OPERA

Saint-Saëns, Camille
Proserpine, Drame lyrique in four acts (full opera score with French libretto)

Libretto by Louis Gallet
First performance: Opéra-Comique, Paris, 16 March 1887

After the success of Henry VIII at the Paris Opéra in 1883, Saint-Saëns’s next opera was written for the Opéra-Comique, where it was no longer necessary to use spoken dialogue and to set mild stories that disturbed no one and ended happily for all. Bizet’s Carmen had broken sharply with that tradition, and so a drama of sexual obsession in four acts could now be performed at the Opéra-Comique.

In about 1880 Saint-Saëns came across a volume of poetry by Auguste Vacquerie, a close friend of Victor Hugo, which contained a verse drama about a sixteenth-century Italian courtesan Proserpine. She was so named because the Greek goddess Proserpina was Queen of the Underworld, living in darkness. Vacquerie agreed to permit Saint-Saëns to develop his drama as an opera, so the librettist Louis Gallet was brought in to write the libretto. This was ready by May 1886. …

For more details

Vocal Score

ORCHESTRA

Massenet, Jules
Les Érinnyes for orchestra

(b. Montand, 12 May 1842 — d. Paris, 13 August 1912)

Apart from a comprehensive body of work of operas, Jules Massenet contributed, from the onset of his musical career, numerous other works for the musical stage – beside three operettas, four ballets and three sacred music drama’s involving substantial or little staging, he also composed music for fourteen theatre plays, the first one being the classical tragedy Les Érinnyes, a play in two acts by Charles Marie Leconte de Lisle (1818-1894).

Leconte de Lisle regarded himself as an “objectivist” poet and belonged to the school of the “Parnassians”; his Éolides was the inspiration in 1877 for César Franck’s Symphonic Poem of the same name, as was the poem Les Élephants for the first mouvement of the Symphonie orientale op. 84 by Benjamin Godards, published in 1883. …

For more details

Hausegger, Siegmund von
Natursymphonie (Nature Symphony) for large orchestra with final chorus

(b. 16 August 1872, Graz – d. 10 October 1948, Munich)

For more than half a century the music of Siegmund von Hausegger had vanished into thin air. Only occasionally some people referred to the conductor Hausegger who had introduced the original versions of Anton Bruckner’s symphonies with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. But in 2008, the German label cpo released a CD of his magnum opus, ‚Natursymphonie‘ (Nature Symphony) in a 2005 recording with WDR (West German Radio) Symphony Orchestra and Radio Chorus under the direction of Ari Rasilainen. Since then, all his authorized orchestral works and part of his vocal works with orchestra have been released on CD, and today Hausegger’s significance as a composer is at least under international discussion. This is a curious situation – not only in light of the fact that colleagues such as Richard Strauss or Heinz Tiessen held the ‚Natursymphonie‘ in high esteem. …

For more details

CHAMBER MUSIC

Brewaeys, Luc
Het raadsel van de sfinks, for Cello, Clarinet Bb, Percussion, Piano / Harpsichord and Violin
(score and parts, first print)

(Mortsel, 1959 – Vilvoorde, 2015)

Luc Brewaeys is undeniably one of the most important composers of his generation in Flanders. With a substantial body of work, comprised of solo pieces, chamber music and ensemble pieces and a particularly large orchestral output, including eight symphonies, Brewaeys manifested himself as one of the leading figures in new music in Flanders. Even more than the size of his oeuvre, it’s the quality of his music that gave Brewaeys his reputation. He himself describes his musical position as typically Flemish in the sense that he could absorb influences from the larger neighbouring countries without being straitjacketed into a strict, uniform aesthetic. This means there are French influences (Pierre Boulez, Tristan Murail, Gérard Grisey) which can mostly be heard in Brewaeys’s harmonic system, a German preference for thoughtful/ingenious and structural organisation and even a melodic flair, which can almost be regarded as Italian. The fact that his mentors are just as international can therefore not be a coincidence: André Laporte, Franco Donatoni, Brian Ferneyhough and in those same formative years he stayed in close contact with Iannis Xenakis. …

For more details