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Symphony in C sharp minor op. 10 (Charlotte Sohy)




Lent. Vif – Vif. Lent. Vif. – Vif


Charlotte Sohy’s Symphony in C sharp minor, begun in the autumn of 1914 and completed in October 1917, was composed at a time that prompted obvious associations with the Great War — the subtitle it is now given. The death in September 1914 of the composer Albéric Magnard, who was close to the Labey-Sohy couple, seems to have been one of the elements that triggered the composition of the work. Like Magnard’s Symphony No. 4, it adopts the unusual key of C sharp minor. One must remain cautious, however, in considering Sohy’s score as a direct evocation of the conflict: there is no programmatic indication that it is intended to illustrate the battlefields or daily life on the home front. The symphony’s resolutely post-romantic atmosphere places the listener on a tightrope between diffuse anxiety and sketchy hopes. Within a tripartite structure, Charlotte Sohy advances by means of contrasts towards a final movement that synthesizes the entire work. The primal scherzo of the second movement is interrupted by a dark trio possibly evoking the anguish of this young mother of four learning of her husband’s death at the front in 1915, before learning it was not true. It is unclear why this work remained unperformed, while others of Sohy’s symphonic scores were played by the Société des Concerts or the Concerts Lamoureux between the two wars. It waited over a century before being heard publicly, in June 2019 in Besançon, conducted by Debora Waldman. 

    Person - 1
  • SOHY, Charlotte (1887-1955)
  • Theme - 1
  • Genre – The Symphony in 19th-century France