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Van Etsen, Julius

Antwerpen, 23/09/1881 > Antwerpen, 13/10/1957

Biografie

Van Etsen, Julius

by Jan Dewilde

After his studies at the Antwerp Royal Flemish Conservatory Julius Van Etsen took private violin lessons and further improved with Flor Alpaerts on harmony, counterpoint and fugue. He made his debut as a composer with some symphonic works, conducted by Edward Keurvels at the Royal Zoological Society. 

Subsequently, however, he composed almost exclusively songs and chamber music. Only a fraction of his oeuvre did he release for publication, among which a number of songs and a string quartet.

Together with his brother Gustaaf and with Jos Watelet he worked on the publication of the Monumenta Musicae Belgicae. For this series of the 'Vereniging voor Muziekgeschiedenis' (Association for the History of Music) he realised basso-continuo accompaniments of works by ancient composers such as J. B. Loeillet, Willem De Fesch and Pieter Van Maldere. His edition of Twee sonaten voor cello en klavier met klavierbegeleiding volgens basso continuo (Two Sonatas for Cello and Keyboard with Keyboard Accompaniment in the manner of Basso Continuo) by De Fesch received favourable reviews in both The Musical Times and Rivista Musicale Italiana. Van Etsen also published sacred music by Remigius Schrijver and Willem Vermooten with added piano accompaniment from his hand. Concurrently he was involved with the music publishers De Ring.

Although he was specialised in ancient music he also kept himself abreast of trends in contemporary music. In 1925 he published a survey of the latest stylistic movements in the booklet De moderne Muziek (Modern Music).

He published musicological articles in both domestic and foreign periodicals and wrote reviews in De Nieuwe Gazet, Het Antwerpsch Toneel, De Vlaamsche Gids and La Revue Musicale (Paris).

© Studiecentrum voor Vlaamse Muziek vzw - Jan Dewilde (translation: Jo Sneppe)