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Jean-Guy Ropartz’s Libretto Of His 3rd Symphony Composed In 1905


Today’s sharing from the Blue House of HYGIEA is a translation from Jean-Guy Ropartz’s libretto of his 3rd Symphony composed in 1905, in the late after quakes of the Dreyfus case that has shaken so much French society, revealing its inner lethal divisions and dreadful shadows that were to be set lose soon after. It was premiered in Paris in 1906. Its message was, is, of such a spiritual nature and nobility that many did not know how to apprehend it, how to understand it, as this work was, is, of the level of long-lasting masterpieces that are revealed only by the patient work of time. Once detached from the limbo they were thrown in, as unclassifiable, unlabeled and free from the trends of the period, an uncompromising testimony of the follies of the time surges with their ugly, scandalous, procession of trauma and lasting deep open wounds. Many dismissed it as ‘eccentric, naïve, utopic, even socialist!’

But this music and words have created a powerful medium for us to be touched, as we are placed in front of an awesome artwork. Ropartz is one of the men that we would sincerely miss the company of, had we lived in the same period, as true to his ideal and solid in his virtues, an honorable man exactly like Alberic Magnard, his close friend who wrote the mesmerizing ‘Guercoeur’ opera, that blossoms into the same golden fields that of Ropartz 3rd Symphony: Both saw into men’s heart, both were appalled and both offered a long-lasting vision of reconciliation and atonement for us to discover, ponder and later cultivate for the sake of Humanity; helping us pacing towards lasting Harmony and Peace. Our imperfect working translation from the French original shared with the pictures.


Part I

‘Night comes to an end…The stars, one after the other lose themselves into the birthing dawn. Mists hover then fade away.And over the Sea, upon the Plain and over the Forest, the sky is clearing, the Sun emerges joyfully in its vibrant light embracing Nature!’


Part II

‘Nature, Nature, in your joy, how can the despair of human hearts matter to you ?O calm Sea, your calm waters, alike to changing moiré fabrics, skimming the shores with their carefree caress…And yet, the frail vessels, cradled by the still waves, are carrying human despair! O Plain, under your lukewarm winds, you shiver with pleasure in your golden-haired ears of wheat, already heavily ripened…And yet, the tears of men at the time of arduous harvest, have fertilized your dry soil! O Forest, your joyous soul beats and sing in the branches that rustle and in the songs of the birds…And yet, the shadow of your oaks spreads upon the vain altar where men begged deaf gods! Sun, you are shining…But your light is powerless in piercing the night of our hearts! Who would tell us the reason why we live? Why we suffer? Suffer, in our bodies, in our hearts! Why? Man tramples man, unceasing struggles exhausts us. Oppressed under laws that the strongest impose upon us, enslaved by kings, crushed by masters, we cry, no one comfort us, we shout, no one listens to us and our eyes are tired to look upon the sky, in the vain wait, the vain hope, for a God to finally show himself!’


Part III

‘Poor humans with wretched hearts, your evil is within.Everyone groans upon one’s own despair, everyone confines only with himself, everyone loves only himself, and this love only engenders hate.Love one another and you will penetrate life, love one another is the only law, the sole science, love one another!For your suffering to be mild, relieve the suffering of others. May your labor, freely accepted, strive towards the happiness of your kind, and it will be light weighted. Wear love and justice, open your soul to goodness!ConclusionDivine speech, comforting speech! The night we are walking through brightens; the veil of shadows is tearing apart, and here, at the night of Humanity, a new dawn rises over the world!Love one another! Justice and truth, peace and goodness are sharing the earth. Love one another! Humanity transformed rises towards the city of joy and ideal freedom where kings and masters are no more, where the sole law of love has superseded the useless and obsolete laws!O Nature, now is the time for rejoicing! O nature mix your joy to the immense mirth of men!O still Sea, upon you calm waters rock happy vessels carrying human glee!O Plain, offer to men’s desire the splendor of your golden ears of wheat that are heavily ripened!O Forest, may your soul sing in the branches that rustle and in the songs of the birds about the glory of new altars!And you, Sun, rise radiant! Unite your vibrant light to the fires of the ideal Sun of Truth, Justice and Love!’



Jean-Guy Ropartz by the sea © dr Anaclase


Original French
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Jean-Guy Ropartz’s Libretto Of His 3rd Symphony Composed In 1905

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