A message from Hugh Ronzani
One of the composers featured in Notre-Dame
I was approached early in the artistic development process of Notre Dame by Paul Dyer, Artistic Director of the Brandenburg, who was keen to commission a new work to be performed as the finale for the concert. His brief was very simple, “Hope – amidst the smoke and haze, the dawn of the new day after the fire”.
Several things were weighing on my mind at that time; a personal loss in the family, disbelief with what had transpired in Paris, the mass outpouring of emotions worldwide. French is the language I speak at home and I have a strong emotional connection with Notre-Dame de Paris having lived myself some 500m from the great cathedral for several years. I had lit candles for lost loved ones there, and watched the sun set and rise again over its flying buttresses. However, it was not until I read through a draft script for this project prepared by the wonderful Alana Valentine that I found my inspiration for l’aube. Her text included a quote from Victor Hugo’s novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame:
It is a graft which shoots up, a sap which circulates, a vegetation which starts forth anew.
For me, Victor Hugo’s ‘graft’ is like the light we see with each new dawn; it grows, builds slowly but inexorably in intensity until finally the entire disc of the sun becomes visible over the horizon, rising higher still. The dawn is a reminder to all that whatever terrible things may have transpired during the night the light and warmth of a new day brings hope.