Sinfonietta No 1

Sinfonietta No 1 was commissioned by the Foundation of Friends of the Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy. They first performed it in ‘De Doelen’, Rotterdam on the 13th November 1990 (in a joint concert with the Royal Marines Band from Great Britain), which celebrated the 325th anniversary of the band and the 175th anniversary of naval music in the Netherlands.

The work is in three linked movements: -

1 Overture

Several contrasting motivic ideas open the work, but none manage to develop into a theme of any sort. Eventually a short theme appears on clarinet, alto saxophone and horn but it is swept away by runs of triplets from the woodwinds. The theme returns, accompanied by the triplets and this leads to a return of the opening material to close the movements.

2 Aria

The second movement opens with violent outbursts from the timpani until a simple, mournful tune is presented by flute and bassoon over a sparse accompaniment by the lower brass. Trumpets introduce a quicker, turbulent central section but this leads back to a brief repeat of the original tune, bringing the movement to a peaceful close.

3 Scherzo

The final movement is a fast and furious scherzo which bursts into life with a flurry of notes. The vivacious main (woodwind) theme is first played by the flutes and then by the whole woodwind section. A cornet then takes centre stage with a fanfare-like theme which is then taken up by the brass. A bridge passage then leads to a version of this theme for full band. The original flute tune is then developed until the horns introduce a chorale tune which is taken up by saxes and then the full band until the opening material reappears. The woodwind and brass themes are then combined and lead to a forceful version of the chorale which becomes more and more dissonant until the opening of the Overture returns to bring the work to a rousing finish.