César Franck – Rédemption, Poème-symphonie (1872/73)
(geb. Lüttich, 10. Dezember 1822 — gest. Paris, 8. November 1890)
Introduction (Poco lento) p. 1
I Choeur terrestre (Très animé) p. 5
II Récit et Choeur des Anges (Poco lento) p. 58
III Choeur, Récit et Air de l’Archange (Animé) / (attacca:) p. 65
IV Choeur général p. 90
V Morceau symphonique (Maestoso poco lento) p. 122
VI Choeur des hommes (Allegro agitato) p. 161
VII Choeur des Anges (Andantino) p. 195
VIII Air de l’Archange (Quasi andante) p. 203
IX Choeur général (Allegro non troppo) p. 215
Moved by the events of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870/71, César Franck interrupted work on a most important piece, the oratorio Les Béatitudes, and managed to compose in a little less than a year the ‘Poème-symphonie’ Rédemption to a text by Edouard Blau (1836–1906). The work, like the earlier ‘Ode-symphonie’ Le Désert by Félicien César David dating from 1844, comprises both sung and spoken parts. The first version of Rédemption was finished on 7th November 1872 and was printed as a piano reduction and full score that same year by the Paris publisher Georges Hartmann. The premiere took place on 10th April 1873 in the Théâtre de l’Odéon but was less than successful. Performers included the soprano Mme. de Caters, the speaker Mounet-Sully, the choir of the Société Bourgault-Ducoudray and the Orchestre du Concert National, conducted by Edouard Colonne. The additional ‘Symphonie’ in one movement intended to join the two parts of the work was omitted. Franck later reworked this section (the original version of which was later called ‘Ancien morceau symphonique’) and convincingly transformed it into a ‘Morceau symphonique’. Henceforth this work established itself in concert halls the world over as a symphonic poem in its own right – detached from the ‘Poème-symphonie’ and soon to outdate it. The composer also hewed out a separate ‘Choeur des hommes’. The second version of Rédemption was finished in the late summer of 1873, the first performance taking place on 16th March 1875 in the Théâtre Ventadour with the soprano Mme. Fursch-Madier, Mounet-Sully as speaker and the Société Chorale César Franck conducted by the composer himself. Interestingly, the ‘Morceau symphonique’ had already received its premiere under Franck’s baton at the Salle Herz on 13th February 1874.
There were no further performances of the ‘Poème-symphonie’ during Franck’s lifetime. He bought back from the publisher Hartmann the hire material to the first version and destroyed it, but the piano reduction did survive. The piano reduction of the final version appeared in 1874, again printed by Hartmann. The full score, however, issued by the Paris publisher Heugel, appeared only after the composer’s death in 1895. Rédemption is one of Franck’s most profound works, and the religious text by Edouard Blau, despite its considerable shortcomings, contains still some visionary moments.
For performance materials please contact the original publisher Heugel & Cie., Paris.
Vorwort Deutsch > HERE