Opening Singapore Wind Symphony’s program for 2017 is “Fellini“, a concert presented by renowned composer and conductor Johan de Meij!
In a carefully crafted program by Johan and resident conductor Adrian Tan, the concert will feature recent music by the Dutch maestro and two new works by young Asian composers.
Beginning the concert is “Spring”, a movement of a four part suite that Johan is currently writing. The suite is based entirely on Scandinavian folk music and “Spring” is inspired by Swedish folk songs. Members of the audience will also get to hear his transcription of Celtic Classics, a work based on Irish Folk songs that was originally arranged for orchestra as a medley.
In the second half, the wind symphony will be opening with The Witches of Sabbath, adapted from Giacomo Puccini‘s first opera “Le Villi” which was written at the age of 24. Following it, be treated to “Malay Dances” by local composer Peter Gale (also winner of the recent Young Composers Challenge 2016), and Garak Dance by Korean composer Soo-Hyun Park, who was commissioned to write for SWS’s tour to South Korea.
“I’ve seen both works and I love them a lot. It is different from what I am used to, especially in the States. The music is fresh and most importantly, we are able to promote young composers from this region; and not just my own music,” said Johan.
Closing the program will be the Asian premiere of Anthony Fiumara’s “Fantasia Napoletana”, based on an Italian folk song from Napoli, which is known for its beautiful singing traditions.
The main highlight of the concert however, is “Fellini“, which is also the title name of the concert.
Inspired by one of the most influential filmmakers of all time, the work is a tribute to the legendary Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini (1920-1993).
Originally commissioned by Musikgesellschaft Vispe in 2015, and supported by the Fellini Foundation from Switzerland, the composition takes the listener into the surrealistic and dreamy world. Specially written for Belgian saxophone virtuoso Hans de Jong, who will also be at the concert on Sunday, he would perform his role in the personification of a circus clown.
“It took me about one year to write the work. Hans and I had been friends since 1997 so doing the work this year is sort of like a celebration of our 20 years together. When planning the composition, I chose to have Hans to be not just a soloist, but also as an actor. He will move around on stage, interact with the band, and play beautiful passages that showcase several functional techniques such as the slap-tongue,” said Johan.
The 23 minute work comprises the elements of circus and clowns, which appear in almost every of Fellini’s movie. Written with elements from Puccini, the composition is supposed to sound quite dramatic, very much in circus style.
“I am very excited to be part of this project. Before I met Johan, I admired his colourful writing; I even called him Ravel of the wind band music. He is very detailed, very refined and know what he wanted to do. As a contemporary artist, I perform mostly new concertos, and always look for new ways to compose and perform music. When he wrote the piece, I was asked to act as a clown, and I embraced this idea,” reflected Hans.
“I hope the audience would enjoy it!”
Singapore Wind Symphony presents FELLINI! by Johan de Meij / Tickets at $15 and available here
A contributing editor at TBP.