Composition Department

Madame Bovary

Ballet Suite for Orchestra (1996) 
Indiana University Concert Orchestra; Don Freund, conductor

From The Music of Don Freund Vol. 1 IUSM-10. Purchase CD online at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Marketplace.

Pt. I Scene 1 

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 Pt. I Scene 2 

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 Pt. II Scene 2 

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 Pt. II Scene 4 

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 Pt. II Scene 5 

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 Pt. III Scene 1 

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 Pt. III Scene 2 

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 Pt. III Scene 3 

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 Pt. IV Scene 6 

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The Don Freund/Jacques Cesbron ballet Madame Bovary is based on the celebrated (and once notorious) mid-19th century novel by Gustave Flaubert. The score is divided into four parts with 20 sections; 9 of these are heard in this suite. 

 Part I 
[1] Scene 1 - Convent School Reveries: We first meet Emma Roault in her early teens, steeped in the sensual mysticism of her convent school. She revels in the languor of the incense, the colored light of the stained glass, the ritual of confession. An old seamtress secretively brings the girls novels, which dazzle Emma... 

[2] Scene 2 - Romance Visions: "They were all love, lovers, sweethearts, persecuted ladies fainting in lonely pavilions, horses ridden to death on every page, gentlemen brave as lions, gentle as lambs..." 

Emma, returning home from the convent, encounters Charles Bovary, a simple, unimaginative, unexciting country physician called to her home to set her father's broken leg. Emma imagines Charles as the hero of her visions; she accepts his proposal of marriage. 

Part II 
Charles adores his bride, but Emma soon realizes that her husband and her life are far removed from her romantic dreams. The dull routine of the town-folk passing by her window contrasts with visions from her novels. 

[3] Scene 2 - The Invitation: The somber mood is broken by excitement over an invitation from a Marquis for Charles and Emma to attend a ball at the château La Vaubyessard. The maid helps Emma pick out a gown. 

The ball begins with a formal entry dance. Emma is entranced by the aristocratic guests and the exotic conversations. Charles appears awkwardly out of place. 

[4] Scene 4 - Slow Waltz: The waltzing begins slowly, elegantly...

[5] Scene 5 - Fast Waltz: A dashing dandy takes Emma's hand, the room begins to whirl, and Emma nearly swoons with exhilaration. As the ball scene dissipates, Emma is left to her memories and fantasies, and is more than ever disenchanted with Charles and her mundane life. 

Part III 
[6] Scene 1 - Infatuation with Léon: Back home in their village, Charles introduces to Emma two characters: Lheureux, the draper, who wishes to sell her expensive finery and lend her money; and Léon, a young, starry-eyed law clerk, who falls in love with Emma. Their infatuation is deeply felt, but Platonic; Léon decides to leave for Paris, and Emma is bitter that she resisted his love. 

[7] Scene 2 - The Fair / Rodolphe's Advances: The town is abuzz as the regional agricultural fair begins; Charles re-introduces Emma to wealthy landowner (and heartless womanizer) Rodolphe Boulanger. While visiting dignitaries and bureaucrats and Charles address the public, Rodolphe whisks Emma away from the crowd and woos her with Romantic clichés. 

[8] Scene 3 - Seduction in the Forest: With Charles's naive blessing, Rodolphe takes Emma to the forest for some fresh air. At first she fends off his advances, but soon yields, and savors the thrill of having a lover. 

Emma is carried away with delight over her role as a mistress, and goes into debt buying extravagant gifts for Rodolphe from Lheureux. She arranges secret rendez-vous at Rodolphe's château, and demands that he prove his love by running away with her. Rodolphe pretends to acquiesce, and Emma buys expensive traveling attire from Lheureux. Back at his château, Rodolphe cynically writes Emma a hackneyed letter of farewell. When Emma receives Rodolphe's letter her world collapses. 

Part IV 
Emma and Léon rediscover their love. She becomes obsessed with her affair, making regular trips to Rouen to see Léon, and buying finery from Lheureux. Emma's love becomes more passionate, wild, and violent, overwhelming Léon. Lheureux demands payment on Emma's debts, and the Bovary's furniture and effects are put on auction. Emma implores first Léon and then Rodolphe (who has returned to his château) to rescue her from her financial disaster but they are unable or unwilling to help her. All her dreams are shattered; she runs to the apothecary shop, finds arsenic and eats it straight from her hand. 

[9] Scene 6 - Throes of Death: As she is racked with pain from the poison, Emma finds her only solace in her visions of religious passion and the constant love of Charles, whose life withers with the loss of the wife he still sees as beautiful and guiltless.

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