Ver Sacrum! From the Vienna Secession to the École de Nancy, from Brussels to Prague and Paris, the mantra of Art Nouveau burst forth in the four corners of Europe: The rites of spring! Spring, because stylised vegetal volutes formed one of its core decorative motifs. Spring, because those months in which life’s forces undergo reawakening and regeneration have always inspired innovative movements. Today, this season of effervescence and renewal in the arts is inspiring Belgian clarinettist Annelien Van Wauwe and Marta Gardolińska around four works of Art Nouveau music. Composer Lili Boulanger’s life was as fleeting as spring, cut short in the prime of her youth—and at the peak of her talent—at the age of 24. And this spring, her voice can be heard again in the form of one of her last completed scores—a hymn to Nature imbued with freshness, clarity, and joy. Swirling and languorous, the clarinet takes on jazz-infused accents in Debussy’s often underrated Rhapsody. Taking the form of a piece for a competition, the composer offers a reinterpretation of his Prélude à l’Après-midi d’un faune in which the impressionist moirés are exchanged for the vivid colours and tawny hues of a new palette. Chausson’s symphony is also evocative of Springtime by the pastoral and lyrical atmosphere which emerges from the sombre winterlike prelude. Yet it is also conscious of the ambivalences of the beautiful season which beneath the bright light of a resurgent sun conceals the feverish writhing of awakened desire. And since spring is first and foremost about creation, a new work commissioned from the composer Édith Canat de Chizy will crown this jubilatory and vernally-inspired programme.
Orchestra of the Opéra national de Lorraine
Annelien Van Wauwe
D’un matin de printemps
Rhapsody for clarinet in F Flat
A newly commissioned work for 2022
Symphony in F Flat Major, Opus 20