Gergely Madaras conducts Franck's Les Béatitudes

Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège: 200th birthday of César Franck

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Anne-Catherine Gillet — Soprano

Héloïse Mas — Mezzo-soprano

Ève-Maud Hubeaux — Mezzo-soprano

John Irvin — Tenor

Artavazd Sargsyan — Tenor

David Bizic — Baritone

Patrick Bolleire — Bass

Yorck Felix Speer — Bass

Hungarian National Choir — Choir

Csaba Somos — Chorus director

Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège

Gergely Madaras — Conductor

Program notes

In 2022 the city of Liège, Belgium comes together to celebrate the 200th birthday of one of its favorite sons, the composer César Franck! To close out a year of festivities in his honor, the Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, led by the marvelous Gergely Madaras, and the Hungarian National Choir take on one of Franck’s greatest masterpieces: Les Béatitudes!

This grand oratorio, comprising a prologue and eight movements, represents a theological debate between celestial and terrestrial voices staged to the words of the gospel of Matthew. Franck spent ten years completing this work of biblical proportions, seeing it as the most sublime expression of his spiritual life. Tension, doubt, passion, and faith in humankind unite in this musical prayer, both personal and universal in scope, a monument of sacred music presented by the ensemble who best knows the work of this underappreciated composer.

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