Music: Henri Duparc - Lénore - Poème symphonique d'après Bürger (1874-75) - Data in English

Posted by Ricardo Marcenaro | Posted in | Posted on 10:29

Henri Duparc - Lénore - Poème symphonique d'après Bürger (1874-75)

Lénore, poème symphonique d'après Bürger (1874-75)

A symphonic poem by French composer Henri Duparc (1848-1933), based on the famous 1773 Gothic ballad "Lenore" by Gottfried August Bürger, which is considered a foundational work in the development of Romantic literature.

The following synopsis of "Lenore" is taken from Wikipedia:

Although the Battle of Prague is over, William, the fiancé of a young woman named Lenore, has not returned from the Seven Years' War yet. Since he moved into to battle along with King Frederick, Lenore impatiently worries about William every day and longs for his return, but has not heard any news from him. When the other warriors return from the war without William, she begins to quarrel with God, complaining about His unfairness and proclaiming that He has never done her any good, which prompts her mother to ask for her daughter's forgiveness because she knows that such a thought is blasphemous and will condemn her to Hell. Lenore's mother also suggests that William probably found another woman in Hungary, and that Lenore should forget him.

At midnight, a mysterious stranger who looks like William knocks on the door searching for Lenore and asks her to accompany him on horseback to their marriage bed. Lenore happily gets on the stranger's black steed and the two ride at a frenetic pace, under the moonlight, along a path filled with eerie landscapes. Terrorised, Lenore demands to know why they are riding so fast, to which he responds that they are doing so because "the dead travel fast" ("die Todten reiten schnell"). Lenore asks William to "leave the dead alone" ("Laß sie ruhn, die Todten").

At sunrise, their journey ends and they arrive at the cemetery's doors. As the horse goes through the tombstones, the knight begins to lose its human appearance, and is revealed as Death, a skeleton with scythe and hourglass. The marriage bed is shown to be the grave where, together with his shattered armour, William's skeleton lies. The ground beneath Lenore's feet begins to crumble and the spirits, dancing in the moonlight, surround dying Lenore, declaring that "no one quarrels with God in Heaven" ("mit Gott im Himmel hadre nicht").

The full text is available (in French) at Project Gutenberg:

Conductor: Michel Plasson
Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse

Music: Henri Duparc - Lénore - Poème symphonique d'après Bürger (1874-75) - Data in English

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