1(=picc).1(=ca).1.1 - 2100 - harp - strings
Full score, vocal score and parts for hire
I have known Alphonse de Lamartine's poem Le Lac since my early twenties, and have often thought of setting it to music. I was delighted when the opportunity came, when in 2016 I was commissioned by the Orchestra of the Swan to write a piece for April Fredrick, to whom Le Lac is dedicated.
Le Lac is one of the most famous of French Romantic poems. It was inspired by Julie Charles, a married woman with whom Lamartine was in love. They had planned to meet in August 1817 at the Lac du Bourget in the Jura Mountains, where they had been together the previous year, but Julie, stricken with tuberculosis, could not come, and died soon afterwards. Le Lac recalls their meeting in 1816, when they took a boat out onto the lake. Lamartine imagines that the lake preserves the memory of their love. Although most of the words of the poem are spoken by the poet, it seemed quite appropriate to set it for soprano, especially as the most crucial passage in the poem, beginning 'O temps! suspends ton vol', is given to the woman.
The opening of the piece evokes the calm waters of the lake. There are two orchestral interludes, which comment on what has been sung immediately before. At the end, a quiet meditation on the strings returns the music to its opening D major and to the soprano's first 'ainsi', played here by solo cello and harp.