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Matthijs Vermeulen - La veille (1917) 2/2

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Uploaded on Nov 11, 2009

Matthijs Vermeulen (1888-1967)

La veille (1917) poem by François Porché (1977-1944) for contralto and piano

Jard van Nes, mezzo-soprano and Jan van der Meer, piano.

The composer outlined the subject matter of "La veille" as follows; "The events the poet François Porché describes in 'La veille' take place during the night before a battle. The title of the poem could be translated as 'Eve' or 'Vigil'. A woman, solitary in her silent room by the bed where her child is sleeping, sinks into reflection. Although around her all is still calm she thinks of all those things she holds dear which she feels are threatened by the war. The urge to pray wells up in her imperceptibly and gradually becomes stronger. Every object, every living thing that appears to her seems want to pray, even more urgently and strongly march past her in a vision; she takes leave of each one with a thought which is still prayer".

The work was first performed on 12th January 1919 by Berthe Seroen and Evert Cornelis. This was the first time Vermeulen heard one of his own composititons, and it is also the only work of his that was to be heard in the years to come with a certain modest regularity. In 1932 Veremeulen orchestrated it; the orchestral version did not receive its Dutch premiere until 1954. Alongside "Les filles du roi d'Espagne" and Symphony no. 2 (1919-20) La veille is one of the absolute highpoints of Dutch music in and around World War I

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