Et in terra Pax
This piece was commissioned by the ‘Concert Band Vlamertinge’ and is a plea for peace: the title translates as ‘Peace on Earth’. This is expressed by means of the vocal contribution expected from the performers. In various places of the piece you can recognize, the words ‘Et In Terra Pax’ - an appeal for peace - at first jumbled together but later more rhythmically structured, developing into synchronized massed voices.The work starts with a pentatonic theme based on the notes D, E, G, A and C (taken from ‘ConCErtbAnD VlAmErtinGE’ and the name of the conductor, NiCk VAnDEnDriessChe). A somewhat sad melody is developed during an orchestral climax which leads to the firstexplosion of sound (measure 62 onwards). Suddenly the opening measures are recaptured, albeit with a differently colored sound: the words ‘Et In Terra Pax’ bring the first movement to a close. A restless Allegro follows which abruptly stops and is replaced by a calming cho-rale-like passage. A narrator reads aloud the poem ‘Sonnet’ by the young poet Charles Hamilton Sorley, who was killed during World War I. This poem fittingly puts into words the cruelty and senselessness of war. After the expanded recapitulation of the allegro, the broad, almost infinite atmosphere of the beginning returns. Clarinet and English horn play the pentatonic opening theme once more, this time broadly, while the words ‘Et In Terra... Pax’ are repeated again and again by the rest of the orchestra.The composer has purposely avoided all forms of aggression and bombastic sounds regularly used in works about war. Fear of violence and destruction can be heard and felt during the allegro passages. The charged opening makes way in the end for hope: May peacefulness replace cruelty in everyday life, too.