. 58, 1944
    mixed Choir a cappella 00:10:00
  • Burlesque op. 100, 1958
    oboe and piano 00:08:00
  • Cache-cache op. 117, 1963
    middle voice and piano 00:09:00
  • Chacone op. 69, 1949
    violin 00:09:00
  • Chanson de quatre sous, 1942
    middle voice and piano 00:02:00
  • Chansons de bonne humeur op. 49, 1942
    two-part women's choir and orchestra 00:12:00
  • Chansons de bonne humeur op. 49, 1942
    two-part women's choir and piano 00:12:00
  • Chansons plaisantes op. 88, 1955
    children's choir and piano 00:23:00
  • Chansons plaisantes - 2e recueil op. 94, 1956
    children's choir and piano 00:23:00
  • Cimetière, 1927
    middle voice and piano 00:02:00
  • Cinq bagatelles op. 61, 1944
    piano 00:07:00
  • Cinq chansons de Paul Fort op. 18, 1935
    choir and piano 00:05:40
  • Cinq choeurs, 1930
    women's choir and piano 00:13:00
  • Cinq mélodies op. 12, 1933
    Mezzo-Soprano and string quartet 00:13:00
  • Cinq mélodies, 1927
    middle voice and piano 00:09:00
  • Cinq pièces faciles op. 138, 1968
    clarinet or alto saxophone and piano 00:06:00
  • Cinq pièces faciles op. 138, 1968
    clarinet and piano 00:06:00
  • Cinq pièces faciles op. 138, 1968
    alto saxophone and piano 00:06:00
  • Colas Chacha, 1966
    large orchestra 00:00:00
  • Colindas op. 87, 1955
    choir a cappella 00:13:00
  • Concert à cinq op. 38, 1939
    flute, violin, viola, cello and diatonic harp 00:13:00
  • Concertino op. 122, 1964
    viola and string orchestra 00:11:00
  • Concertino op. 122, 1964
    viola and piano 00:11:00
  • Concertino op. 42, 1940
    cello and piano 00:13:00
  • Concertino op. 42, 1940
    cello and orchestra 00:13:00
  • Concerto op. 30, 1937
    piano and orchestra 00:14:00
  • Concerto op. 54, 1942
    viola and orchestra 00:16:00
  • Concerto op. 30, 1937
    piano and orchestra 00:14:00
  • Concerto op. 54, 1942
    viola and piano 00:16:00
  • Concerto op. 30, 1937
    2 pianos 00:14:00
  • Concerto op. 155, 1971
    guitar and small orchestra 00:10:00
  • Concerto op. 11, 1933
    violin and orchestra 00:22:00
  • Concerto op. 11, 1933
    violin and piano 00:22:00
  • Concerto grosso op. 60, 1944
    wind quintet and string orchestra 00:11:00
  • Concerto n°2 op. 124, 1964
    violin and orchestra 00:20:00
  • Concerto n°2 op. 131, 1967
    piano and orchestra 00:22:00
  • Concerto n°2 op. 131, 1967
    2 pianos 00:22:00
  • Concerto n°2 op. 124, 1964
    violin and piano 00:20:00
  • Concerto n°3 op. 162, 1973
    piano and orchestra 00:20:00
  • Concerto n°3 op. 162, 1973
    2 pianos 00:20:00
  • Contes op. 76, 1951
    trumpet and piano 00:09:00
  • Contrastes op. 143, 1969
    2 guitars 00:14:15
  • Croquis pour un carnaval op. 137, 1968
    clarinet quartet and diatonic harp 00:10:00
  • Croquis sportifs op. 85, 1954
    band 00:14:00
  • Danses bulgares op. 103, 1959
    piano 00:11:55
  • Danses bulgares op. 103, 1959
    flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon 00:11:55
  • Danses bulgares op. 103, 1961
    band 00:10:29
  • Déités op. 160, 1972
    orchestra 00:22:00
  • De tijd
    children's choir and piano 00:02:30
  • Deux danses rituelles op. 105, 1960
    small orchestra 00:07:00
  • Deux mélodies, 1933
    middle voice and piano 00:08:00
  • Deux poèmes op. 53, 1942
    Soprano and piano 00:04:00
  • Divertimento op. 86, 1955
    saxophone quartet and orchestra 00:20:00
  • Du rythme à l'expression I op. 108, 1961
    piano 00:09:30
  • Du rythme à l'expression II op. 108, 1961
    piano 00:07:45
  • Echecs op. 96, 1957
    piano 00:16:00
  • Enfantines op. 52, 1942
    middle voice and piano 00:10:00
  • Epouvantail op. 74, 1950
    orchestra 00:12:00
  • Epouvantail op. 74, 1950
    piano 00:12:00
  • Esquisses sur les 7 péchés capitaux op. 83, 1954
    piano 00:13:00
  • Etude n°3, 1963
    concert drum and piano 00:03:00
  • Etude XI
    4 timpani and piano 00:03:00
  • Etude XI
    concert drum and piano 00:03:00
  • Etudes - 1er recueil op. 107, 1961
    piano 00:00:00
  • Evasion op. 8, 1937
    high voice and piano 00:00:00
  • Fanfares op. 118, 1963
    band 00:07:35
  • Fantaisie op. 40, 1939
    violin, viola, cello and piano 00:10:00
  • Fantaisie - Caprice op. 152, 1971
    saxophone and piano 00:05:45
  • Fantaisie - Caprice op. 152, 1971
    alto saxophone and band 00:05:45
  • Fantaisie - Humoresque op. 113, 1962
    clarinet and piano 00:05:00
  • Fantaisie - Humoresque op. 113, 1962
    clarinet and string orchestra 00:05:00
  • Fantaisie concertante op. 99, 1958
    violin and orchestra 00:13:30
  • Fantaisie concertante op. 99, 1958
    violin and piano 00:13:30
  • Fantaisie rhapsodique op. 21, 1936
    cello quartet 00:10:00
  • Féeries op. 153, 1971
    piano 00:17:00
  • Grande suite op. 62, 1944
    piano 00:12:00
  • Grande suite n°2 op. 110, 1962
    piano 00:18:00
  • Heure de grâce op. 98, 1958
    high voice and piano 00:05:57
  • Hommage à Lekeu op. 35/bis, 1939
    orchestra 00:06:00
  • Hommage à Schumann op. 67, 1946
    piano 00:05:30
  • Humoresques op. 126, 1965
    piano 00:04:30
  • Images stellaires op. 161, 1973
    violin and cello 00:15:00
  • Introduction et Valses op. 89, 1955
    orchestra 00:12:00
  • Jeanne d'Arc op. 65, 1945
    orchestra 00:15:00
  • L'album à colorier op. 68, 1948
    children's choir and piano 00:24:00
  • La mort de Tintagiles op. 3, 1926
    orchestra 00:25:00
  • Légendes op. 91, 1956
    band 00:12:00
  • Le chant à l'école op. 144, 1969
    choir a cappella 00:08:35
  • Le chapeau chinois op. 64, 1944
    opera 01:00:00
  • Le chapeau chinois (extr.) op. 64, 1944
    T. and piano 00:11:00
  • Le chapeau chinois (Fansou) op. 64, 1944
    opera 01:00:00
  • Le chapeau chinois (Fansou) op. 64, 1944
    S. 2T. Bar. B. and piano 01:00:00
  • Le cirque volant op. 82, 1953
    choir, Narrator and piano 00:22:00
  • Le miracle de Pan op. 71, 1949
    orchestra 00:22:00
  • Le miracle de Pan op. 71, 1949
    piano 00:22:00
  • Le zodiaque op. 70, 1949
    piano, choir, Soloists and orchestra 00:32:00
  • Le zodiaque op. 70, 1949
    Soloists, choir and 2 pianos 00:32:00
  • Les bénédictions op. 48, 1941
    Soloists, choir, large orchestra and organ 01:30:00
  • Les bénédictions op. 48, 1941
    Soloists, choir and piano 01:30:00
  • Les chants du mort op. 55, 1943
    mixed vocal quartet and piano - S., A., T., B. 00:27:00
  • Les chants du mort op. 55, 1943
    mixed vocal quartet and orchestra 00:27:00
  • Les météores op. 77, 1951
    orchestra 00:23:00
  • Les voix de la mer op. 75, 1951
    Soli, mixed choir speech choir and piano 02:30:00
  • Les voix de la mer op. 75, 1951
    opera 02:30:00
  • Les voix de la mer: Choeur aérien op. 75, 1951
    women's choir a cappella 02:30:00
  • Marines op. 36, 1939
    piano 00:10:00
  • Mythologie op. 84, 1954
    large orchestra 00:20:00
  • Nymphes et faunes op. 130, 1966
    band 00:07:10
  • Ouverture op. 75, 1965
    opera 00:07:10
  • Passacaille op. 101, 1959
    piano 00:10:00
  • Peau d'Ane op. 26, 1937
    Soloists, speaking parts and orchestra 01:35:00
  • Peau d'Ane op. 26, 1937
    band 00:11:00
  • Peau d'Ane op. 26, 1937
    theatre music 01:35:00
  • Peau d'Ane: Air de Peau d'Ane op. 26, 1937
    Soprano and piano 00:04:30
  • Peau d'Ane: Air de Peau d'Ane op. 26, 1937
    Soprano and orchestra 00:04:30
  • Peau d'Ane: Air du Prince op. 26, 1937
    T. and orchestra 00:06:00
  • Peau d'Ane: Air du Prince op. 26, 1937
    T. and piano 00:06:00
  • Peau d'Ane: Air du Roi op. 26, 1937
    Bass and orchestra 00:05:30
  • Peau d'Ane: Air du Roi op. 26, 1937
    Bass and piano 00:05:30
  • Peau d'Ane: Airs de ballet op. 26, 1937
    chamber orchestra 00:09:00
  • Peau d'Ane: Final du 3e acte op. 26, 1937
    S., A., T., B. and piano 00:00:00
  • Peau d'Ane: Suite op. 26, 1937
    chamber orchestra 00:15:00
  • Petit bestiaire op. 151, 1970
    guitar 00:09:25
  • Petite suite op. 20, 1935
    band 00:08:00
  • Petite suite op. 20, 1935
    fanfare 00:08:00
  • Petite suite op. 20, 1935
    chamber orchestra 00:08:00
  • Petites polyphonies op. 128, 1966
    2 equal voices and piano 00:11:20
  • Phantasmes, 1936
    Contralto, alto saxophone, percussion and piano 00:12:00
  • Philatélie op. 46, 1940
    mixed vocal quartet and 14 instruments 00:26:00
  • Philatélie op. 46, 1940
    S., Mz., T., B. and piano 00:26:00
  • Pièces caractéristiques op. 123, 1964
    guitar 00:11:55
  • Pièces en quatuor op. 35, 1938
    saxophone quartet 00:09:00
  • Pierre Breughel l'Ancien op. 73, 1950
    Soloists, mixed choir, speech choir, Narrator, large orchestra and organ 01:00:00
  • Pierre Breughel l'Ancien op. 73, 1950
    Soloists, choir and piano 01:00:00
  • Poésie et vélocité op. 157, 1972
    piano 00:00:00
  • Poésie et vélocité op. 157, 1972
    piano 00:00:00
  • Poésie et vélocité op. 157, 1972
    piano 00:00:00
  • Poésie et vélocité op. 157, 1972
    piano 00:00:00
  • Prélude et barcarolle
    guitar 00:04:10
  • Printemps op. 59, 1944
    children's choir with piano accompaniment 00:10:00
  • Quatre esquisses op. 154, 1971
    flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon 00:11:00
  • Quatre pièces op. 150, 1970
    guitar 00:15:05
  • Quatre poèmes op. 12, 1933
    middle voice and piano 00:10:30
  • Quatuor op. 132, 1967
    4 clarinets 00:16:00
  • Quatuor op. 31, 1937
    4 saxophones 00:10:00
  • Quatuor à clavier op. 33, 1938
    violin, viola, cello and piano 00:22:00
  • Quatuor à cordes n°1 op. 5, 1929
    2 violins, viola and cello 00:22:00
  • Quatuor à cordes n°1 op. 5, 1929
    2 violins, viola and cello 00:22:00
  • Quatuor à cordes n°2 op. 13, 1934
    2 violins, viola and cello 00:15:00
  • Quatuor à cordes n°2 op. 13, 1934
    2 violins, viola and cello 00:15:00
  • Quatuor à cordes n°3 op. 19, 1935
    2 violins, viola and cello 00:22:00
  • Quatuor à cordes n°3 op. 19, 1935
    2 violins, viola and cello 00:22:00
  • Quatuor à cordes n°4 op. 47, 1941
    2 violins, viola and cello 00:18:00
  • Quatuor à cordes n°4 op. 47, 1941
    2 violins, viola and cello 00:18:00
  • Quatuor n°2 op. 28, 1937
    cello quartet 00:10:00
  • Quintette op. 16, 1934
    flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon 00:11:00
  • Rêves op. 80, 1952
    middle voice and piano 00:10:00
  • Rhapsodie brésilienne op. 81, 1953
    band 00:12:00
  • Rhapsodie brésilienne op. 81, 1953
    orchestra 00:12:00
  • Rhapsodie bulgare op. 104, 1960
    orchestra 00:09:00
  • Rhapsodie flamande op. 4, 1928
    orchestra 00:11:30
  • Rhapsodie flamande op. 4, 1928
    band 00:11:30
  • Rhapsodie n°2 op. 34, 1938
    orchestra 00:15:00
  • Rhapsodie n°5 op. 102, 1959
    2 pianos 00:08:00
  • Rhapsodie n°5 op. 102, 1959
    band 00:08:00
  • Rhapsodie n°6 op. 120, 1963
    horn and piano 00:07:00
  • Rhapsodie roumaine op. 56, 1943
    violin and orchestra 00:12:00
  • Rhapsodie roumaine op. 56, 1943
    violin and piano 00:12:00
  • Rites op. 79, 1952
    band 00:14:00
  • Roumaniana op. 92, 1956
    band 00:18:00
  • Sérénade en 5 mouvements op. 44, 1940
    chamber orchestra 00:17:00
  • Sicilienne, 1950
    flute or clarinet or saxophone and piano or harp 00:09:00
  • Sicilienne, 1950
    flute and piano 00:09:00
  • Sicilienne, 1950
    flute and harp 00:09:00
  • Sicilienne, 1950
    clarinet and piano 00:09:00
  • Sicilienne, 1950
    clarinet and harp 00:09:00
  • Sicilienne, 1950
    saxophone and piano 00:09:00
  • Sicilienne, 1950
    saxophone and harp 00:09:00
  • Silhouettes op. 97, 1958
    flute and piano 00:12:30
  • Six choeurs I op. 18, 1935
    children's choir and piano 00:06:00
  • Six choeurs II op. 18, 1935
    children's choir and piano 00:06:00
  • Six poèmes de Maurice Carême op. 109, 1961
    Choir a cappella 00:05:40
  • Sonate op. 115, 1963
    alto saxophone and piano 00:09:45
  • Sonate op. 146, 1970
    violin and piano 00:18:00
  • Sonate op. 134, 1967
    violin 00:09:30
  • Sonatine op. 27, 1937
    piano 00:09:00
  • Sonatine en duo op. 112, 1962
    violin and viola 00:07:15
  • Sonatine n°2 - Pastorale op. 37, 1939
    piano 00:06:00
  • Suite op. 78, 1952
    trombone, tuba or cello and piano 00:11:30
  • Suite op. 51, 1942
    cello and piano 00:12:00
  • Suite op. 92, 1956
    small orchestra 00:18:00
  • Suite op. 114, 1963
    guitar 00:09:45
  • Suite op. 149, 1970
    trumpet in C or B flat and piano 00:07:15
  • Suite op. 135, 1967
    2 guitars 00:08:00
  • Suite op. 78, 1952
    trombone and piano 00:11:30
  • Suite op. 78, 1952
    tuba and piano 00:11:30
  • Suite op. 78, 1952
    cello and piano 00:11:30
  • Suite bucolique op. 95, 1957
    string orchestra 00:16:00
  • Suite mystique op. 145, 1969
    flute quartet 00:12:00
  • Suite n°2 op. 141, 1968
    cello and piano 00:17:00
  • Suite pastorale op. 37, 1939
    flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon 00:07:00
  • Suite pastorale op. 37, 1939
    piano 00:07:00
  • Suite sur des thèmes populaires roumains op. 90, 1956
    saxophone quartet 00:17:00
  • Sur un paravent chinois op. 147, 1970
    guitar 00:12:30
  • Symphonie n°1 en ré mineur op. 1, 1920
    orchestra 00:35:00
  • Symphonie n°2 op. 25, 1936
    large orchestra 00:25:00
  • Symphonie n°3 op. 57, 1943
    orchestra 00:22:00
  • Symphonie n°4 op. 142, 1969
    large orchestra 00:22:00
  • Symphonie n°5 op. 148, 1970
    large orchestra 00:16:00
  • Tahi - Taho op. 8, 1937
    middle voice and piano 00:00:00
  • Thrène op. 66, 1945
    choir, organ and 2 Narrators 00:30:00
  • Trente études préparatoires à la polyrythmie op. 107, 1961
    piano 00:10:00
  • Trente études préparatoires à la polyrythmie op. 107, 1961
    piano 00:10:00
  • Trio op. 7, 1931
    violin, cello and piano 00:20:00
  • Trio à cordes n°1 op. 17, 1935
    violin, viola, cello 00:12:00
  • Trio à cordes n°2 op. 39, 1939
    violin, viola, cello 00:14:00
  • Trio n°2 op. 158, 1972
    violin, cello and piano 00:17:00
  • Triptyque op. 106, 1960
    small orchestra 00:09:00
  • Trois choeurs op. 15, 1934
    4 men's choir a cappella 00:09:00
  • Trois impromptus op. 10, 1932
    piano 00:08:00
  • Trois Pièces op. 127, 1965
    organ 00:08:40
  • Trois pièces op. 119, 1963
    2 guitars 00:06:25
  • Trois pièces op. 121, 1964
    bandoneon 00:10:00
  • Trois pièces lyriques op. 32, 1938
    piano (right hand) 00:07:00
  • Trois pièces lyriques op. 32, 1938
    piano 00:07:00
  • Trois poèmes d'Arthur Cantillon op. 9, 1932
    a cappella mixed choir 00:08:30
  • Trois poèmes de Tristan Klingsor op. 45, 1940
    middle voice and small orchestra 00:08:00
  • Trois poèmes de Tristan Klingsor op. 45, 1940
    middle voice and piano 00:08:00
  • Trois vocalises op. 116, 1963
    middle voice and piano 00:06:00
  • Ulysse et les Sirènes op. 41, 1939
    Soloists (1 Bar., 2 Narrators), men's choir, women's choir and small orchestra 00:20:00
  • Ulysse et les Sirènes op. 41, 1939
    1 Bar., 2 Narr., men's choir, women's choir and piano 00:20:00
  • Variations op. 93, 1956
    piano 00:21:00
  • Variations symphoniques op. 50, 1942
    large orchestra 00:20:00
  • Zoo op. 63, 1944
    choir a cappella 00:11:00
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