Robbert Vos | Vox

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Vox

by Robbert Vos

The new solo album of Dutch euphonium virtuoso Robbert Vos consists of five (mostly) new major compositions for euphonium in combination with brass band, wind band and fanfare band.
Genre: Classical: Band Music
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Underground Concerto: Movement 1, Les Voreux - Christian Overhead
7:24 $2.50
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2. Underground Concerto: Movement 2, The Descent of Orpheus - Christian Overhead
7:09 $2.50
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3. Underground Concerto: Movement 3, Euphoria - Christian Overhead
6:37 $2.50
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4. The Hell of '63 - Hendrik De Boer
11:58 $2.50
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5. Les Ruses Du Renard - Jan Bosveld
18:29 $2.50
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6. Concertino for Euphonium and Band - Marco Pütz
10:49 $2.50
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7. Spinning Gears - Geert Jan Kroon
10:26 $2.50
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Robbert Vos is a Dutch euphonium soloist, tutor and conductor. Since 2014 he is the euphonium player of the Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy and since 2007 he is the solo euphonium of Brass Band Schoonhoven. As a soloist he is frequently asked to work with various orchestras, give workshops and provide lessons for students. He worked with famous orchestras as the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Band of the Royal Netherlands Air Force and the Cory Band. More information and a full biography can be found on euphonium.blog or robbertvos.com
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I’m proud to present to you my new solo album, VOX – an album which, as the Latin word implies, showcases my own euphonium voice. The title also combines my surname, Vos, with its English translation, Fox, which in turn alludes to one of the pieces commissioned especially for the CD - ‘Les Ruses du Renard’ (or ‘The Tricks of the Fox’).

As the euphonium has more than one face, I wanted to make an album comprised of serious music in combination with a variety of different ensembles. I’m very pleased to include four brand new compositions on the CD, most of them written especially for this project. These pieces are all stylistically very different, yet each play to the strengths of the instrument. Alongside these four world premiere recordings is Marco Pütz’ ‘Concertino for Euphonium’. One of the best works written for euphonium and fanfare band (a typical Dutch ensemble). The piece has never been recorded in this way. By recording these five pieces with brass band, wind band, and fanfare band, I hope to display the various ‘voces’ the euphonium has to offer.

Program Notes:

Underground Concerto (for euphonium, percussion, and brass band) by British composer Christian Overhead was commissioned specifically for this project by Robbert Vos. The idea for this collaboration came about shortly after Christian joined Brass Band Schoonhoven in 2013. Upon the announcement of this CD project, the perfect platform on which to develop this idea was presented, and serious work on the composition began in early 2016.

Movement I – ‘Le Voreux’
The inspiration for the first movement is taken from the French novelist Emile Zola’s 1885 work ‘Germinal’ (part of his ‘Les Rougon-Macquart’ series). The story centres around Etienne Lantier, a young migrant who moves to the coal mining town of Montsou to find work in the town’s pit – ‘Le Voreux’. Throughout the novel, the pit is portrayed not only as a setting for many of the scenes, but almost as its own character – complete with changing moods and often its own form of dialogue. Christian has used these characteristics as the basis for this movement. It is highly atmospheric music, full of tension, as the threatening groans of ‘Le Voreux’ warn the miners and their axes that they could be devoured at any given moment.

Movement II – ‘The Descent of Orpheus’
In this movement, we move further into the depths for a more programmatic style of music. The story of Orpheus is one of the most well-known tales from Greek mythology: After his wife, Eurydice, suffers a fatal viper bite, Orpheus travels to the Underworld to retrieve her. Famed for his musical prowess, he succeeds in persuading Hades and Persephone to let his wife go by softening their hearts with mournful songs. There is, however, one condition – he must walk in front of Eurydice and not look back until they have both reached the Upper World. Not being able to resist looking upon her, he ultimately breaks that condition and she is lost forever.
Now we are firmly underground, there is only one way to go…
Movement III – ‘Euphoria’
The final movement represents a struggle to escape from the depths. The composer chose to portray this through the use of ‘uplifting’ music – in this case traces of funk, jazz, hip-hop, and techno. Amidst fragments of thematic material from the preceding movements, the soloist is featured in a highly virtuosic role, often involving ascending chromatic runs symbolising an upward push. This culminates in a transitional double cadenza (with drum kit) as we finally reach the surface with a flourish, achieving ‘Euphoria’!

The Hell of ‘63 is the second concertino for euphonium and fanfare band composed by Dutch composer Hendrik de Boer, and is another special commission for this CD. The composition is a musical reproduction of the so-called ‘Elfstedentocht’ (or ‘Eleven Cities Tour’) of 1963, a legendary 200 kilometre skating event which passes through eleven cities in Friesland. The tour of 1963 is known as the toughest in the event’s history due to the dreadful weather conditions. The winner of this ‘tour of all tours’ was Reinier Paping.
The composition consists of five serried movements:

1. Frozen landscapes
2. Eos, carving wind from the east
3. Blinded by snow
4. Light in the dark
5. The tour has ended

The composer has tried to use different tone sequences, in combination with constant successive modulations, to simulate a sense of motion: the skating tour with the soloist in the role of the ice skater. The tour starts in total darkness. The ice skater is not visible or audible yet. This changes with the first burst of sunlight. He takes the time to absorb his surroundings, taking in the frozen landscape. He starts to realize that this tour will be a grueling one.
With the wind at his back, he let’s himself be swept along. When possible, he takes long strokes. The skater is constantly on the lookout for bad ice, cracks posing a continuous threat. He must also be careful not to ‘hit the wall’. Due to the enormous distance to be covered, fatigue is a very real issue.
This fatigue, combined with the carving eastern wind, causing snowdrift, makes the skater snow blind. He is now wandering, not knowing where to go. Giving up is not an option. Metre by metre, he stumbles ever further. Suddenly, a light in the dark! Recognition and feeling are back. After a final physical effort, the tour is complete. There is a short euphoric moment, but this soon makes way for a feeling of extreme tiredness. The light slowly extinguishes, the ice skater disappearing once more into the darkness…

Les Ruses du Renard is the third commission for this CD, and was written by well-known Dutch composer Jan Bosveld. The work is non-programmatic, consisting of four contrasting movements which merge into each other. One of the starting points for the piece was to create a dialogue between the soloist and band. Both have their own responsibilities, co-existing beside one another whilst carrying out their own plans. At the same time there is an element of symbiosis, as they strive to strengthen each other. This can be heard very clearly in the first and fourth movements. The musical material for the soloist and for the band is quite different, yet one compliments the other.
Another starting point was, of course, utilising the qualities of the soloist. The euphonium as a solo instrument can be characterised by lyricism and virtuosic technique. Robbert combines these two elements with enormous flexibility and an extreme range. The second movement is all about lyricism, whilst flexibility is at the forefront in the third. In the fourth movement, the range of the instrument is fully utilised. Due to the use of a mute and several irregular time signatures, the character of this movement can be described as ‘capricious’. This leads into a cadenza, with a range of almost four octaves. After a brief reprise of the first movement, the piece ends with a short fast-paced finale. ‘Les Ruses du Renard’ (or ‘The Tricks of the Fox’) of course refers to the translation of Vos (Fox)… it’s all in the name!

Concertino for Euphonium and Band, by Marco Pütz, was commissioned in 2003 by Steven Mead and the Fanfare Band of Luxembourg-Bonnevoie. The ten-minute work is written in one continuous movement (fast-slow-cadenza-fast) and presents many opportunities for the soloist to demonstrate his technical, as well as his musical ability. The form and musical language are very traditional, and quite accessible to both audience and soloist.
In 2007, the piece was recorded with wind band and, two years later, with brass band. Over the last few years, the Concertino has become more and more popular and today it is regularly performed across the world. This recording is the first in its original format.

Spinning Gears is a brand new solo piece for euphonium and brass band, from the pen of Dutch composer Geert Jan Kroon. The piece describes a lonely cyclist emerging from the fog, attempting a steep climb. The inner struggle of the cyclist begins and leads to a final explosion of power as he pushes himself to the top. There, his thoughts wander and he begins to reminisce about the past whilst soaking in the vast scenery. The trip continues with the descent, leading to high speeds and acrobatics. A final sprint to an imaginary finish awards the cyclist victory: he has won the battle against himself.

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