Looking for information about Camil Van Hulse
  • My organist was recently bequeathed a collection of organ works by an LA area organist who had recently passed away. Among the many treasures, was a English Mass setting entitled "Mass in honor of Pedro de Gante" for unison choir with organ accompaniment by Camil Van Hulse. After reading through the music we both agreed that it was very beautiful, reminiscent of chant, and at times very dramatic. The other interesting thing to note is the Mass' publication date: 1965. Hence, it uses the old mid-60's translation that is almost identical to the forth-coming English translation of the Roman Missal. Can anyone tell me something about this composer, or even this Mass? I would be very interested to know about him. We are definitely going to consider using this (with minor alterations of the text) when the new missal is released.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,276
    Here's an article about him. I was privileged, some time back, to hear a local organ recital by a Belgian organist featuring music by Belgian composers. I wish I could remember his name, since every note he played was flawless. Other than Flor Peeters, I think the Belgians are not so well known to us.

  • What a neat story. Sounds like he was quite a family man and very dedicated to the music of the Church...
    Now that I know he was an orchestral composer, the music makes more sense. It's definitely chant inspired, but it also has a very grand sound, especially the Gloria.
    Thanks for finding this article!
  • Andrew: Any chance that you could share copies of that Mass with the rest of us? (Assuming that it is permanently out-of-print?) I greatly enjoy playing van Hulse's modal/chant-based organ works from 2 old volumes that I feel fortunate to own. Though many are quite short, they still help to lend a solemn tone to the Liturgy.
  • I'd be happy to post the music, but I don't want to get into trouble with copyrights. The music was published by World Library of Sacred Music in 1965. Does anyone know if it would be safe to post a scanned version?
  • Email WLS, asking permission to distribute it as it is POP (if it is). They might give permission.

    Novello, however, has created a print on demand business, copying and selling music that was up until now POP. Unfortunately, the quality of the printing so far has not been as good as their normal work.
  • Dave
    Posts: 64
    Wow, I didn't think I'd see a thread about this composer come up. I've been aware of Van Hulse since 2006 or so, when I came across a low-key accompaniment for the 1966 edition of the People's Mass Book. He has a few things in there, including a Mass setting titled "Mass for Christian Unity." (Yes, Vermulst wrote another setting with the same title.) Van Hulse penned an original tune--DROMEDARY--that is also included, with a text by Melvin Farrell, S.S. "Behold, O God, this lowly bread," I think is the title. A good, modal tune. Perhaps it's because the edition was low-key, but the Mass setting seems pitched a little too low. I doubt it was composed in that key. That hymnal overall would be worthy of an A+ if it weren't for the almost wholesale exclusion of Latin--a rather unfortunate testament to some of the liturgical trends of the time.

    Lastly, WLS is now World Library Publications (WLP). Considering that they're one of the big three liturgical music publishers in the US, I have my doubts about whether they'd allow free copying, even if the work is POP. I imagine it is, as there's nothing by van Hulse in the current WLP offerings that I'm aware of.
  • Even Warner Bros. will allo free copying on some items. It does not hurt to ask - it's good PR for them.
  • Read up on the copyright law, available on line. Music doesn't lose its copyright when it goes out of print.
    Van Hulse wrote lots of music, I play his organ music based on chant, especially a set based on the Sequences for the different seasons. His harmonies were new for the 60's, but are still appreciated by older members of the congregation.
    The chant tunes he based much of his music on are still in the Episcopal, Lutheran and Catholic Hymnbooks. The music of his that I have was published by the Lutheran publishing house, Concordia. "Seven Preludes on Plainsong Hymns" (Drop down Dew. Jesu the Father's only Son, Day of Wrath, The Royal Banners Forward Go, Christians to the paschal Victim, Come Holy Ghost and O Trinity of blessed Light. Latin tune names included w. each piece).
    Born in Belgium in 1897, gassed on WW1, he moved to Tucson AZ in 1923, spent the rest of his life working in music there. Died in 1988. Music included in the "Consoliere Classic" series ed. by Allison Luedke.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 668
    Btw, most of the Hulses in Tucson are apparently related to a genetic anthropologist guy from New York City, not to Mr. Van Hulse.
  • Mark P.
    Posts: 248
    Evidently Mr. Van Hulse bequeathed his music collection to the University of Arizona in Tucson. It's a treasure trove of liturgical mass settings from the pre- and post-Vatican II period. Some very fine compositions are found there that are otherwise impossible to find.
  • eastmsgr
    Posts: 6
    His Missa exsultet orbis for satb choir and organ published by McLaughlin & Reilly is a very fine setting of the Mass. Was very popular among good choirs in the 50s and early 60s until the "deluge". Well worth doing for choirs looking for something other than chant and polyphony but certainly "liturgical ".
  • Felicia
    Posts: 68
    I have a copy of The Little Organ Book : thirty seven easy pieces in all tonal centers (Cincinnati: Willis Music Co., 1961). In the foreword Mr. van Hulse indicated that organ students could play the pieces in numeric order, and that students of composition could benefit by analyzing their harmonic and linear structures, and contrasting styles. Many of the pieces are modal, with chant-like themes; others are more chromatic. I can see how they'd be useful studies for composition.

    It's also interesting that Camil van Hulse wrote a Mass honoring Pedro de Gante ("Peter of Ghent"), a Flemish missionary who traveled to the New World with the first group of Franciscans from Spain. Blessed Pedro was a great evangelist to the native people of Mexico, and he established the first school in New Spain. And, he incorporated music in his pedagogy.

    I attended the University of Arizona in 1989-1990 (master's in library science). Unfortunately, that was after van Hulse's death.