Ballet music from the beginning and the middle of the 19th century is still largely 'terra incognita' in music and theater studies: research into Flemish / Belgian ballet music from that period is almost non-existent. This project wants to fill part of that gap and also stimulate research into this multidisciplinary art form, although in this project mainly the score is studied.
The project aims to focus on one of the most important composers in the Belgian musical life of the 19th century: Charles-Louis Hanssens 'jeune' (Ghent, 1802 - Brussels, 1871). Hanssens' life and work have only been studied partly in recent decades, and his ballet music is a complete blind spot. The choice of taking ballet music by Hanssens 'jeune' as a research object is obvious: he was a ballet composer and conductor with an international reputation; at home and abroad, he worked with eminent choreographers and left a valuable corpus of 17 ballets.
The central research question of this project is how and to what extent Hanssens and his ballets contributed to the evolution of the closely related opera 'ballet pantomime' to an autonomous art form with scores of symphonical allures.