band on request of Robert Leveugle, chairman of the composer's own
band: Brass Band Midden Brabant (Belgium). The direct cause was a visit
to the beautiful cathedral of the English city Canterbury, in which so
many fine compositions sounded throughout the centuries. Later on, Jan
Van der Roost rescored this piece for symphonic wind band, exploring
the full richness of colours of this formation. Besides solo phrases
for several instruments, there are some massive tutti passages making
the wind orchestra sound like a majestic organ. By the way: an "ad
libitum" organ part adds an extra richness, colour and power to this
piece, making it sound even more broad and grand.
its 250th anniversary. The first performance took place in Endingen on
April 12, 2003, and was conducted by the composer.
Three extra-musical themes form the basis of this symphonic poem. All
three themes are immediately linked with the commissioning organization
and the region that it is all about: the Kaiserstuhl at the foot of the
Black Forest (Schwarzwald).
A dynamic and driving allegro initially reflects the joy of living and
the cheerfulness of the inhabitants of Endingen. The “Stadtmusik
Endingen” has existed for no less than 250 years. The energy and
enthusiasm that have made such a long continuation possible are
musically expressed here.
The broad-lyrical second theme evokes the serenity and immensity of
nature in the Black Forest, as well as the typical sociability
(“Gemütlichkeit”) that characterizes this region. Enjoying a glass of
locally produced wine, one can indeed spend pleasant hours there.
A third element is the volcanic soil that the whole region is situated
on. This natural theme was subtly present a few times in the previous
two passages, but here it “bursts out” fully in an extensive passage
with lots of tumult and spectacle. After that, the peace returns, and
the first theme gradually comes back to life. It develops into a grand
finale with broad chords and a particularly festive character. The
music represents the thought that the city of Endingen has every reason
to be proud of its history.
Championships. The wind band version was made a year later by the
composer himself. Historically speaking, the toccata is considered to
be one of the first independent instrumental forms for keyboard
instruments. Originally the toccata was typically more or less
improvised, later this musical form was given a more regulated
structure. Both elements are used in the ‘Toccata Festiva’: on the one
hand the different themes are developed freely, on the other, the piece
has an orderly structure. It is in a three part form (quick-slow-quick)
and includes both strong rhythmical figures and broad melodic lines.
Part of the composition is written in a more or less archaic tone
idiom, referring to the period from which the toccata form originates
beautiful southern province in France: the "Provence". The composer
used an harmonic language respecting the popular characteristics, but
on the other hand also contains some "spicy" notes (... just like the
wellknown "Provençal sauce"! ...).
The instrumentation is very colourful, paying a lot of attention to the
different timbres of both brass and wood winds as well as to the
Every movement has its own character: "Un Ange a fa la crido"
(= An angel brought the creed / credo) is like a bourrée, "Adam e sa
Coumpagnou" (= Adam and his companion) is an old love song, "Lou
Fustié" (= the carpenter) a fast dance and finally "Lis Escoubo" (= a
whistle tune / popular ballad) is a farandole. In the latter, the old
tradition of folk musicians who play a whistle with one hand and a drum
with the other hand, is clearly represented during the first
presentations of the one and only theme)
Although this piece is not too demanding, a well balanced band is
necessary to perform it successfully. Thanks to the contrasts and the
varying colours, it keeps on holding the attention.
110th anniversary of the ‘Koninklijke Sint Martinusfanfare’ (Royal
Saint Martinus Fanfare Band) from Halle (Belgium). The composer was
required to create a suite in three movements based on three images
associated with the ‘Sint Martinusfanfare’ from the small town of Halle
in the province of Brabant. The first movement (Andante Pomposo)
describes Martin, a soldier in the Roman army. In Andante Moderato we
see the image of Martin, who become a Christian and chooses to devote
his life to God. In this movement, the composer was inspired by the
Brabantine gothic art of the Sint Martinus Basilica in Halle. The
contrast between the dark Basilica and the statue of Our Lady between
the soaring pillars will vividly come to life for audiences of this
descriptive piece. The final movement, Allegro Molto Vivace’, could
have been an image for a frivolous peasant in the Halle carnival. In a
triptych about St. Martin it is more fitting to refer to it as an
apotheosis, the crown on the pastoral work of Martin, Bishop of Tours,
Patron Saint of the Fanfare Band and the Basilica of Halle.
‘Onafhankelijkheid’ (‘Independence’) from Wiekevorst (Belgium) on the
occasion of its 25th anniversary. The piece depicts an enthusiastic
amateur music club, practicing and making music together in an
attentive and companionable atmosphere. The conductor has the good
habit of trying to improve the sound of the fanfare by means of
practicing chorales and hymns. Jan Van der Roost has used these facts
in the dynamic concert piece ‘Spirit of Independence’: a chorale-like
middle section is surrounded by music bubbling full of energy.
its own melodical materials, however: in the final movement the main
theme from the second section returns in a 'grandioso'-
tutti. The last bar but one recaptures the 'oriental' atmosphere of the very beginning.
The first section (= from the beginning till J) builds up a climax by
repeating and accumulating some melodical and rhythmical stuctures. The
oriental character of the melodical fragments refers to the origin of
the Roman slaves.
The second section evokes the love between Spartacus and his love
by giving a peaceful atmosphere. The mean theme (presented the first
time at letter L) has a broad and wide character and refers slightly to
filmmusic. In this part of the composition, a special attention is
given to the orchestration.
The final section is more agressive and martial and refers to the
revolt of the slaves against the Roman oppressors. In the middle of
this movement, an accumulation of the 12 tones symbolizes the
crucifixion of the slaves: the english horn resumes partly the cadenza
of the flute (at letter J), as if he wants to show again the eternal
love between Spartacus and his love a very last time ...
The theme at the third bar of letter T is actually based on the 2nd
theme of this section (which starts at the fifth bar of letter R), but
has been worked out rhytmically.
(as in case in ‘Puszta’, ‘Rikudim’ and ‘A Highland Rhapsody’).
Consequently, ‘Slavia’ does not contain any arrangement of existing
tunes, but is an original composition ‘in the style of…’. The
introduction has an ABA structure and exposes a broad melodic line.
Following a short cadenza, there is a second movement in a fast and
fiery tempo. The tempi increase, gradually culminating in an exciting
final climax, making this ‘Slavonic Rhapsody’ a spell-binding
experience to the very last note.