Les Deux Âmes
Les Deux Âmes. Called a symphonic poem by the composer but actually an oratorio, composed 1906?-9 by Alexis Contant to a text by the journalist Henri Roullaud. Scored for two solo voices, narrator, choir, and orchestra, this second oratorio by Contant was premiered 16 Nov 1913 during Sunday matinee and evening concerts at the Princess Theatre in Montreal with J.J. Shea as conductor and the baritone Joseph Saucier and the tenor J.E.F. Monday as soloists. A complete performance (the first since its premiere),was given at Edmonton's Alberta Jubilee Auditorium on 12 Nov 1989, to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of CHFA radio station. The presentation was broadcast live on the CBC French network and featured the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the Richard Eaton Singers, conducted by Uri Mayer. The story, an allegory, deals with the relationship of two lonely souls - a young orphan and his unidentified guide - who wander around the world falling prey to the temptations of good and evil. Les Deux Àmes was submitted to the conductor Walter Damrosch, who expressed his admiration for it in a letter to the composer dated 10 Mar 1910. The 344-page original manuscript of the oratorio was deposited at the National Library of Canada in 1971.