Hooghuys Organ Pages
The repertoire

Because Hooghuys organs dispose of a peculiar mechanism – which allows the accurate repetition of small holes in the cardboard – Hooghuys arrangements are mostly easy to recognize, because they tend to use these small holes quite often. However, the old Hooghuys arranging style can be recognized even without those small holes: it is rather simple (even a little 'thin' compared with today's popular styles) but it often has an elaborated countermelody, and much attention is paid to the use of the registers.

Taking into account the period when Hooghuys was active, it is far from surprising that original Hooghuys factory books contain music typical for the 1900-1920 era, with a preference for traditional dances like the quadrille, march, polka, schottische, waltz and mazurka. Of course, there are also the 'classics' which are to be found in the repertoire of other organ builders too.

Hooghuys usually ordered a large number of scores from his supplier; then a choice was made of all the scores, and those that were not going to be used, were sent back. The score was usually completely written out again as a specific organ arrangement, with separate lines for the melody, countermelody, accompaniments and basses.

Several members of the Hooghuys family were active as arranger (unlike Mortier, Hooghuys never took on external arrangers): Louis, his brother Edgard and his son Charles (?), as well as Charles' son Romain Charles. The pinning of barrels seems to have been the job of Edgard only, though (also after Louis' decease).
Not only did family members make arrangements, they also composed music themselves: Louis did very meritorious work, as well as Charles and Romain Charles (with a.o. the "Tango del mamita" and the "Eliane"-galop); further also Edgard' sons Raoul and Achille. However, the most prolific composers in the Hooghuys family were certainly Edmond and Edgard himself: it is even hard to guess how many tunes sprung from their creative minds. Their compositions can mostly be categorized as 'short dance tunes' (often without title), and they were created primarily for barrel organs. Some examples:

  • Edmond Hooghuys: Marche des propagandistes, Triomphe (march), Le petit galant (march), Brise légère (schottische), …
  • Edgard Hooghuys: Bettina (redowa), Tentoonstellingsecho's (polka), L'étoile d'or (schottische), Paulette (polka), Sonnez clairons (quadrille), …

Most of the repertoire has obviously been destroyed in due course (old tunes had to be replaced with new 'hit songs', and old books (and barrels) often ended up in the stove) but most Hooghuys organs still have a unique repertoire that cannot be compared to that of e.g. Mortier organs, which often have a post-WWII repertoire.

  Book label of L.Hooghuys   Detail of the score of the “Valse kermesse Grammont” by Edgard Hooghuys   Hooghuys scale strip   Detail of the arranging drum used by Edgard and later by Romain Charles Hooghuys  
Book label
of Louis Hooghuys
Detail of the score of the "Valse kermesse Grammont" by Edgard Hooghuys, with separate lines for melody, countermelody, …
Hooghuys scale strip as used on the
arranging drum.
Detail of the arranging drum used by Edgard and later by Romain Charles Hooghuys.
  Detail of the list of arranged barrels.   Book label with stamp of Charles Hooghuys   Book label of Edgard Hooghuys and son   More recent book label of Edgard Hooghuys  
Detail of the list of arranged barrels, with mention of the composer of the tune as well as the scale and/or owner of the organ. Some arrangements were later re-used for book organs: the book number (preceded by "c.(no.)" is then added to the barrel number.
Book label with stamp of Charles Hooghuys.
Book label of Edgard Hooghuys and son (Victor), dating from after Louis' decease (1924), when Edgard was a self-employed arranger and 'barrel pinner'.
The label mentions the number of the arrangement (no title!) and the music genre.
More recent book label of Edgard Hooghuys. The addition "and son" has been left out.
  Romain Charles Hooghuys at the arranging drum   Book label of Romain Charles Hooghuys   Book label of Julius Vander Beken  
Romain Charles Hooghuys – with the inevitable cigar – at the arranging drum.
Book label of Romain Charles Hooghuys. The year "1780" is erroneous: it should obviously read "1880".
Some organs also have books in their repertoire that were deliverd by the former Hooghuys employee Julius Vander Beken. However, it is unclear if Vander Beken arranged the books himself (or employed an arranger in his factory) or ordered them from others and just glued his label on them.

Not only Hooghuys family members have made arrangements for Hooghuys organs: later, you also had famous Belgian arrangers like Eugène Peersman, Urbain Van Wichelen and Arthur Prinsen. But the most esteemed and prolific arranger for Hooghuys organs was undoubtedly August Schollaert from Aalst (1893-1958). Schollaert started with arranging for Mortier organs, but it didn't take look before – with the help and support of Edmond Hooghuys – he also marked music for Hooghuys organs. His most popular arrangements are those for the 70-key fair organs (esp. the one of Becquart): the English periodical "Gramophone" even wrote that his arrangement of the overture to "Die schöne Galathee" (F.von Suppé) was to be taken as "an example by orchestras"!
It might be interesting to know that Schollaert never marked his music on pattern paper but always directly on cardboard. The number of books he made, is uncountable (fortunately, his wife Aline and son Herman assisted him in cutting the books). Of course, not all of his arrangements are outstanding, but most of his books are among the best ever made.

In more recent times, other arrangers have also delivered new books for Hooghuys organs: e.g. the Dutch arrangers Jan Kees de Ruijter, Tom Meijer and Frans Stal. By his fine arrangements (esp. for Hooghuys fair organs), Filip Neirinck from Sint-Amandsberg (B) has also won his spurs in recent years. Special mention should also be made of Kevin Meayers (UK), who has been marking music for Hooghuys organs since 1985 in England and abroad.

  August Schollaert (1893-1958)   Book label of August Schollaert   More recent book label of August Schollaert   Filip Neirinck  
August Schollaert (1893-1958)
Book label of Schollaert, with
the address "Kluyskensstraat 20" .
More recent book label of August Schollaert with the address "Nestor de Tièrestraat 6".

Filip Neirinck with
Norbert Vroman
(owner of LH522).

You can listen to some arrangements on Hooghuys organs on the downloads-page on this site.
Page updated on 15.10.2009