Bluebeard, from the famous fairy tale by Charles Perrault, is a fantastic character. Throughout history, several persons were compared to him, such as Henri Désiré Landru, for robbing and killing 10 women.
The most famous of all BBs is most likely Henry VIII (1491-1547), King of England, who married at least 6 women. Searching for love, perhaps?
Without a doubt, he was concerned with the survival of the kingdom. Many have insinuated that his quest for women was driven solely by the desire for an heir to the throne. Some of his wives were indeed - on his order - executed.
Whatever truth lays in all of these stories, a man living a life so full of love (he also had several extramarital relationships) is at the very least, a very passionate man.
This programmed suite (even though it was through-composed) depicts the story of this character. After the introduction of the main characters (Henry VIII and his 6 wives), we encounter the image of a tormented king, spiritually haunted by his loved ones.
Each character embodies their own theme, which reflects their personality and which is translated in many ways: theme with variations, bass ostinato, melody with accompaniment, thematic transformations, counter point etc.
In the finale, these themes are confronted with each other and altogether reach a climax in superposition.
At the same time, the composition is slightly symbolical since it was created in the octatonic mode (which refers to Henry VIII): The piece comprises 8 parts and the king's theme itself uses 6 tones (1 for each of his wives).
This composition was honoured at the international composition contest 'Tussen Hemel en Aarde' ('Between Heaven and Earth') (Hilvarenbeek - Holland ).