Lucien Haudebert's 'Dieu Vainqueur' in context

Cope, Andrew (2015) Lucien Haudebert's 'Dieu Vainqueur' in context. (MA(R) thesis), Kingston University, .


Lucien Haudebert (1877-1963) composed his first major work, 'Dieu Vainquer', subtitled 'Psaume en trois chants, while in the front-line trenches of the French army during World War One. This work expressed his faith and hope in peace and universal reconciliation between all peoples. Haudebert drew upon his lived experience of war, and expressed these experiences musically in 'Dieu Vainquer' in order to convey his message. In so doing he reached for particular forms of musical expression. He continued to draw on his experience of the war for themes in the period after the end of the conflict and aspects of the musical style forged in 'Dieu Vainquer' became the basis for a new and individual musical language. In compositions of the period 1918-1923 he developed a modal system of composition that allowed him to use a basically tonal musical language that was expressively expanded in order to serve his compositional and aesthetic purposes. This is presented in detail along with analyses of two short compositions to show how his compositional system served him creatively. 'Dieu Vainquer' received a number of performances in the immediate post-war period and this dissertation considers the critical reception of this work. There was a difference of opinion among critics with regard to Haudebert's music and the factors influencing these different positions are examined. The text of 'Dieu Vainquer' was written by the composer's wife, Mary. She sent him portions of the text while he was in the trenches and he sent her back completed sections of the score for recopying. The correspondence that resulted from this exchange affords an almost unprecedented insight into the compositional methods of a composer. By carefully cross-comparing references in these letters and also taking into account compositional sketches and the final published scores, Haudebert's compositional procedures have been reconstructed.

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