Il Racconte del re pazzo

Il Racconto del Re Pazzo is based on the story “The Wicked Prince” by Hans Christian Andersen.

The music follows the general drift of the story. The Prince is represented by a melody which is characterized by the suggestion of a large range. The heroic character as well as the atrocities are portrayed by the virtuoso allegro.

The abrupt breaking off of the fugue-like foundation symbolizes the total shock resulting from the announcement that the prince wants to attack God.

The priests, who try to prevent the Prince from attacking God, are presented through a more plaintive melody. The priests confer with each other about their tactics in the form of a fugue.

However they do not get enough time for this as the Prince abruptly attacks with his wondrous ship. Then God appears and opens the Gates of Heaven for the angels by means of a beautifully sounding G Major chord. The Angel descends (piccolo/flute and clarinet) and lets the single drop of blood fall (glockenspiel). Then follows the dizzying  decline of the ship (without the cliché of letting it fall to the accompaniment of loud crashing noises).

The Prince is deeply affected but is more militant than ever. War fanfares announce the start of the 2nd battle (offstage trumpets) accompanied by the pleas of the priests  begging him not to go ahead with it. The battle is represented by a buildup of an “armada” which becomes increasingly faster.  

A swarm of gnats emerges out of nowhere, one of which (piccolo) manages to sting the Prince. The Prince screams loudly (high woodwinds, trumpets and trombones), after which the main theme returns but now in a mocking tone. 

The allegro now returns but this time in a minor key. The work ends with the death of the Prince – God calls him – in the form of a quickly rising swarm, shortly after which the piece ends.



10 minutes
Janssen Music

About the composer

Christiaan Janssen

I was born on the 19th of February 1974 and have been involved with music since the age of five. When I was seven I went to the “Muziekacademie” in ’s Gravenvoeren in Belgium. There I learned Theory of music and Harmony, and also to play the trumpet and church organ. After this I studied conducting of wind, fanfare and brass bands with Pierre Kuijpers, organ with Dorthy de Rooij and symphony orchestra conducting with Jan Stulen at the Conservatory of Maastricht. I also took additional courses in conducting with several well known conductors. I have been conducting actively since 1994 and at present I am the conductor of a symphony orchestra and two wind bands. Since 1985 I have been experimenting with sound and have been developing as a self-taught composer. I have quite a wide number of compositions to my name amongst which are more than 100 pieces for wind bands. My works have a romantic character and often consist of only a few motifs from which the entire work develops. Counterpoint and a transparent instrumentation play a very important role in this. My work is, like that of all composers, influenced by past masters. The biggest influences on my work have been Johann Sebastian Bach, Anton Bruckner and Richard Strauss. In 2014, → “LBM Jubel-mars” was the winning composition at the composition contest of the “Limburgse Bond van Muziekgezelschappen” (LBM) in the occasion of their 75th anniversary jubilee. In 2015, → Cortège received a special mention by the Atlantic Reed Consort, during the annual Calefax Composers Competition of the famous Dutch wind ensemble Calefax. (→ website Calefax) In 2017, → Capriccio was the test piece in the 1st division for windbands, during the 2nd European Contest for windbands, fanfarebands and brassbands in Luxembourg. Also in 2017, → Suite #6 received a special mention by the Atlantic Reed Consort, during the annual Calefax Composers Competition 2017. I am regularly asked to write a piece or make an arrangement for a wide variety of ensembles, from chamber groups to wind bands and symphony orchestras. To an increasing extent my compositions are being performed by renowned orchestras such as, Fanfare band Brass-aux-Saxes Westerlo (B), Royal Bevers Wind orchestra Beveren-Leie (B), Royal Wind Band of Thorn (NL), Royal Wind Orchestra St. Michael Thorn (NL), Royal Philharmonic Wind orchestra Bocholtz (NL), Royal Old Wind Band of Eijsden (NL), Royal Wind Orchestra Sainte Cécile Eijsden (NL), Gran Canaria Wind Orchestra (ES), Banda de Lalin (ES) and many more…

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