Music for “Old Europe” was commissioned by the Klangspuren Schwaz Festival and premiered in September 2003 in Schwaz by Windkraft Tirol and Kasper de Roo. The work is scored for a 24-piece wind orchestra, supplied with a glockenspiel. The compositional approach to a wind orchestra is that of chamber music. Every instrument has an independent part and there is a relatively small amount of doublings involved in the writing; most of the time each instrument plays its independent part. This results in a flow of music in which gradual changes of harmony play an essential part. In this sense, the piece is contrapuntal all the way through.
Harmonically, the piece consists of two completely different kinds of material: the first belongs to the modernistic, atonal tradition, and the second is modal in its nature. In the modal passage, the subtle duet between the bassoon and the english horn is accompanied by a stable harmony from the rest of the ensemble. The duet, placed in the middle of the piece, uses and develops melodic motifs introduced in the beginning. Towards the end the melodic motifs are treated on a boarder scale and the texture develops into something more complex, both harmonically and polyphonically. The finale is in passacaglia form and the intensity of music gradually builds up to a climax.
Premiered in the very heart of Europe, the piece serves pays homage to “Old Europe” and its values which have made it possible for contemporary, creative arts to exist as an independent voice/ source of expression.
In the arrangement for symphonic band (2006), the most notable feature is the visible role of three percussion instruments in the final passacaglia, bringing elements of groove into the texture. Compared to the 2006 version, the fresh 2022 revision of the symphonic band arrangement is more detailed in the terms of articulation and dynamic indications, and the score and parts layout are updated to meet the professional contemporary orchestral music publishing standards.
original version for wind orchestra (2003)
3 clarinets (in Bb)
4 horns (in F)
3 trumpets (in C)
arrangement for symphonic band (2006/2022)
3 clarinets (in Bb)
bass clarinet (in Bb)
alto saxophone (in Eb)
tenor saxophone (in Bb)
baritone saxophone (in Eb)