Canzona sopra "Laat de zon in je hart"

Instrumentation: 4 tenor trombones (opt. 4th part on bass trombone)
Duration: 4 minutes
Year of composition: 2023 

Programme note

The canzona sopra “Laat de zon in je hart” takes a special place in my oeuvre: first of all, it is written for my great friends of the Nymphéas Trombone Quartet. Spending much time together studying, rehearsing, performing but also hanging out made for a special musical friendship with them.

Inspired by the works and specially canzonas by Giovanni Gabrieli, which always work beautifully for trombone quartet I, wanted to make a free setting of a Dutch text. Being not so familiar with Dutch poetry, one of the first texts I could think of were the lyrics to a pop song: Laat de zon in je hart (let the sun enter your heart). In the refrains of the piece you can hear the text clearly in the music with upward glissandi towards the sun, followed by
warm chords depicting the heart. This is called madrigalism or word-painting, a technique introduced by the madrigal composers in 16th century Italy.

This text is not usually taken so seriously, it’s mostly a sing-along party song, but the text conveys a beautiful message: enjoy the beautiful things in life, they seem normal but are actually very special. And they are not eternal, before you know they could vanish and never return. When I showed the text and my idea for the piece to my teacher Wim
Henderickx, a big grin appeared on his face: as a Belgian, he also knew the song. We discussed using renaissance forms, Wim’s first expertise and a big passion of mine, and of course the meaning of this text. I vaguely remember Wim jokingly saying something like:
“For all I know, I could be gone tomorrow. Let’s have fun!”, followed by his characteristic big laugh.

A few months later Wim Henderickx very suddenly passed away which left many people in shock. Immediately this piece got another very emotional layer and I couldn’t work on it for a few months, bursting into tears every time I listened to it.

Commission info

Canzona sopra “Laat de zon in je hart” was commissioned by Nymphéas Trombone Quartet