The piece is inspired by the author’s imaginary journey to the city of Belfort (France). Located in the northeastern part of France, a few kilometers from Lorraine, Belfort is famous for its citadel and fortification dating back to the seventeenth century. The first documentation of the county of Belfort, though, dates to 1226. Subsequently, the area underwent changes with the construction of new buildings and structures. The city is therefore rich in imposing monuments, and it is precisely on some of these artifacts that the composer’s music focuses. The Medieval Castle (thirteenth century), the Cathedral of St. Christopher (eighteenth century), the Tower of Bourgeois (thirteenth century) and the Lion of Belfort (nineteenth century), are indeed the most important monuments of the city.
The piece is divided into three parts. The first recreates what could have been the courtly life in the castle; dances, banquets, ladies and knights are musically portrayed in the first few minutes of the composition, when, in the distance from the upper section of the citadel, we hear the bells of the Cathedral of St. Christopher, which, as it was in the 1700s, is still today a meeting point for the many faithful of the area. The second part of the piece takes us from the Cathedral of St. Christopher to the thirteenth-century Tower of Bourgeois, which served to defend the citadel. The view of what is now a crowded city is replaced by green and sumptuous hills. Finally, the third and last part, features the magnificent Lion of Belfort, which with a proud look in his eyes protects the city and its inhabitants. As symbol of majesty and strength, the lion is a colossal statue created by the French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi, and it commemorates the heroic resistance of the city during the Prussian siege of 1870.