SONATE was written for the euphoniums and baritones of Brass Band Pro Rege Heerenveen. It utilizes the capabilities of the instruments in a not so familiar idiom.
The song “Es kam ein Herr am Schlössli“ is a lullaby from Switzerland. It can be found in the Sammlung von Schweizer Kühreihen und Volksliedern under the title “Wiegenlied“. The story is about a gentleman riding up to a castle and asking the Lady if her children are nice or naughty. The lady replies that they are naughty. Then the gentleman rides off and replies that for nice children he would have had gifts. Questions arise like: who is this man? Why would he have presents for nice children? Why would you sing this to children who are going to sleep? Therefore the title: Sleep Well, with a dark sarcastic undertone.
This work has been commissioned by the Swiss Army Brass Band and is not yet available for sale.
Es kam ein Herr zum Schlößli
Uff emma schöne Rößli;
Da lugt die Frau zum Fenster raus
Und sagt: Der Mann ist nichtt zu Haus.
S’isch niemer d’heim als d’Chinder
und’s Meitli uf der Winde.
Der Herr uf sinem Rößli
seit zue der Frau im Schlößli
Sind’s gueti Chind, sind’s bösi Chind,
ach liebi Frau, sagt mir’s geschwind!
Die Frau, die seit: ’s sind bösi Chind,
sie folge der Muetter gar nid g’schwind!
Da seit der Herr: So reit ich heim!
dergleichen Kinder brauch ich kein‘.
und reit uf synem Rößli
weit, weit eweg vom Schlößli.
A well-known statement by Hans Christiaan Andersen is: “Where words fail, music speaks.” In Where Words Fail, the composer also lets the music speak about things he could not find the words for.
Those gazing eyes is a programmatic work: We see a child gazing into the distance, slowly we enter his fantasy. An oriental dance with virtuoso solos is juxtaposed with a daydreaming theme. From this fantasy we are transported to a musing parent. Who, at first, is worried about the future of his son. Episodes of sighing and sadness lead to a solemn statement of hope. Again we see the gazing child, this time slowly entering a daydream where the main theme is fully exposed. However, as an onlooker, we will never know the full extent of these dreams. So for us, it is back to reality.
Those Gazing Eyes was in the final of the 2016 Cory Composition Prize.
The Water is Wide is a Scottish folksong also called O Waly Waly. It depicts the challenges of love. “Love is handsome, love is kind” during the novel honeymoon phase of any relationship. However, as time progresses, “love grows old, and waxes cold.” Even true love, the lyrics say, can “fade away like morning dew.”
Now is the month of maying is one of the most famous of the English ballets, by Thomas Morley published in 1595. The song delights in bawdy double-entendre. It is apparently about spring dancing, but this is a sexual metaphor. For example, a “barley-break” would have suggested outdoor sexual activity (rather like we might say a “roll in the hay”). The use of such imagery was very customary during the Renaissance.
Now is the month of maying,
When merry lads are playing,
Fa la la la la la la la la,
Fa la la la la la lah.
Each with his bonny lass
Upon the greeny grass.
Fa la la, etc...
The Spring, clad all in gladness,
Doth laugh at Winter’s sadness,
Fa la la, etc...
And to the bagpipe’s sound
The nymphs tread out their ground.
Fa la la, etc...
Fie then! why sit we musing,
Youth’s sweet delight refusing?
Fa la la, etc...
Say, dainty nymphs, and speak,
Shall we play barley-break?
Fa la la etc...
The Crows is a high spirited march written for fanfare band ‘Sursum Corda‘ Rijsoord (NL). The people of Rijsoord are called ‘Crows‘ hence the title of the march.
Spinning Gears is a solo piece for euphonium and brass band. The piece describes a lonely cyclist emerging from the fog and surrendering to a steep climb. The fight the cyclist has to have with himself starts and leads to a final explosion of power to get to the top. There his thoughts wander and he start reminiscing about the past while looking at the vast view. The trip continues with a descent leading to high speeds and acrobatics. The last sprint to an imaginary finish brings the cyclist victory: winning the battle against himself.
Soaring the Sky is a short piece in a typical brass band style with influences from popular music. It captures a feeling of freedom: a feeling of flying in total harmony with your surroundings. To soar literally means flying without propulsion, furthermore, it means to ascend to an unknown height.
This piece is best performed in a special seating plan, with the cornets rows facing each other standing behind the saxhorns, the trombones are placed behind the tubas. For extra effect, a drumkit can be placed in the centre of the band. This way the antiphonal character is best utilized.
Sic Parvis Magna (Thus from small beginnings, great things come) is the motto of the explorer and sea captain Sir Francis Drake. Although his life is not undisputed, his development from 13-year-old deck cleaner to vice-admiral of the English fleet is an inspiration. Drake sailed around the world three times, the first time as a 23-year-old pirate with his cousin John Hawkins.
The heroic Maestoso sections portray the high spirits of a journey over the sea. Although there is always the outlook of danger, and memories of home and loved ones.