Starting today, I will post my twelve Songs of Hope op. 116 1 on my Facebook page, one song a day, each one with a short written introduction. I composed these pieces in March and April 2015 and wrote a blog post about them back then. My hope is that you will enjoy each of those 12 pieces as much as I enjoyed writing them. They are near and dear to my heart because they mark the beginning of an important new chapter in my life as a composer.
For your listening convenience, I will embed each new song as they appear on my Facebook page, so that you will find the complete cycle here.
D minor. Hope starts with gratitude. However cruel life can be at times, there are always reasons to be grateful. A grateful heart will be lighter and happier, whatever the circumstances. This piece was written for the Fondation Cancer to celebrate their annual “Relais pour la vie”.
2. Forgotten Dream
E flat minor. Look deep into your heart and remember your forgotten dreams. They are a path to happiness. Pursue them and fight for them. Our dreams give hope, first to ourselves, and then, hopefully, to others too. Everything is possible!
E minor. Sometimes we need to go back to the past and walk down memory lane. Memories can reignite our hope. This piece is a 4-part chorale and could also be sung or played by a string quartet. The middle part consists of a dialogue between the upper and the middle voice who imitate each other in canon.
F minor. Brutal strokes of fate can radically change our lives in the blink of an eye. I remember several situations in my life where words and good advice failed because the circumstances were just too dramatic. In order to regain hope, we sometimes need to go through valleys of pain. There is no way around them. This piece was written in loving memory of Claude Rousseau (1982-2015), my cousin’s husband and father of two beautiful little girls. May the light of hope always shine in their hearts, even in times of desolation and sorrow.
5. Youth Memories
F sharp minor. This is another song about reflecting on the past. At first you hear the melody in the right hand. Then melody and accompaniment (left hand) are exchanged, like we were looking back from two different perspectives. The music slows down and the theme appears in octaves, with short echoes at the end of each phrase. After a very soft interlude the melody appears once more in the left hand. Finally we hear the theme one last time in its original form. Hopefully, the memories that the music evokes will induce feelings of gratitude in the listener.
6. The Cross
G minor. As a Christian I can find no stronger sign of hope than the cross which symbolizes God’s eternal love for his children. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
7. Flying Doves
G sharp minor. When I wrote this piece, I saw flying doves in my mind, the birds that are inseparably associated with peace. The peaceful melody floats over a soft sparkling movement in the left hand, and it quietly fades away into higher spheres towards the end.
A minor. The theme of this piece is composed of an ascending scale followed by a falling motif of three notes that is repeated three times. After a transition to D minor the theme is inverted, so that the scale goes down and the falling three-note motif moves upwards. This leads to a solemn “refrain” with dark chords in the left hand. The atmosphere of this song evokes a sense of wisdom that we can apprehend with a quiet and listening heart.
B flat minor. Whenever we are struggling with life, we can always find relief and hope by bringing to mind God’s grace. There is no failure if we keep opening our hearts for the grace that exists in the present moment. Grace is a light that is always shining, even if we have lost sight of it. The light of grace is here, right now, always.
10. Tree Song
B minor. I love trees and birds. “Tree Song” is a meditation on the wind, the woods and bird songs. Nature is such a wonderful source of inspiration, strength and hope. Spend plenty of time in nature and your hope will be strong.
C minor. When Luxembourgish poet Lambert Schlechter lost most of his 10.000 books in a devastating fire, the theme of “Fire” immediately entered my mind. It is a dramatic piece which depicts the destructive power of the flames. But nothing can destroy the fire of hope, and with an amazing energy, 73-year-old Lambert immediately began to write a new chapter of his life.
C sharp minor. I wanted to finish my cycle “Songs of Hope” with light, beautiful sounds that lift the soul of the listener into regions of peace and hope. Even though the most beautiful and spheric music can only be a hint of paradise, I couldn’t think of a better title for this final “Song of Hope”. The composition of those twelve pieces was a moving journey that led me from valleys of tears to mountains of light and hope. I hope that you, dear listener, have enjoyed the music and that it gave you new hope, courage and positive ideas. The “Songs of Hope” will remain on my page, so feel free to come back and listen to your favorite pieces as often as you like. God bless you.
“op.” stands for the Latin word “opus” and means “work”. So it’s my work number 116. ↩