Sander Vermeulen | Notes

Notes on music

All pieces have a story and some of them are worth sharing. Below you can find these stories or remarks.

Intermezzi op. 104

The 5 Intermezzi op. 104 were commissioned by pianist Linda Karman for a series of recitals. Also a song ("Adesso che lo fatto" op.105) has been composed for this particular series. The 5 Intermezzi are each very different in style and character. A common element is the frequent use of double-stops to color the melodic lines. This requires a certain level of technique from the player.

The middle part of the first Intermezzo has a quote from a famous piano concerto. If you can guess which one, you know which piano concerto is a big favorite of the person who commissioned these pieces.

The fourth Intermezzo consists of a theme followed by two variations. In each variation the theme is modified rhythmically and musically. The theme gave me a feeling of being lost and therefore this Intermezzo has the first verse of Dante Alighieri's Inferno as a motto.

Scherzetto op. 88

The Scherzetto set for flute, oboe and clarinet was written for the final exam of Saskia Verhoek at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht in 2002. As the title indicates, it is a small scherzo with a more reflective middle part and a fast, humorous first and last part.

Olifant & Muis op. 86

This piece for piano 4 hands was one of the pieces that premiered at the composer's final exam at the Utrecht Consevatory. It was created in the tradition of Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev and The Sorcerer's Apprentice by Paul Dukas, and it relates the story of an Elephant walking to his friend Mouse to visit on his birthday. Entering the jazzy party of Mouse, Elephant accidentely sits down on Mouse, crushing him. It is a simple story, but the music is effective.

Souvenirs from 1993 - 1995

Between 1993 and 1995 some pieces were written on actual events or places in the life of the composer. Before that time, pieces where mainly composed as abstract forms and the emotions and events which caused these compositions, were processed indirectly. The piece Kerstgedachten ("Thoughts at the time of Christmas") op. 34 could have been a start on the more programmatic approach, although this piece is still merely conveying abstract impressions about Christmas.

The first real "souvenir" is Corsicania op. 43, which contains memories from a stay on Corsica in the summer of 1993. The piece is divided into four parts, describing the amazingly blue sea, the highest mountain, the atmosphere between the mountains and a famous valley. This piece was inspired by "Ma Vlast" from Bedrich Smetana and probably also by the "Années de Pèlerinage" by Franz Liszt, but only in concept; the approach for this piece is more impressionistic and less virtuoso.

A second piece of note is Het Bronnenbos op. 47 which describes the tiny nature reserve of the same name that surrounded the composer's parental home. In two parts, it depicts the springs that run down the hill through the forest to the big black pond below the hill, where the springs come to a rest.

A last piece that is directly relatable to a real-life event and place is Alpes maritimes op. 55, written after a camping trip in the South of France. It is a more extensive piece, modelled after the Corsicania op. 43, and it has four parts describing a thunderstorm in the mountains, traces of fog in a valley, a majestic mountain pass and an eerie mountain pass. This would be the last piece in which a direct program would be given to the listener. After this piece, pieces were always inspired by events and emotions, but no longer in such a direct way.