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Stehman: Marche funebre

April 28, 2010

The National Orchestra of Belgium
(L’Orchestre nationale de Belgique; Het Nationaal Orkest van Belgie)
Under the Direction of Edouard van Remoortel

Jacques Stehman: Marche funèbre

When we last heard from Jacques Stehman, I quoted some anonymous music critic from the French and Flemish liner notes of his Symphonie de poche: “The music of Jacques Stehman is clear and simple in style. It is a happy music.”

Well, this one isn’t a happy music. This is the sound of utter despair. Composers often take the opportunity of a requiem or a funeral march to reach for some hope that will carry us through present grief to acceptance and ultimate joy. Not Stehman. There is no hope in his funeral march: there is only grief. This is the flip side of being “clear and simple in style.”

This recording was an unadvertised filler on the same 10-inch LP that carried the Symphonie de poche. You don’t even know it exists until you take the record out of the sleeve and see that there’s an extra track on side 2. So it’s very interesting to compare the two pieces: Stehman has used almost the same melodic elements to construct a joyous fanfare at the beginning of the Symphonie de poche and a cry of despair at the climax of his Marche funebre. What does it mean? I have no idea. But I advise listening to this piece when you’re feeling pretty good about the world. If you’re feeling down, believe me, it won’t help.


From → Classical

  1. centuri permalink

    the link un fortunately does not work anymore……..can you pls fix it again?

    • Dr. Boli permalink

      Thank you for pointing out the problem. The link has been corrected, and many apologies for the inconvenience.

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