Symphonie no. 3, opus 42
Une symphonie de Guerre pour soprano et orchestre

Composition Date: 2016
Duration: 00:28:00
Genre: Solo Voice, With Full Orchestra


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 2 x Flute
  • 2 x Oboe
  • 2 x Clarinet
  • 2 x Bassoon
  • 2 x Horn
  • 2 x Trumpet
  • 1 x Timpani
  • 1 x Percussion
  • 1 x Soprano
  • 1 x Unspecified bowed strings
Instrumentation Set Number 2:
  • 1 x Soprano
  • 1 x Full orchestra
Programme Note:
Symphony no. 3 opus 42
"A war Symphony"

Symphony no. 3, subtitled "A War Symphony", is a meditation on the effects of war on humanity. Not necessarily intended to evoke specific images, it nonetheless has some visual and thematically symbolic elements.

The first movement, "Conflict", is introduced bu two brief lines from Walt Whitman and presents this conflict as a battle of disparate and dissonant musical elements. Rising and falling major 7ths are an important musical motif, along with some 12-tone material and free atonality. The violence of the movement is contrasted in a lyrical flute solo wrapped in ambiguous quartal harmony.

The second movement "Dirge" is an extended setting of the Whitman poem "Reconciliation" for soprano soloist with orchestra. In it are quoted two themes linked with death : the "Dies Irae" motif and the bugle call "Taps".

The third movement, "Scherzo" - here a "joke" without humour nor punchline, opposes two elements: the dissonance of conflict with the more consonant harmony of hope and optimism. There are two important musical elements in the movement: the rising 7th motif, and a quote from the 14th century song "L'homme Armé" (The Armed Man).

The finale, "Reconciliation", begins with a falling motif, cascades of melodic lines slowly dropping to form a harmonic cloud. The soprano enters on a melody setting words from Whitman's "O Sun of Real Peace". The tempo changes and a fugue starts in the woodwinds, hesitant joy at first, peace is on the horizon. The soprano returns, and sings of the end of the war. The orchestra takes up the refrain and builds to a joyful peroration.

Michel R. Edward

Premiere Information:
7 mai 2017, Maple Park Church, Seattle, WA; Octava Chamber Orchestra, Johan Louwersheimer, dir.


  • Call Number:
  • MV 1400 E25sy3
  • Genre:
  • Solo Voice, With Full Orchestra
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • November 8, 2016
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 partition (vi, 98 p.) ;
    104 Pages
    Height: 36 cm
    Width: 28 cm
  • Language Information
  • Language of libretto: English
  • Additional Information:
  • Pour soprano et orchestre: 2222/2200/ timb, 1 perc, cordes (66442 min.)
    Percussion: Glockenspiel, xylophone, Snare Drum, Tamtam, Bass Drum.
    En Quatre mouvements: I. Conflict -- II. Dirge -- III. Scherzo -- IV. Reconciliation.
    Oeuvre déposée au CMC Québec.
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