creating another spectacular intro following on Flashing Winds and
Signature. In just over a minute the composer shows the band off in a
powerfull and virtuose manner.
dedicated to Hakon Hesthammer. The first performance took place on June
10, 2001 in Närpes, Finland, by an ad hoc ensemble conducted by Hakon
In this fairly easy suite, Jan Van der Roost used four authentic folk
tunes from the Swedish-speaking part of Finland. The songs are
respectively from Nagu, Oravais, Lappfjärd, and Karlebynejden, and have
been joined together without pause, so that they form a unity. The
purity of the Folk tunes is repected throughout the whole suite and
supported by an adequate harmonic basis. In the instrumentation, a
performance with an incomplete strength has also been taken into
account, but as usual, Jan van der Roost has paid a lot of attention to
the tone color range of the concert band. The work starts withe some
noble, almost meditative melodies. Gradually the tempi become faster,
resulting in a brillant and cheerful folk dance. The melody regularly
goes from one band section to another, so that the timbre remains
varied, and there is no question of monotony. All in all, this is an
attractive suite with an authentic scandinavian flavour.
plea for peace: the title translates as ‘Peace on Earth’. This is
expressed by means of the vocal contribution expected from the
performers. In various places of the piece you can recognize, the words
‘Et In Terra Pax’ - an appeal for peace - at first jumbled together but
later more rhythmically structured, developing into synchronized massed
The work starts with a pentatonic theme based on the notes D, E, G, A
and C (taken from ‘ConCErtbAnD VlAmErtinGE’ and the name of the
conductor, NiCk VAnDEnDriessChe). A somewhat sad melody is developed
during an orchestral climax which leads to the first explosion of sound
(measure 62 onwards). Suddenly the opening measures are recaptured,
albeit with a differently colored sound: the words ‘Et In Terra Pax’
bring the first movement to a close. A restless Allegro follows which
abruptly stops and is replaced by a calming cho-rale-like passage. A
narrator reads aloud the poem ‘Sonnet’ by the young poet Charles
Hamilton Sorley, who was killed during World War I. This poem fittingly
puts into words the cruelty and senselessness of war. After the
expanded recapitulation of the allegro, the broad, almost infinite
atmosphere of the beginning returns. Clarinet and English horn play the
pentatonic opening theme once more, this time broadly, while the words
‘Et In Terra... Pax’ are repeated again and again by the rest of the
The composer has purposely avoided all forms of aggression and
bombastic sounds regularly used in works about war. Fear of violence
and destruction can be heard and felt during the allegro passages. The
charged opening makes way in the end for hope: May peacefulness replace
cruelty in everyday life, too.
When you see millions of the mouthless dead
Across your dreams in pale battalions go,
Say not soft things, as other men have said,
That you’ll remember. For you need not so.
Give them not praise. For, deaf, how should they know
If is not curses heaped on each gashed head?
Nor tears. Their blind eyes see nor your tears flow.
Nor honour. It is easy to be dead.
Say only this “They are dead.” Then add thereto,
“Yet many a better one has died before.”
Then, scanning all the overcrowded mass, should you
Perceive one face that you loved heretofore,
It is a spook. None wears the face you knew.
Great death has made all his for evermore.
Charles Hamilton Sorley (1895-1915)
Jan Van der Roost was commissioned to write the piece by the Japanese
‘Band of the NEC-Tamagawa Plant’ on the occasion of its 40th
anniversary. From the first measure, the brass section sets the scene
with rhythmical motives. Gradually we hear melodic and playful themes,
often supported by (poly)rhythmic figures. A fermate in the trombone
section prepares the way for the final theme, which virtuosically leads
into a reprise of the first fanfare. The dynamic circle closes!
submerges us in a charged and somewhat archaic-feeling atmosphere.
Trumpets, horns and trombones resound in rhythmic patterns, buttressed
by restless motifs in the percussion. A second theme, in the woodwinds,
begins much calmer but is quickly pushed aside by that same brass
offensive. This introduction is the musical expression of the sometimes
tumultuous early history of the town of Peer in Belgium. It closes with
a D scale played over two octaves and repeated three times, symbolizing
the church steeples that dominate the townscape. Peer has the
credentials of a town, and people should know about it.
There follows a rhythmic, turbulent passage: in the course of history,
Peer has not been spared the ravages of war, arson, occupation,
epidemic and other evils. In contrast, a slow, pastoral, lyrical part
expresses the periods of peace and prosperity the town has known, as
well as the serene geographic setting that still characterizes the
place. Various instruments in groups are developed in solo style while
the accompaniment displays vast, painterly images of sound. Now and
then an exotic intonation is heard: a variety of peoples and cultures
have left their mark on the town.
This episode of tranquility and peacefulness comes to a sudden end
when, via a surprising, almost chaotic transitional passage, we are in
effect transported back to our own time. A hopeful, festive march
expresses the confidence in the future that the Royal Concert Band of
Peer exudes. This confidence is wholly justified: under the direction
of conductor Willy Fransen, the 95 members of the concert band have
experienced an extended period of good fortune, and the 75 musicians of
the youth band - and the 45 little musicians of the mini-band - are
involved in thriving operations.
Today as well, Peer lives up to its 'credentials', a fact of which the
Royal Concert Band is a lively and inspirational illustration.
for a special event in which six respected wind orchestras (two Belgian
and four Dutch) of different composition (two symphonic bands, two
fanfare bands and two brass bands) were featured during six concerts.
Each evening brought forth a performance by a symphonic band, a
fanfare, and brass band, so that the audience could experience all
three types of ensembles. This was indeed an original concept.
The name, ConZEnSus, comes from a combination of the words, ‘Concert
Cyclus’ (concert series) and ‘zes’ (Dutch for ‘six’). This leads to a
new word, which refers to ‘consensus’. The general tenor of the cycle
is thus immediately indicated. The richness of color of the various
ensembles is revealed through an open and friendly atmosphere. During
all six concerts (over a span of three years), ConZEnSus functioned as
a permanent opening number for each orchestra. Thus the same musical
story was portrayed in three different packages.
Arts Council in the Belgian district of Kontich, the home town of the
composer Jan Van der Roost. It is an interesting composition in which
the history of this Belgian community is depicted in sound. The opening
reminds one of the advance of the Roman army, whilst the dynamic
development is full of vitaliy!
in 1695, no British composer of any statue was apparent. Consequently,
the break-through of Edward Elgar (1857-1934) as an internationally
known and respected composer at the end of the last century, was of
considerable importance. As a composer Elgar was largely self-taught
and he looked towards the continent for his inspiration. He is without
doubt on par with his contemporaries such as the somewhat younger
Richard Strauss. The Belgian composer Jan Van der Roost is a genuine
admirer of Elgar’s music and on the occasion of the fiftieth
anniversary of the composer’s death in 1984 he composed the “Ceremonial
March”. Van der Roost was inspired by the most famous and frequently
played works from Elgar’s catalogue of works, the characteristic “Pomp
and Circumstances” marches, and decided to add his own, sixth march to
the existing collection.