Vermeulen, Matthijs

Matthijs Vermeulen was born in Helmond on February 8, 1888. He died July 26, 1967 in Laren. He studied in Amsterdam with Daniel de Lange (1907-1909) and Alphons Diepenbrock. From 1909 to ...

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Symphonie no. 2 : Prélude à la nouvelle journée, 1919-1920 / Matthijs Vermeulen

Publisher: Amsterdam: Donemus, 1997
Publisher's number: 04230
Genre: Orchestra
Subgenre: Orchestra
Scoring: 4fl(pic) 2ob 2ob(eh) 5cl cl-b 3fg cfg 4h 2trp-p 4trp 3trb-t tb timp 4perc xyl 2hp str
Remarks: Voor orkest. - Uitg. met financiële steun van het Prins Bernhard Fonds. - Cop. 1951. - Tijdsduur: ca. 21'
Duration: 21'00"
Year of composition: 1920
Status: fully digitized (real-time delivery)

Program note (English): (Première: 9 December 1953 - Brussel - INR Orchestra, Franz André, conducting) - It was on a June morning in 1919, when, on my way from the Watergraafsmeer to my job at De Telegraph, the Symphony No. 2 came to me. That invasion happens more or less like a strong stroke of lightening and I believe that everyone has experienced something like that. The difference between an artist and say an average person is, in my opinion, that after such an illuminating moment, the artist goes to work while the other person does not immediately translate this into an influencing factor but keeps it as one of those unforgettable moments in their life. I went to work and only at the end of 1920 was the work finished. In those years many were expecting a new dawn to arise over a darkened world, a hope which still exists.
The symphony arose from these inclinations (such expectations can bring about in one's disposition where a great faith resides) and was given the title Prélude à la nouvelle journée. It is a projection to the future; it does not look to the past; it looks ahead. The musical process to which those inner feelings led, develops in five episodes which follow without interruption. They are alternatively active and contemplative, as a normal gliding from action to dream and from dream to action. Each of the five have been made of other material, which, although each time differ, are related to basis premise. At the beginning of the symphony there appears, above a rumour of clashing rhythms, and in the most clear figure, the enterprising main theme which is directly developed, organised and confirmed to serve as a basis and as focal point.
Naturally the spirit which is hit by a strong emotion, allows time to reflect on the situation, in amazement, and thereafter of collecting, then of reflecting, broadening and chaos, while deep inside a multiple tumult bounces about. It is understandable that on this, in the third episode, a renewed activity must break out. Initially they appear unorganised, as an improvised invocation via free flowing melodies where fragments from the main theme cross through. Gradually they resume their consistency on a driving melody in the bass, that is also evocatively accentuated. It resounds with its own echo several times, successively, and the imperative clamours lead to a multiplication in strength and passion, culminating to an abrupt end. It may be interpreted that the violence of that call turns immediately into another consciousness and another contemplation. The intonation is more desirable than previously, and also more moving.. A range of song, becomes gradually more serene and
moves to a state of rest and clarity.
There the fifth episode quietly enters as quick farandole. Always in a forward moving position always varying, it transforms into a dithyramb, where dream and action are equal, both fulfilled and completed. Thus the psychological development has stipulated the construction and the expressions of the symphony. There is no opposition, no conflict between the two energy sources of dream and action. They compliment each other in reciprocal exchange of a same life current, which reoccurs fluidly, and continues increasing. At the sounding of these general feelings I have exploited new technical aspects according to my personal view which in 1919, were presumptuous and since then have not been considerably extended. - MATTHIJS VERMEULEN

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