Jef Tinel (lessons, 11 May 1885 – Ghent, 25 May 1972) was born in the Walloon lessines (Hainaut) region where his father, Oscar was a teacher. He was the nephew of Edgar Tinel (1854-1912). He got his first music and organ lessons from his father and at the age of eight was already substituting as an organist in major churches. It was at this time that he began to compose. After his studies at the college of Eeklo, he moved to the normal school in Sint-Niklaas to be a teacher and organist. From 1903 to 1907 he studied at the Lemmens Institute in Mechelen where he was Laureate in organ, harmony, counterpoint and Fugue. His teacher, amongst others was Edgar Tinel, Director of the Lemmens Institute. He subsequently completed his studies in composition with Leo Madushani in Ghent. From 1908 started his career as koster-organist in Maldegem, Sint-amandsberg, Zele and Ghent. Later he became Director of the music school in Maldegem and teacher at the high school in Maldegem and Eeklo. Tinel remained Director until the liberation in 1944. He later became Maestro di cappella of the Verdinaso. He died in 1972 at the age of 87. His complete opus list shows an extensive body of work, ranging from orchestral suites and cantatas, works for organ and piano to all forms of vocal music. His songs, masses and motets were particularly well-known.His work is part of the late-Romantic movement. He was not innovator or experimenter, but his works are well-balanced, and his harmonies exhibit a personality of their own.
"Ach! hoe vluchtig is het Leven" is a lovely setting of the well-known chorale, most organists know by its German title "Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig".
Tinel's setting is flowing and appealing from start to finish. I played this quite "straight" as the accompaniment implied the passage of time.
The score, manuscript and modern are attached below, as well as a photo of Jef Tinel.
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