Sing praise is an upbeat opener or concert piece that is based on the Old Hundredth. It was a commission by Flevo Brass Emmeloord to praise the conductor/teacher Klaas de Jong. I know Klaas as a high-spirited teacher who always devotes his time to guiding young players and developing music ensembles by investing in youth bands and music education.
The title is a reference to the hymn tune Old Hundredth and a message to ensembles to sing praise to teachers and youth.
Sing praise can be performed as a piece for brass band, a piece for 4 part flexible youth band and a combination of both.
Other than the title, there is no real story that connects this piece to eyeballs or werewolves. There is no real legend that precedes this work. The legend will evolve in the listener’s mind while listening to this piece. For me, it started with the title. It was dreamed up by my son. He also suggested a musical gesture which I then used to build all the musical materials in this piece. I have sought to capture a dark atmosphere with a sense of excitement. Although, there are some not so dark moments in the piece which serve as a musical contrast.
I would like to invite every listener to imagine a world where there exists a legend of a bleeding eyeball and a blind werewolf. And if you do dream up a great story, please let me know and share it with each other!
In The Final Frontier, the composer explores different associations with the universe. Inspired by Stephen Hawking’s (1942-2018) book Brief Answers to the Big Questions, the piece describes the wonders and dangers of the universe, the big questions about the smallest elements, and the possibility of space travel.
The work consists of four movements. The first movement, ‘Energy and Space’, is the exposition of both main materials. With energy and space, a universe can be created. The second movement, ‘The Great Unknown’, is a fast section in which the materials are further explored and depicts the dangers of the universe, like supernovae and black holes. The third movement, ‘The Big Questions’, is a slow movement with different soloists and music of a reflective nature. Imagine how in the tiniest elements whole dimensions could be rolled up. Also, a Dutch pioneer in cosmology is hidden in the notes. The fourth movement, ‘The Final Frontier’, is a big buildup to a majestic finale, portraying the excitement of space travel.
The Final Frontier is the set test piece for the 3rd section of the Dutch national brass band championships 2020. Delivery starts May 1st.
Sound of the Middle Sea was written for the evening concert of “Lûd fan de Middelsee”. The work is divided into ten sections (Origin, Episode 1, Terra, Episode 2, Aqua, Episode 3, Aer, Episode 4, Ignis and Quintessence). Origin depicts the origins of the Middle Sea and introduces the elements. Terra (Earth) is a pesante dance movement, depicting hard labour and the growth of the land. Aqua (Water) depicts the trade spirit of the people living near the Middle See. Aer (Air) is a slow movement about contemplation and rationality. Ignis (Fire) depicts devastation. Quintessence is the final where the fifth element is made up of all the other elements. The Episodes link the elements together and are improvised, during the episodes a speaker will tell the story of the Sound of the Middle Sea.
Parts of this ‘suite’ can be performed, please contact me if you have any questions about this piece and/or performing it.
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.
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.