Between the two Rivers -Variations on “Ein’ Feste Burg”

BETWEEN THE TWO RIVERS was commissioned by Fanfare 'Prins Hendrik', from Aalst in the Netherlands, to celebrate their 100th Anniversary which took place in 2004. The commission was sponsored by Bert Langeler, Henri Keinemans and the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.

The title derives from the fact that the town of Aalst lies between the rivers Maas and Waal. The community is a very religious one, so the famous Luther chorale was chosen as the theme for a set of variations.

After a short and lively introduction, the theme is stated in full by various sections of the band in turn.

VARIATION I is a moto perpetuo based on the three repeated notes which open the chorale. These eventually become the accompaniment to a more lyrical theme. 

VARIATION II is slower and march-like in character and employs various motifs derived from snippets of the theme.

VARIATION III is the ‘slow movement’ and based around a figures taken from the second half of the theme. A sinister bass theme prefaces an explosive central episode out of which the chorale theme eventually emerges, decorated by the opening figure.

VARITION IV is in the form of a fugue, the theme of which eventually becomes the descant of a more lyrical melody in the middle of the band. The fugue develops along classical lines until it is combined with a full recapitulation of Luther’s chorale. A faster coda, based on Variation I, closes the work.