Rembrandt’s Night Watch has already moved many people.
Whether it is the beautiful “clair-obscure” or simply the “moving” scene of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq and his men, the fact remains that the painting continues to attract you.
In this Night Watch Rhapsody I tried to translate the scene, as well as the many hues, as if the painting were being painted on the spot.
An important role is therefore reserved for the soloist on E-flat clarinet, who takes on the role of Rembrandt and, together with the orchestra – in which the orchestra does not merely take on the accompaniment – tries to bring the Night Watch to life.
This work was composed and dedicated to the E-flat clarinet soloist of the wind orchestra of the Royal Belgian Guides (Belgium), David van Maele
In the Chinese mythology there are four heavenly animals.
The Chinese Dragon
In this concerto for horn all of these heavenly animals are presented. The hornist is a kind of storyteller and evaluates to a mythical creature as well. The concerto contains four movements:
1. The Chinese Dragon – (Long)
The Chinese dragon is one of the four heavenly animals and would also be the founder of the Imperial Family.
Dragon Queens provides rain, rivers, lakes and seas. They represent wisdom, strength and goodness. An angry Long Wang causes storm, fog and earthquakes. He protects fishermen and watercourse, but punishes wasters of water. One of them is Pan Long, it lives in the ocean. It seems to be the seahorse we all know today.
2. The Phoenix – (Feng Huang)
His song would be the source of the Chinese scale. Feng Huang lives with Ki-Lin (see also 4th movement) in the Hills of Vermilion. Only in peaceful times, or when a great wise or good emperor is born, the Feng Huang leaves the Land of Immortals to announce prosperity, accompanied by many other birds who honour him as the most beautiful.
3. The Turtle – (Wugui)
The Turtle is one of the animals who was involved in the origin of the earth. It is seen as an oracle.
4. The Unicorn – (Ki Lin)
The unicorn is an animal with male (Ki) and female (Lin) powers. It’s voice is like a church bell. It was born in the heart of the earth and lives behind the clouds. It appears only to announce important events or births. (Just like Feng Huang (2nd movement)).
This work was commissioned by “Limburgse Werkgevers Vereniging” (NL) as a tribute to their retiring president Mr. Wim Weijnen, and is freely inspired by the first sentence of the Hebrew Slave Choir from „Nabucco“ by Giuseppe Verdi:
„Va, Pensiero, sull’ali dorate, va, ti posa sui clivi, sui colli“
„Go, thought, on wings of gold, go settle upon the slopes and the hills“
Also available for soprano saxophone solo and wind band.
Demo Recording: (Live recording during world first performance, performed by the wonderful violist Lei Wang, (concertmaster of the Philharmonie Zuid-Nederland) and Koninklijke Harmonie Sainte Cécile Eijsden conducted by Jan Cober)