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. 4 : Les victoires, 1940-1941 / Matthijs Vermeulen

Publisher: Amsterdam: Donemus, 1997
Publisher's number: 04232
Genre: Orchestra
Subgenre: Orchestra
Scoring: 2fl 2fl(pic) 3ob 3h ob-bar 5cl 3fg cfg 2sax 4h 4trp 3trb tb 2timp 4perc str
Remarks: Voor orkest. - Uitg. met financiële steun van het Prins Bernhard Fonds en het Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst. - Cop. 1947. - Tijdsduur: ca. 31'
Duration: 31'00"
Year of composition: 1941
Status: fully digitized (real-time delivery)

Program note (English): [Première: September 30, 1949 - Rotterdam - Rotterdams Philharmonic Orchestra, Eduard Flipse, conducting] - From a restless bustling uproar of woodwinds and brass instruments, gradually developing around the fundamental tone c, and at its climax condense themselves in a system of laconic chords, three themes appear successively. Each of these themes forms a lyrical song which expresses different emotions. The first floats forward; the second increases in momentum; the third is pensive and melancholic. While these three emotions develop, the speed nor the drive diminishes. This is how the musical process begins, and one has an overview of the inner motivation. It is not immediately sustained. The idea returns in memory to the impulses from which it originated, to those of improvised tumult, to those spinning puffs of bellows, which are then renewed in the same strict rhythm. Here the voices circulate around a fundamental note g, but this time they are not entangled in a range
of stable chords, but demolish suddenly among the whirl.
Then the action resumes its course, to the beat of slow march, and with a new theme, which is accompanied by gently stirred melodies, the different degrees revealing a tender sentiment, which become more passionate and shimmering upon reaching completeness. We do not yet know where these intonations will take us. But as if a forgotten emotion secretly becomes conscious, in a deeper expression, rising from a concealed heart, almost imperceptibly changes from the quietly radiating gaiety of a sunlit parade to a funeral march. The melody indicating this inversion is a variation of the first of the three agitating themes, with which the musical process began. In its tragic emergence desire and determination are equally interpreted as grievance and bereavement. Each time after the melody appears, it is varied with trumpet calls, which create a more violent desire, multiplying and increasing continuously to its paroxysm.
A last thrust of hastening signals swell into a war song. The dead do not die entirely. They live on further through us, who wish the same, and for which they bring a sacrifice. The military song offered is alternatively turbulent and reflecting, strong and frail, resounding and ominous, nearby and remote, gentle wind and storm. At the background of the inciting theme, earlier articulations return in strength, which become a melody.
Everything we experienced resounds in an ecstatic tone. Even the long cantilena which was interpreted at the start of the musical process.
The entire horizon is filled with a serenity and broad sounds, floating beyond as a musing chorale of all woodwinds and brass instruments, against a wider and calmer plan, the hymns in the strings proclaim their hope and promise of good fortune.
Satisfaction is near but not yet attained [... ] an epilogue sets in with the same formula of robust, concise chords, which encounters the clamour in which the symphony started. A chorus of melodic jubilations, again sound from the fundamental tone c, and contradicting stanzas reword the unbeatable process, pass on a reply, a meaning and an end to the restless rumour from which the music originated. - MATTHIJS VERMEULEN

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