Villa Musica

Concert Band

Villa Musica

Sinfonische Varianten
über ein badisches Volkslied

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Performance time:
Full Score + Parts
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1. Prelude
2. Nocturne
3. Finale

The three-movement composition „Villa Musica – Symphonic variants on a Baden folk song” was commissioned by the Fahrnau Community Band in the summer of 2002. Two conceptual aspects have been very important to me: First, I wanted to integrate the occasion for the commission, which is the construction of a new rehearsal building, called “Villa Musica”. Second, I wanted to fulfill the wish of conductor Andreas Meier to include melodies from the region of Fahrnau. I found the Baden folk song “In Mutters Stübeli” with a wonderful suitable melody. “Villa Musica” is not written in the classical form of a theme and variations. The complete original song does not appear even one single time. The song and its intervals rather serve as basic material for my own themes and musical associations.
The first Movement “Prelude” is a festive opening music, showing great happiness for the new building. A modern fanfare depicts its monumental front gate. The trumpet section presents the opening statement in unison, and later in a four-part setting. Other brass instruments canonically join until the entire band is playing. A grave bridge passage by the woodwinds leads to an excited Allegro. Flutes and muted trumpets alternately play frantic semiquaver motifs showing the excitement of setting foot in the new building. For the first time we hear motifs of the song “In Mutters Stübeli”, played by the clarinets, but in four-four time instead of three-four time and with a modified melodic structure. This charged atmosphere ends in a recapitulation of the opening fanfare.
The second movement “Nocturne” opens with a mysterious nocturnal atmosphere, beginning with pianissimo high woodwinds. Impressionistic layers of sound form the basis for an elegiac trumpet solo, including fragments of the folk song. Suddenly the fog dissolves and opens a view through the skylight of the “Villa Musica” on a sparkling spangled sky, depicted by a captivating melody with clarinets and horns. Once again there appear contemplative thoughts and the foggy atmosphere of the beginning returns, before the oboe plays an Arioso over the mist of sound and finally releases the beautiful night sky. I created that change of moods by using sharp keys, uncommon for wind band. At first, D major may be quite challenging for amateur band musicians, but I am sure after a few rehearsals everybody will be positive about the extraordinary and effective sound.
The final movement “Allegro Marziale” is a determined, almost aggressive music. All five percussionists needed for the piece open the last movement with rhythmic motifs that are taken from the folk song. The wind instruments take over this pulse. A driving theme, first in the woodwinds, later in the lower brass, also uses fragments of the folk song, but this time in a minor key. This agitated Allegro is supposed to show the endurance necessary for a big project like building the “Villa Musica. It is interrupted by a solemn choral and a terrific Fugato, wandering throughout the entire band.
“Villa Musica” is a composition that combines modern elements and new tone colors for wind band. The third movement was strongly influenced by an encounter with Stephen Melillo at a composing workshop in the summer of 2003. His way of composing did not really change my personal musical style, but it had a big effect on how I approach a new composition. Therefore I feel much obliged to him.
Markus Goetz

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