Letters to the Immortal Beloved

“My angel, my all, my very self. – Only a few words today, and, what is more, written in pencil…” Beethoven’s famous letter to his unnamed Immortal Beloved inspires a performance of some of the most romantic works of the 19th century. Featuring Beethoven’s Symphony #4 and Schumann’s “Clara” Symphony this marvelous evening of music is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the power of love.

PROGRAM

LETTRE D’OR #1 …………………………………… Francois Hugues LeClair (b. 1962)

SYMPHONY #4 IN D MINOR OPUS 120 ………………… R. Schumann (1810-1856)

ANDANTE CON MOTO-ALLEGRO DI MOLTO

ROMANZA: ANDANTE

SCHERZO: PRESTO

LARGO-FINALE:ALLEGRO VIVACE

INTERMISSION

SYMPHONY #4 IN BFLAT MAJOR OPUS 60 ………. L. van Beethoven (1770-1827)

ADAGIO-ALLEGRO VIVACE

ADAGIO

ALLEGRO VIVACE

ALLEGRA MA NON TROPPO

LETTRE D’OR 1 (1999) – François-Hugues Leclair

Ce tableau fait partie d’une suite de trois pièces composées à partir de textes de l’écrivain français Christian Bobin, qui m’ont inspiré des images musicales en lien avec sa parole si poétique et contemplative.

L’oeuvre débute et se conclut par une évocation de la lumière, car l’écrivain est à sa table devant la fenêtre : « Il y a la lumière du ciel, claire le jour, noire la nuit (…) Et puis, il y a la lumière des lampes. » Et cette lumière artificielle le renvoie à cette lettre qu’il écrit à une femme aimée dont il décrit les multiples figures, chacune associée à un thème instrumental qui sera d’abord exposé, puis développé : « celle dont le coeur est une rose » (clarinette) /

« celle qui désire qu’on l’oublie » (trombone) / « l’inconsolable » (hautbois) / « celle qui possède plusieurs vies » (trompette) / « celle qu’une fatigue enchante » (cor) / « celle qui est toute fraîche, toute jeune » (flûte)

L’oeuvre a été créée par l’Orchestre de l’Université de Montréal en 1999 puis reprise en 2000 à l’Orchestre symphonique de Laval, sous la direction de Jean-François Rivest.

SCHUMANN Symphony no. 4 in d minor

Although Schumann’s life was shrouded in tragedy his fourth symphony was composed during his happiest circumstances. He had recently wed pianist Clara Schumann (nee Wick) after a lengthy battle with her father and this work is both dedicated to her, and designed as a portrayal of her vivacity. The work is by far and away his most innovative, with all four movements designed to be played without a break, and built around a single formal design. Although Clara’s career would eventually eclipse the composer’s own she would remain the greatest love and happiness of his short life. In fact, the last movement of his work takes it’s theme from a variation of her name, a musical spelling of “CLARA” This symphony should be enjoyed as a celebration of that beautiful commitment after years of struggle.

BEETHOVEN Symphony no. 4 in Bflat Major

Beethoven composed his fourth symphony in the summer of 1806 while visiting Count Franz von Oppersdorff at his country estate. Unlike his dramatic and highly romantic third and fifth symphonies the fourth takes it inspiration from the classical works of composers like Handel, making it a more delicate and introspective work than what we are used to seeing from the composer. In spite of this, the symphony contains passages that are now seen as some of Beethoven’s most musically imaginative, and the third and fourth movements in particular gi