Piano Trio No. 3 “American Dances”
Roel van Oosten
by on February 16, 2005
Dutch composer Roel van Oosten, born in 1958 in The Hague, studied both at The Hague’s Royal Conservatory and the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique in Paris. In 1987 he was selected as artist-in-residence at the workshop of Theo van Doesburg, co-founder with the painter Mondrian of the art movement de Stijl, in Meudon, France.
Most of van Oosten’s compositions have been written as commissions for chamber ensemble, symphony orchestra, music theater, and special events such as the opening of the Dutch parliamentary year. His composition Les Amours, written for choir and orchestra, received the 2001 European Choir Federation Prize. He has presented his works, all available on compact disc, throughout Europe, China, and the United States. His works are published by Donemus Amsterdam and, since 2000, by Ascolta, Houten.
The composer writes: ” Why American Dances? Probably the distinction between so-called ‘serious music’ and popular music is stricter in Europe than in America. Also the controversy between the use of tonality or atonality seems to be less important in the New World.
“Since this piano trio is also a mixture of classical and popular idioms, it could be considered more American than European in mood. Furthermore there are many jazzy influences in this trio. Jazz music has been a refreshing contribution from America to Western music during the last century.
“The Trio consists of four movements:
Part I is a rumba-like dance, with a little march as a middle section. The motives are constantly alternated between the string instruments and the piano.
Part II is a short scherzo-like, jazzy movement, functioning as a kind of ‘entremets’ between the main dishes.
Part III resembles a ballad, but is regularly interrupted by violent outbursts.
Part IV is the most extended movement of this trio. The opening theme is a reminiscence of the first movement. Two thematic groups are introduced in succession, which finally intermingle: the melody of the first group is combined with the rhythm of the second group. As a real final movement it ends with fortissimo trills and glissandi after which a small coda with the rumba-like rhythm of the first movement concludes the Trio.
Sponsored by: Members of the Arizona Senior Academy and the Academy Village