The steel cathedral

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symphonic sketch after a painting by Fernand Stevens

dedicated to Karel Bruynseels[1]

Opus 52


  • Inspired by the painting La cathédrale d'acier by Fernand Stevens, Legley composed this work in 1958.[2]
  • The first performance was played on 10 April 1959 by the symphony orchestra of the NIR-INR conducted by Daniel Sternefeld.[3]


  • instrumentation: symphony orchestra[4]
  • duration: ca 12'


  • I. Andante maestoso
    • time signature: 4/4
  • II. Allegro molto energico, ma non troppo vivo - Più lento - Tempo primo
    • time signature: 4/4
  • III. Adagio
    • time signature: 3/4


  • autograph: in the possession of the composer's family?[5]
  • first edition (study score): CeBeDeM, Brussels, 1960
  • critical edition (study score): Musikproduktion Höflich, Munich, 2018. Koenraad Sterckx's critical comments belonging to this edition can be read here.



  1. Title page of the first edition: "Voor Karel Bruynseels, die ze me hielp te bouwen" [For Karel Bruynseels, who helped me build it].
  2. In an article in Le Soir of 24 December 1958 (La Ronde du Soir: Courrier des Lettres[,] des Arts et des Sciences, p.5), the work is curiously called La Cathédrale de Verre.
  3. Tessely, p.31. De Roeck (p.369) refers to an article in De Standaard of 21 April 1959 (H.D.: Belangrijk nieuw werk van Victor Legley, page number unknown).
  4. Piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, double bassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, percussion, harp and strings.
  5. Although De Roeck (p.359) does not mention that the autograph was in the archive kept by Legley's son, a photo on p.248 in his thesis shows that the autograph was indeed in Walter Legley's possession. However, that archive was donated to the library of the Royal Conservatory of Brussels in 2011, where the work is not present. Consequently, the manuscript should still be in the Legley family's possession, but it has not yet been found there.