Ygdrasill is a symphonic poem composed for a symphonic band. It consists of seven passages that refer to the linden tree in the village of Sambeek in The Netherlands. This linden, Tilia X vulgaris, is a king-size pruned linden tree that, with its girth of 7.5 meters and height of 25 meters, belongs to the largest and most perfect trees of the country. Although this 500-year-old tree is known as the oldest tree of the country, the stories and legends make it seem much older. This giant would be a millennial Ygdrasill, a tree known in Germanic mythology as a "tree of life". Under this tree, which was dedicated to the goddess Freya, marriages were consummated and judgments felled. Therefore the tree gained an important place in the Germanic community. It was planted by a medieval king named Karel de Grote and it served as a camp for the armies of Napoleon. This tree can tell more stories than any history book. Commissioned by the symphonic band Semper Unitas, from Sambeek, composer Jan Bosveld wrote a composition with this linden tree as its inspiration. Based on the transformation of the tree throughout the four seasons, Jan Bosveld produced a nineteen minutes lasting, impression called Ygdrasill. Summer dawn: The sounds of an early summer morning. Short solo fragments give voice to the first rays of the sun, the chirping of birds and a crowing rooster. Nature comes to life and is soon bathed in the lime light from the bright summer sun. A short solo in the bassoon and the day begins. Summer: The vitality of a summer day. Energetic repetitive motives of brass instruments are melting with lively melodies in the other registers. The alla breve measure provides the necessary hectic energy and excitement. The Sambeekse linden is at its best and hundreds of tourists admire its impressive green appearance. Autumn: Quiet, bleak autumn tones played by the woodwinds and the strings forming a beautiful background for the English Horn solo: Freya, the Germanic goddess of fertility is looking for her lover. Leaves are falling and the imposing skeleton of the tree is visible. Freya still wanders around the tree. Above soft timpani rolls, the English Horn raises her plaintive song again. Autumn storm: The timpani rolls swells. Soon swirling clarinet passages depict the autumn storms. The gusts are getting stronger and the creaking of the old tree is heard. Bright flashes of lightning and downpours alternate. The huge crown of the millennial sweeps up and down with massive force. The upper branches are crashing down. The whirlwind in the woodwinds and xylophone fall silent leaving a damaged linden behind. Winter: A grimly trombone solo heralds the cold season in which the black anatomy of the leafless tree is silhouetted against the gray sky. Clarinets give voice to the frost in which short solo fragments can be heard as icy vibrations. The sight of the snow and ice-covered tree against the bright blue frosty air is overwhelming. The days are getting longer, the weather is bright. This tree is not dead, but still alive. Spring: The lively and cheerful spring has arrived. Leafs spring from the linden and flora and fauna awaken. A cheerful theme is introduced by the bassoon, taken over by the clarinet and soon this theme sounds throughout the whole orchestra. It is more crowded in and around the old tree. Birds fly in and out and build their nests, squirrels climb up and down and there are bees buzzing through the ever thickening canopy. The cycle is complete. The sounds of Summer dawn repeat themselves and are the prelude to the "Ode to the tree." Tilia X vulgaris: The bountiful warm tones of the symphonic band sound like the rustling of a thousand linden leaves. These quiet waves form the background for a melody used by the horns and euphoniums. An imposing melody is adopted by more and more instruments until the entire orchestra moves ecstatically to the rhythm of the green foliage. There he stands, the Sambeekse linden tree. Ygdrasill, the Tree of Life. Unapproachable and aging defiantly, he will survive us all.



Symphonic Band
grade 5-6
20.00 min
Star Music Publishing

About the composer

Jan Bosveld

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