Victor Legley – La Cathédrale d’acier, opus 52 (first print)
(Hazebroek, 18 June 1915 – Oostende, 28 November 1994)
esquisse symphonique d’après un tableau de Fernand Steven (1958)
La Cathédrale d’acier is a symphonic work from 1958 that is characteristic of Legley’s oeuvre. It represents an important part of his way of thinking, his philosophy and his aesthetics. This symphonic poem was performed for the first time on 10 April 1959 in Brussels, by the symphonic orchestra of the former Nationaal Instituut voor de Radio-omroep (NIR), conducted by Daniel Sternefeld. The piece is about twelve minutes long.
Legley himself described his composition as follows: ‘This symphonic evocation was born out of the figurative content of the painting. The scene presented by the Liège painter [Fernand Steven] shows a steel cathedral, rising from the ruins of an old church, with in its shadow a human being. The symbolism is clear.
The contradiction can be seen clearly in the symphonic scheme, consisting of a three-part movement: a static intro [Andante maestoso, bar 1-19]; a turbulent middle part driven by a dynamic rhythm and urged on by climaxes alternating with expressive-melodic features [Allegro molto energico, ma non troppo vivo, bar 20-158]; an alleviating finale, carried by soft horn sounds and contemplating clarinet interventions [Adagio, bar 159-246]. This did not result in descriptive music. The composer transposes his overall impression in a score defined by expressionist compactness, an orchestral density and a concentric design.’ …
STRING ORCHESTRA / STRING QUINTET
Josef Mysliveček – Six String Symphonies (Quintets), Op. 2 (Urtext/first print)
(b. Prague, 9 March 1737 – d. Rome, 4 February 1781)
edited by Daniel E. Freeman and James A. Ackerman
String Symphony (Quintet) in B-flat Major, Op. 2, no. 1 , p.1
String Symphony (Quintet) in E major, Op.2, no.2 , p.13
String Symphony (Quintet) in G Major, Op. 2, no. 3, p.29
String Symphony (Quintet) in A Major, Op. 2, no. 4 , p.45
String Symphony (Quintet) in D Major, Op. 2, no. 5 , p.57
String Symphony (Quintet) in C Major, Op. 2, no. 6 , p.68
The Czech composer Josef Mysliveček mastered a wide range of Italian musical genres after moving to Venice from his native Prague in 1763, his greatest energies devoted to symphony and serious opera.1 But as brilliant as his contributions were in all of the Italian vocal and instrumental genres he chose to cultivate, his strengths generally lay in refining existing style traditions. Nonetheless, there were certain areas of composition in which he was a true innovator, among them string quintets with two viola parts; indeed, his Op. 2 quintets of ca. 1767 are the earliest examples of string quintets with two viola parts known to have been published in Europe.2 Mysliveček also composed a second set of six string quintets in the early 1770s, likely identical to a set mentioned in a letter written by Mysliveček to his patron Count Vincenz von Waldstein from Naples on 14 September 1773.3 The composition of quintets with two viola parts was brought to a very high level by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the 1770s and 1780s, but there is no particular reason to believe that he ever knew the quintets from Mysliveček’s Op. 2. There is good reason, however, to believe that he came into contact with the later set during his encounters with Mysliveček in Italy between 1770 and 1773. ..
Friedrich Klose – Ilsebill. The Fairytale of the Fisherman and his Wife
(b. Karlsruhe, 29 November 1862 – d. Ruvigliana, 24 December 1942)
A Dramatic Symphony (completed in 1902). Poem by Hugo Hoffmann
Friedrich Klose completed his ’Ilsebill’ in 1902, and Felix Mottl who was always favorably inclined towards Klose’s art led the world première at the Karlsruhe Court Theatre on 7 June 1903. Zdenka Fassbender (1879-1954) who later became Mottl’s wife on his deathbed sang the title role. Shortly after Mottl also conducted the Munich première of ’Ilsebill’. Full score and vocal score of ’Ilsebill’ appeared in print in that same year 1903 in the Drei Masken-Verlag (Berlin/Munich), bearing Klose’s dedication to his father who had provided with the initial dramatic idea of the work.
The original fairytale ’Von dem Fischer un syner Fru’ (The fisherman and his wife) was published in Philipp Otto Runge’s (1777-1810) Low German version by the Brothers Grimm in 1857 (just three years before Klose’s father developed his dramatic idea of the fairy tale). Hugo Hoffmann and the composer transformed the story into a structure that for us, today, appears like a movie plot.