Joseph Jongen was born in 1873 and died in 1953 at age 70. He is generally considered as one of the most prominent Belgian composers after César Franck. Particularly known for his organ and chamber music works, he also composed more than fifty art songs.
The complete set of songs encompasses a wide scope of styles, from strophic romances to impressionist or Straussian-like songs, setting to music texts by various poets and writers - some famous ones such as Baudelaire, Hellens or Verhaeren, or others with whom he was acquainted.
Not only more than one third of the songs has never been published nor recorded, in addition the remaining two thirds are very seldom heard. I therefore decided to dedicate a doctoral research on the analysis and interpretation of these songs. On the one hand, it will bring back to life an unjustly forgotten part of Jongen’s work and encourage young singers to perform his music, and on the other hand it will help me to refine my methodology as an interpreter in approaching a new repertoire.