It may be surprising to see a fanfare piece commissioned by a Japanese ensemble, since fanfare orchestras are typically found in Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg, and also France and Switzerland. Senzoku Gakuen is one of the largest and most prestigious music universities in Japan, and home to a wide variety of ensembles and orchestras. Since 2006 they have had a fanfare orchestra, which was started by Sotaru Fukaishi, a euphonium teacher who felt further performance opportunity was needed for saxhorn instruments. Fukaishi had loved the sound of fanfare orchestras ever since visiting the World Music Contest in Kerkrade (Holland) several years earlier. Jan Van der Roost was involved with this new initiative from the beginning, and they were also joined by Manu Mellaerts for certain projects. The Dean of the music department, Professor Kazuo Tomioka, fully supports the ensemble and commissioned Ostinati. The première took place on June 11th at Maeda Hall in Mizonokuchi (Kawasaki) where Senzoku Gakuen is based. The piece opens with an impressive timpani solo, followed by brass and saxophone. The rhythmical pulse remains constant and the music is fiery and assertive in character. A pentatonic melody gradually emerges and the music loses its vehemency and softens. The initial percussion ostinati subsequently recurs and the first section of the piece concludes in a similar mood to the opening. The second movement is sweet and melodic, opening with a long passage for the saxophone family in a minor key. The same theme then appears in the major and is developed upon; the music builds to a majestic orchestral forte, reminiscent of a pipe organ in its sonority. The theme returns in the original minor key with a change in instrumentation leading the movement to a quiet and peaceful end on a soft E minor chord. The finale starts with percussion: a four-bar pattern is repeated several times over which the movement’s melodic themes are introduced. These melodic elements are varied and used in different versions and the ostinato idea, which characterizes the entire piece, is highlighted. The theme travels through the orchestra, appearing on various instruments and in various registers. It captures the listener’s attention and displays the full range of sound and colour within the fanfare orchestra.
- De Haske (Kaufen bei De Haske)
- DHP 1115084-020
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