The Sword and the Crown

 

     Edward Gregson

     The Sword and the Crown

1.  First movement.............................................................................. 6:00

2.  Second movement......................................................................... 5:03

3.  Third movement............................................................................. 5:00

 

     Johan de Meij

     T-Bone Concerto

4.  Rare............................................................................................ 10:39

5.  Medium......................................................................................... 9:15

6.  Well Done..................................................................................... 6:35

 

     Johan de Meij

7.  La Quintessenza......................................................................... 12:18

 

     David Gillingham

8.  Concertino for Four Percussion and Wind Ensemble................. 9:09

 

     Jan Van der Roost

9.  Rhapsody for Horn, Winds and Percussion............................... 12:32

 

Total time: 76:57

 

A harpsichord was kindly placed at our disposal by Rasmus Manley

 

 

 


Edward Gregson. (b. 1945): The Sword and the Crown

Edward Gregson has proved himself to be one of his country’s most versatile composers, having written orchestral, instrumental, chamber and choral music, as well as music for the theatre, film, and television. He enjoys an international reputation for his wind and brass compositions and his concerti for horn, tuba, trumpet, and trombone are established repertoire in many countries.

     He is active as a conductor of contemporary music at home and abroad, is a Reader in Music at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London and is a visiting Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music.

     The Sword and the Crown (1991). In 1988, Edward Gregson was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company to write the music for The Plantagenets trilogy, directed by Adrian Noble in Stratford-upon-Avon. These plays take us from the death of Henry V to the death of Richard III. Later, in 1991, he wrote the music for Henry IV parts 1 and 2, again in Stratford. All of these plays are concerned with the struggle for power (the crown) through the use of force (the sword) and they portray one of the most turbulent periods in the history of the British monarchy.

     When the Royal Air Force Music Services commissioned Edward Gregson to write a work especially for their British tour in 1991 he immediately thought of turning to this music and transforming some of it into a three-movement suite for symphonic band.

     The first movement opens with a brief fanfare for two antiphonal trumpets (off-stage), but this only acts as a preface to a Requiem aeternam (the death of Henry V) before changing mood to the English army on the march to France; this subsides into a French victory march, but the English army music returns in counterpoint. Finally, a brief reminder of the Requiem music leads to the triumphal music for Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, father of Edward IV and Richard III (the opening fanfare transformed).

     The second movement takes music from the Welsh Court in Henry IV (part 1) which is tranquil in mood; distant fanfares foreboding battles to come are heard, but the folktune is heard three times in different variations and the movement ends as it began with alto flute and gentle percussion.

     The final movement starts with two sets of antiphonally placed timpani, drums and tam-tam, portraying the ‘war machine’ and savagery of battle. Trumpet fanfares and horn calls herald a heroic battle theme which, by the end of the movement, transforms itself into a triumphant hymn for Henry IV’s defeat of the rebellious forces.

 

Johan de Meij (b. 1953): T-Bone Concerto and La Quintessenza

Johan de Meij studied trombone and conducting at the Royal Conservatory of Music at The Hague. He has earned international fame as a composer and arranger. His catalogue consists of original compositions, symphonic transcriptions and arrangements of film scores and musicals. The Symphony no. 1 The Lord of the Rings, based on Tolkien's best-seller novels of the same name, was his first substantial composition for symphonic band and received the prestigious Sudler Composition Award in 1989. His other larger compositions, such as Symphony no. 2 The Big Apple, the T-Bone Concerto (for trombone and symphonic band) and Casanova (for violoncello and symphonic band) are also on the repertoire of the better bands all over the world. Casanova was awarded the First Prize at the International Composition Competition at Corciano, Italy in 1999.

     Besides composing, Johan de Meij is also very active in various musical fields. He plays the trombone in the Orchestra De Volharding (The Perseverance), The Amsterdam Wind Orchestra and regular substitute with the Radio Chamber Orchestra. Moreover, he is much in demand as a guest conductor: having conducted concerts and seminars in almost all European countries, in Japan, Brazil, and the United States.

     The T-Bone Concerto is de Meij’s very first composition for solo instrument and symphonic band. It consists of three movements called respectively Rare, Medium and Well Done. This work was commissioned by The Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) and was written between August 1995 and January 1996.

     In addition to the solo trombone, an important role has been allotted to a kind of chamber music ensemble within the band. This group introduces now and then new thematic material and accompanies the soloist, thus creating a nice transparent accompaniment. The ensemble consists of a double wind quintet (2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 French horns and 2 bassoons) plus an English horn and a double bass. Parts I and II are written in the A-B-A form and allow the soloist to display both the technical and the lyrical characteristics of the instrument. Part III at first develops into a kind of neo-baroque style using the thematic material of the first and second movement, and finally leads to a triumphant finale and a virtuoso conclusion.

     La Quintessenza is a musical approach of the quintessence, the heart of the matter. By focusing a five note motif in a number of variants, de Meij tries to get through to the essence of the musical matter.

     The core of the composition is a lyrical middle part (Arioso), preceded by an opening fanfare for brass (Introduzione) and a burlesque variant on the same motif (Capriccio). In the fourth part (Alla Marcia) this main motif is only used as an ambient signal, and in the Finale the opening theme is repeated so the musical walk-round is complete.

     La Quintessenza was commissioned by the Carroll County Public Schools (Maryland - USA). La Quintessenza is a revised version of the composition Pentagram (for fanfare band) dating from 1990. This work was re-orchestrated for symphonic band at the commissioners' request.

 

David Gillingham (b. 1947): Concertino for Four Percussion and Wind Ensemble

David Gillingham earned Bachelor and Master Degrees in Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1969 and 1977, and the Ph.D. in Music Theory and Composition from Michigan State University in 1980. While completing his Ph.D., Dr. Gillingham's compositions were chosen for performances at the annual New Music for Winds Symposium. Receiving a prestigious humanities fellowship during his third year at MSU, Gillingham completed his dissertation, Concerto for Bass Trombone and Wind. The concerto later won first prize in the 1981 DeMoulin Band Composition Contest.

     In the fall of 1990, David Gillingham was the recipient of the first prize in the Barlow International Composition Competition for his Heroes, Lost and Fallen, a Vietnam memorial. David Gillingham's compositions have been performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. In addition to his expertise as a composer and teacher, David Gillingham is an accomplished pianist, organist, and euphonium player.

     Concertino for Four Percussion and Wind Ensemble was commissioned by the Oklahoma State University Wind Ensemble, Joseph Missal, conductor and Wayne Bovenschen, Professor of Percussion studies. The composition was premiered at the 1997 WASBE Conference in Schladming, Austria. The Danish Concert Band did also participate in this WASBE Conference.

     The Concertino or ‘small concerto’ seeks to exploit keyboard, membrane and auxiliary percussion instruments with the marimbas, xylophone, timpani, vibraphone, and bass drums as the featured instruments assisted by crash cymbal, suspended cymbal, tam-tam, bells, chimes, triangle, and hi-hat to enhance both the wind ensemble and the solo instruments.

     Two thematic motives are used as a point of departure for this work. Both appear in the slow and mysterious introduction. The first, played by the marimbas, is dramatic and the second is haunting and played by vibraphone and bells. The following Allegro is structured similar to a rondo with recurrences of both themes interspersed by episodic sections. The first theme, however, is transformed into a very lively arpeggiated tune played by the xylophone and marimba. The coda is marked by a relentless rhythmic competition of two sets of bass drums which accompany the primary thematic material as first heard in the slow introduction. The work draws to a resounding conclusion when the second haunting theme is stated dramatically in tour de force by the brass.

     The four soloists on this recording are Anders G. Karlsen, Jesper Frederiksen, Thomas Teisner, and Jakob Weber Egholm - all members of The Danish Concert Band.

 

Jan Van der Roost (b. 1956): Rhapsody for Horn, Winds and Percussion

Jan Van der Roost studied trombone, history of music and musical education at the Lemmens­instituut in Leuven (Louvain). He continued his studies at the Royal Conservatoires of Ghent and Antwerp, where he qualified as a conductor and a composer.

     At present, he teaches at the Lemmensinstituut in Leuven and is guest professor at the Shobi Institute of Music in Tokyo (Japan). Besides being a prolific composer, he is very much in demand as an adjudicator, lecturer, clinician, and a guest conductor. His increasing musical activities brought him to more than 30 different countries all over the world, whereas his compositions are being performed and recorded in more than 50 nations world-wide. In 1999, he conducted The Danish Concert Band in a concert in the Danish Radio Concert Hall.

     His list of works shows a wide variety of genres and styles, including 2 oratories, a symphony, a guitar concerto, a cyclus of ‘Lieder’ for baritone and Chamber Orchestra, chamber music, many brass band and wind band compositions, choral music and solos. A lot of these compositions have been broadcast on radio and TV and have been recorded on CD by renowned performers in several countries all over the world. Jan Van der Roost only composes commissioned works, largely coming from abroad: e.g. from Holland, France, the USA, Japan, and Singapore.

     Rhapsody for Horn, Winds and Percussion (1995) was commissioned by the Bowling Green State University (Ohio, USA) and the work was dedicated to Herbert Spencer. In this particular colourful work, the immense sound possibilities of the solo instrument and band are fully exploited.

     The piece begins with a huge glissando in which sound unites from two directions to the pitch F. This spectacular effect symbolises the large bell of the horn and immediately sets tonal poles. the first is the F tone centre (also the basic tuning pitch of the horn), and the second is the interval of a tritone from F, the B tone centre. The seemingly improvisational opening passage is based on a spirally widening series of tones ranging from F to B. This widening effect is meant to express the soft conical bore of the horn.

     An Allegro Burlesco follows, which presents a rhythmic and dynamic theme. After a short cadenza comes a slow section full of dark sounds and punctuated by ostinato accompanying patterns. Here the band has the opportunity to show its true colours. The horn’s large concert range is also evident in this middle section. The Allegro Burlesco is resumed (with slight variation) leading to a spectacular coda, fully displaying the talents of the soloist. A reversed glissando brings the piece to a cyclical conclusion.


Jesper Juul Sørensen, trombone is solo trombonist in the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, where he has been permanently employed since 1997. Moreover, Jesper Juul is employed as teacher at the Royal Danish Academy of Music from where he graduated in 1997. During his studies, Jesper has been on a sojourn for purposes of study in Chicago with Arnold Jacobs and Kleinhammer. Furthermore, Jesper has been studying in Paris with Benny Sluchin (avant garde-specialist) and Jacques Mauger (soloist).

     Jesper has several times participated in soloist competitions. In 1995, he became prize-winner at the international trombone soloist competition in Toulon and was no. three at the international trombone soloist competition in Munich. In 1997, Jesper became the winner of the Danish selection to the Nordic soloist biennial in Trondheim. In 1998, Jesper Juul won the highly esteemed Concours international d’execoution musicales in Geneve. They competited in four instruments, and Jesper won his group ahead of 70 other trombonists. At present, he also conducts the Lyngby-Taarbæk Brass Band, one of the best brass bands in Denmark, and in April 2000, he was second best and became Prize winner of the European Conductors Competition 2000 in Birmingham.

 

Lasse Mauritzen (b. 1975) began his musical career as a hornist in the Tivoli Boy’s Guard where he studied French horn with Helge Nielsen as his teacher. He continued his education with Bjørn Fosdal from The Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Ola Nilsson from The Royal Danish Orchestra. Concurrently with these studies, he has been studying in London with solo hornist Hugh Seedan from The London Symphony Orchestra.

     As soloist he has appeared with a.o. The Danish Concert Band, The Chamber Orchestra ARCO and The Copenhagen Festival Orchestra. He is solo hornist in the Copenhagen Chamber Orchestra, has assisted in the The Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, and been employed as 2nd solo hornist in The Danish Radio Concert Orchestra in January 1999, at the age of 24 he became alternating solo hornist in The Royal Danish Orchestra.

 


The Danish Concert Band (Rødovre Concert Band) was founded in 1968, and today it consists of 70 musicians aged 15-45 years. Since the mid-seventies, the orchestra has made tremendously progress resulting in several National Championships, The Nordic Championship, 1st prizes in several international competitions and in 1990, a European Championship. Two days after celebrating its 25th anniversary in 1993, The Danish Concert Band won the Europäischer Wettbewerb in Trier, Germany.

     The orchestra has performed several times on the Danish Radio and in the concert hall, in Concert Hall Aarhus and Concert Hall Odense. Once a year, the orchestra is appearing in Concert Hall Tivoli and twice a year locally in Viften.

     At least every second year, The Danish concert Band goes on a concert tour in Europe, and so the orchestra has played in large concert halls in Scotland, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Austria and The Czech Republic.

     The orchestra has recorded 12 CD’s with a wide-ranging repertoire, first compositions, concerts with soloists and world premiere recordings.

 

Jørgen Jensen (b. 1947) is the conductor of The Danish Concert Band since 1970. He played the piano from the age of five and continued his education in the Tivoli Boy's Guard as a clarinettist. He studied in the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen with Professor Tage Scharff, and in London, with Professor Antony Pay.

     In 1975, Jørgen Jensen became Solo Clarinettist in the Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and at present, he is alternating Solo Clarinettist in The Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and a member of Collegium Musicum. Since 1988, he is associate professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen.

     Jørgen Jensen is very often used as a guest conductor and leader of master classes in Denmark and abroad. At several occasions, he has been a member of the jury in international wind-band competitions.

 

 

 


Previous releases from Rondo Records with

The Danish Concert Band & Jørgen Misser Jensen

 

Visions from the North (RCB 8368)

Trombone Concepts, with Carsten Svanberg (RCD 8349)

The Lord of the Rings (RCD 8346)

Contemporary Concert Band Music (RCD 8340)

That’s Entertainment (RCD 8338)

Concert Band Music (RCD 8331)

Band Solos (RCD 8324)

 

   

 

Recorded January and March 2000 in Viften, Rødovre

Producer: Per Jacobsen

Executive Producer: Ole Høglund - Engineering: Torben Krogh

Booklet editors: Iris Madsen and Jørgen Münster

Layout and cover design: Key Werner

 

The Danish Concert Band homepage:

hjem.get2net.dk/rcb

E-mail:

rcb@get2net.dk

 

C & P 2000 Rondo Records

Independent Music - OH Musik ApS, P.O. Box 49, DK-2680 Solrød Strand, Denmark

Fax: (+45) 56 14 66 67 - e-mail: oh@ohmusik.dk - www.ohmusik.dk