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Goovaerts, Alphonse

Antwerpen, 25/05/1847 > Brussel, 25/12/1922


Goovaerts, Alphonse

by Jan Dewilde

This musicologist and composer was initiated into music by his father and later took private lessons with Peter Benoit and Léon de Burbure. In 1866 Goovaerts started what was to become a long career at the City Library of his native Antwerp, focusing on library sciences and archivism. In 1904 he retired as Royal Archivist General.

Besides some Flemish songs, Goovaerts mainly wrote vocal church music (masses and motets) and adapted early choral music by Lassus and Palestrina, among others. He was also a member of the St Gregorius Society, a bilingual Belgian association that was committed since 1881 to the reform of church music, while also serving as secretary of the jury at Benoit's Music School. Furthermore he conducted the orchestra of 'De Burgerkring' and contributed to several periodicals such as Le Bibliophile Belge, Le Journal des Beaux-Arts, De Vlaamsche School, De Vlaamse Kunstbode, and La Fédération artistique.

His greatest merits, however, are to be found in the fields of musicological and bibliographic work. Already in 1869 he wrote an important work on the Antwerp music printer Phalesius, followed by studies on church music, music printers and the 'Landjuweel' (a theatre competition) of Antwerp and on composers such as Waelrant, de la Rue, the Fioccos and Benoit. His book Histoire et bibliographie de la typographie musicale dans les Pays-Bas earned an award and was published in 1880 by the Royal Academy of Belgium. To the Biographie nationale he contributed several articles about polyphonists.

Goovaerts used several pseudonyms such as "Phalèse", "Beelaert", "Veritas", or "un Anversois" (an Antwerpian).

© Studiecentrum voor Vlaamse Muziek vzw - Jan Dewilde (translation: Joris Duytschaever)