François-Joseph Fétis: Quatre Morceaux de Concours (1861, 1865, 1867, 1868)
Louis-Henri Merck: Variations pour 2 cors avec acc. de piano (c. 1880)
François-Auguste Gevaert: Air d'Orphée (1876)
François-Auguste Gevaert: Air de Magdalena (1891)
Paul Gilson: Cinq Préludes (1913-14)
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As explained in the general introduction, the three main Belgian training centers for horn players —Liège, Brussels, and Ghent— had common artistic roots but developed different accents through their years of existence. Belgian players had embraced the valve horn from the late 1830s onwards, and the appointment by François-Joseph Fétis of the prominent valve horn protagonist Jean-Désirée Artôt as horn teacher at the Brussels Royal Conservatory in 1843 had accelerated this process considerably. Contrary to France, where the natural horn class and the valve horn class were two entirely different universes, Artôt invented a system in which natural horn (classe de1° cor)and valve horn (classe de 2° cor) were both taught in the same class and by the same teacher. A considerable number of horn works written at this time were compulsory pieces for the exams at the Brussels Conservatory. These works, characteristic of the transition period from natural to valve horn between roughly 1840 and 1870, are generally similar in style to the dominant brass repertoire written by Jean-Baptiste Arban, Jules Demersseman and the Distin brothers in France and England around the same time. (more text in the book...)
‘Brave Belgians of the Belle Époque’ is an artistic case study that unravels the paradigm of a flourishing legacy of horn playing in Ghent at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentie..