Symphony for the braves
 symphonic suite in 7 pictures, 2013

It is a combination of events that made me start the writing of this work. First of all, I love Normandy, I live here and I am passionate by its history, especially that of the recent 1944' landing. When you live there, you can't escape... After visiting all the unpenning sites in my youth, we lived from 2003 to 2008 in the Villa La Mouette, 6 Cale Neptune (the name of the Operation Neptune - Overlord) in Arromanches. We took advantage of these 5 years to visit again the places of legend. Already 30 years ago there, when I lived in Caen during my graduate studies, coastal paths that connect the beaches and port cities in this maritime border of Calvados were the places chosen for my runner's trips. Then I came to the Omaha Beach American cemetery by the beaches and cliffs. I have always been deeply moved by this place and I am very often returned on it. It always made me wanted to compose a piece to talk about the deep feelings that were mine reliving those historical moments in these tragic places of memory. Then, at the end of 2012, at the conclusion of the Cosmic Studies writing, the Brazilian painter Luca Vitali (1943-2013) - met thanks to my friend the Brazilian pianist Jose Eduardo Martins - whose pictorial works have inspired these pieces, sent me a fresco in drypoint it is difficult to describe. The explanation is below, under his extraordinary graphic interpretation of my "musical fight".

Finally, under the perspective of the 70th anniversary of the DDay in June 6th, 2014, are prepared here all sorts of events and films that will be released on this occasion. I enjoyed the decadal birthday to write this work and talk about my closeness with all this local history, that of my parents and grand-parents from Normandy and the Hague lived (from Calvados and Manche like most of my ancestors since the Vikings and probably before). I dedicate this work to all the young men that left home without return, died almost without fighting on our beaches, in our countryside, our villages and on our roads, which have definitely mass sacrificed their youth and their life to give us the peace, once again after the World War I slaughter. I also dedicate it to Luca Vitali and his masterful drawing (below). He was a brave and heroic man in the best sense of the words, all backed by an unique graphical talent, deep humanity, sensitivity to edge. I will never forget all of this. These meetings and events are branded forever in the depths of my soul and provided in the fall of 2013 the opportunity to reach the conclusion of this old and dear to my heart project. I'm now particularly attached to the cantabile theme "Peace for the Braves".

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This work isn't a hymn to war, but rather one to the courage it took for young men of good will, came from around the world but barely out of adolescence, to go into battle with the aim to save their country, their family, those of others against the aggressors of the evil empire, very often in contradiction with their life plans and the deep desire of the human soul to live in peace, landed abruptly on our coasts fortified by the enemy in conditions which left them no chance of returning alive to their homes. I also kept in my mind the horror and the nightmare had had to live my grandfather Remy Gourdin-Serveniere (1887-1975) when he was a young pharmacist and had to officiate as a surgeon in the trenches of Verdun between 1914 and 1918, despite the fact that he had never really talked about this tragic part of his personal history.

After soliciting the organization of the commemorations, Symphony for the braves obtained the official accreditation, as a private work related to the commemoration, and was therefore authorized by the organization to use its logo on this page. Similarly, a month after the commemorations, the score and the recording were sent to the US Embassy in France to take place in the private art collections of the US Presidency. In return, the US Ambassador in France, His Excellency Mark A. Taplin, sent us an official letter of thanks and congratulations on behalf of his country. But, of course, alongside this main tribute to the wanderings along the Normandy coast, we mustn't forget to associate to the musical deploration the memory of the young soldiers of dozens other countries (Free French Forces , Polish, Western, Belgian, Czechoslovakian, Dutch and Norwegian Armed Forces, etc.), which, apart from Americans, British, Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders, took part in the reconquest of Europe, even though Omaha Beach is the more emblematic site of this historic epic.

Sea war march
In the dark of the moon
Trouble mood before the landing
After fighting
Peace for the braves



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Reenergizacao da Normandia - Luca VITALI (2012)

Following the conclusion of my composition and editing work for the Cosmic Studies sent in mid-December of 2012 to Jose Eduardo Martins, Luca Vitali, the main inspiration of these works send me the above inimitable drawing with the following comments (english translation followed by the original text in Portuguese) :

"Dear Francois,
  Dear Master,

I try to express with this engraving that moment to highlight this boy, Francois, who lives so close to a place which was the scene of tears, pain and suffering, one of the saddest episodes of the current history. Undoubtedly, the virtuosity of the artist's cosmic mind will revitalize this part of earth. The place where you live, I'm sure, is as beautiful as what you gave me and "D" is for God
(Dieu in French and Deus in Portuguese), not for the (D) day of an invasion.

The representation of a disarmed soldier with the help of a barbed wire, seems a musical score line ending with a key, if I'm not mistaken, in my opinion, your body and your energy are seeds for the revitalization of a place generating the pain, suffering and hatred. His artistic presence and that of his family are drops of a new energy in this place that was once the scene of a bloody period. All my work, all my lines are part of a hope of planting which can't only occur in the lands that are your good deeds and the spirit of master Jose Eduardo with all his musicality."

"Querido Francois,
  Querido Mestre,

Tento expressar com esta gravura a que ponto chega a luz desse moco, Francois, para estar tao proximo de um local que foi palco de lagrimas, dor e sofrimento, num dos mais tristes episodios da historia atual. Sem sombra de duvida, a virtuosidade cosmica do espirito desse artista ajuda a reenergizar aquele pedaco do planeta. O local onde ele mora, tenho certeza, e belo como voce me transmitiu e o "D" e de Deus e nao de invasao.

A figura de um soldado desarmado usando os arames farpados como linha de pauta musical e terminando com uma clave de sol, se e que nao estou enganado, no meu modo de ver, a sua figura e sua energia sao sementes para uma reenergizacao de um local que gerou dor, sofrimento e odio. Sua presenca artistica e sua familia sao gotas de uma nova energia para esse lugar que ja foi um dia sangrento. Todo meu trabalho, os meus tracos, fazem parte da esperanca de um plantio que so pode acontecer em terras boas que sao as suas obras e espirito e do Mestre Jose Eduardo com toda sua musicalidade."