fanfare (wind) orchestra 15′
Koninklijk Erkende Fanfare Eensgezindheid, Maasbracht-Beek, the Netherlands
idem, Jean-Pierre Cnoops conductor, De Spil, Maasbracht, the Netherlands, 8th of July 2017
Parts and score (PDF) available on this website € 140,-
In the summer of 2016 I was approached by Jean-Pierre Cnoops, among other things 1st saxophonist with the Marine Band of the Royal Dutch Navy and professor of saxophone at Maastricht Conservatorium, in his capacity as conductor of Fanfare Eensgezindheid in Maasbracht – Beek. He asked me if I would be interested in writing a substantial 15 minute piece for Eensgezindheid, to be performed at the National Competition for wind orchestras in the end of 2017.
I accepted the idea with pleasure and also told him that I wanted to write a piece that would really connect to the community of Maasbracht-Beek and its history, so that at performances it would be something deeply felt by the musicians. Pierre Linssen, chairman of Eensgezindheid and his colleagues at the board of the orchestra then came up with a very tragic event that hit Maasbracht harbour in the last days of World War II (the south of the Netherlands was set free earlier than the rest of the country): the sinking by the German occupation force of almost 240 ships that were gathered in what was then the 2nd largest river harbour in the country. On the 29th of September 1944 skippers and their families were summoned to get their belongings off board and were told that on the 30th all ships in Maasbracht harbour would be sunk with explosives. Extra soldiers of Wehrmacht and SS were brought in to prevent a revolt. These events are described in the piece I wrote.
The numbers in the timpani part from rehearsal figure N on stand for 10 ships sunk by an explosion, adding up to 24 in total. Also from 3 bars before rehearsal figure T the chimes ring 24 times, again one bell stands for 10 ships sunk.
When I was a teenager, the summer before entering the Conservatorium (Academy of Music), I spent three months on the ship of my neighbour as a cook and sailor and traveled a lot on the Meuse river where Maasbracht Harbour is located. Life onboard was great and brings back good memories. The drama at Maasbracht Harbour is therefore an event that is not far from my heart either.