#213– August 21, 2023
Théo Dejoncker and The Synthetists
Guitenstreken-Gaminerie, by Belgian composer and conductor Théo Dejoncker is our Composition of the Week.
During the coming summer weeks, we are presenting Belgian literature for wind orchestra by Paul Gilson and a group of his students who, in September 1925, joined their creative forces to form the first group of composers in Belgian history, called the Synthetists.
The music they produced constitutes an unavoidable historical heritage of the early 20th century.
This fresh and imaginative repertoire, of great artistic quality, remains curiously and unjustly unknown.
Between the two World Wars, film music became a popular cultural expression. During those years, the major movie theaters in Belgium employed a small symphony orchestra to accompany silent films. Many publishers begun to commission arrangers and composers to compose, both serious and lighter music for a line-up of ten to fourteen musicians. Dejoncker wrote several of these light pieces, including Charles Stratton, who would be later known in a version for wind band.
Guitenstreken-Gaminerie, is one of those pieces.
Gaminerie, that could be translated as “child play” is a short work, of only 3 minutes of duration, that visually describes funny pranks.
Guitenstrecken-Gaminerie is scored for standard concert band.
The work is available at Band Press, Belgium.
Théo Dejoncker studied harmony, counterpoint, and fugue with August De Boeck, as well as composition and orchestration with Paul Gilson. Before the Second World War, Dejoncker conducted the orchestra of the Radio National Institut (INR) for several years, and from 1925 to 1935, he conducted the orchestra of the Folies Bergères in Brussels. He was also highly regarded abroad as a guest conductor. He composed several pieces of orchestral music (Brutus, Sinfonia Burlesca, Breughel, Don Quichotte, etc.), chamber music and, above all, vocal music, including various lieder on texts by Émile Verhaeren, Guido Gezelle and Paul Van Ostayen.
Théo Dejoncker, as a member of the Synthétistes, also had the duty of writing for the Musique des Guides. “Deux Extraits du Jardins des Supplices” is a personal transposition for wind band of two fragments from his symphonic poem “Le Jardin des Supplices”, inspired by the book of the same name by French writer Octave Mirabeau (1850-1917). The other work for wind band is also a transcription of his symphonic work Charles Stratton, a humorous fairy tale. The transcription was made by Constant Moreau, who performed the work with his “Musique du 3ème Régiment de Ligne” in Ostend in December 1929.
Chant Mystique for wind band is dedicated to Arthur Prévost and the Musique des Guides.
Works for winds by Théo Dejoncker include:
- Deux extraits du Jardin des Supplices
- Charles Stratton (transcription by Constant Moreau)
- Chant Mystique