Works for band
In 1987, a new unit was added to the Belgian Air Force: the Air Commandos.
For the official ceremony, Lieutenant-General Lefèbvre asked Alain Crepin to compose an official march. This march is intended above all to be young and dynamic. The syncopated rhythm plays a large role, and in the second part, the variations on the cavalry trumpet bring all the desired panache.
Air d’automne (1990) [Autumn Air] is a composition charged with human emotion: it was finished a few days before the death of the composer’s father. This helps us to understand better the sadness of the musician at this period. Alain Crepin has dedicated this piece to his father. The character of the composition is, naturally, nostalgic. It is based on a very expressive theme played by the solo flute at the beginning.
The main theme is transformed for each different group of instruments in the orchestra, showing each under the best light. The counterpoint enriches the discourse by proposing admirable melodies which could themselves be used as secondary themes.
Autumn Air has rapidly become one of Alain Crepin’s most popular works.
A piece with three linked movements evoking different moods: Tension, Serenity, Intoxication. From the first bars, the listener is attacked: a succession of rhythmical effects on the percussion and in the orchestra (divided into small sections), varied orchestral colours; all this creates a great deal of tension which is quickly relaxed by a gentle slow movement.
Calm comes with a rhythmical ostinato in chordal changes played by the brass; above this the nostalgic oboe sings. In the expressive key of E flat minor, the cor anglais declaims a calm and generous theme. The orchestra tries, from time to time, to make its voice heard, but cadences interrupt it before a tutti leading to the next movement.
The third movement, subtitled “Intoxication “, is like a race with reminiscences of the first movement. This is followed by a stressful chromatic section. A more classical theme on F major finally appears, thwarted several times by the chromatic elements. In the coda, the composer brings back the different aspects of the work by evoking the thematic cells which were used.
Alain Crepin is not only famous in wind-music circles as a conductor and a saxophonist, but he has also made a name for himself with a great number of other compositions. Who has not heard of the solo for saxophone and wind-band, Saxflight ?
Here we present Bayarderie, a lively character piece in a light style and a welcome addition to any concert programme.
The march Bij ons in Kee Bie (1992) was composed at the request of the Base Commander of Kleine Brogel, Colonel A. Janssens. At his request, it was based on the tune of the Limburg Hymn. The title alludes to the name of the Air Force base at Kleine Brogel (Kee Bie) in the Belgian province of Limburg. The convention of integrated popular songs and other tunes into a composition has a long tradition, used by many composers, such as Smetana in the Moldau, Brahms in the Akademische Fest-Ouverture or Stravinsky in Petrouchka. In Bij ons in Kee Bie, the melody is quoted in the second part, transformed into a march. The composer, in this piece, displays his talent in orchestration.
From the Latin nox (the night) and aequus (equal), the equinox indicates the day when the day is equal to the night. Each year, on the 21st March and the 23 September, light and dark are equal. To celebrate or upset the equinox, the moon comes to the meeting and disrupts habits: the tides are high and spectacular, the storms violent. Nature shows itself more clearly in these days.
The equinox is also a special period for artists: their sensitivity reaches its climax, their necessity to create wakes up; the insomnia waiting for them becomes favourable for composing.
Doubtless it is a little of all this that the composer wished to express in this piece, first performed at Montceau-les-Mines the 14 December 1997 by the Amis Réunis conducted by the composer during a concert devoted entirely to his pieces.
Equinoxe is dedicated to Jean-François Duband, a friend of the composer, to Daniel Ribolet, conductor of the Amis Réunis of Montceau-les-Mines as well as the musicians of this band.
Emotions (1993) is a piece in which the composer has tried to express the emotions of girls starting to discover life and love. This is why most of the themes are full of energy or sensitivity, while some more-or-less neutral passages evoke the inner turmoil that can disturb the adolescent.
The form of the work is A-B-A. In the simplicity and clarity of the musical language, listeners will discover the pleasures of music which is entertaining and without problems. The use of small percussion instruments (wood-block, temple blocks, bell-tree) is very typical of Alain Crepin.
Emotions is dedicated to the G. Votano Symphonic Band of Tamines.
March of 1 Wing at Beauvechain
The official marching song of the 1° Wing starts with the shout of the Fighters La Chasse … Bordel (translated best as The chase … chaos), which after having been reteated, is followed by a military flourish of trumpets that lets the unique identity of the Air base of Beauvechain resound. The awakening of the falcon is then portrayed by the following diminuendo. At the moment when he approaches his prey, the orchestral cescendo resounds and ends in a tutti that expresses the final attack. The fight is than musically expressed and brought to life.
As an introduction to the second part, we hear the trumpets that are then followed by several notes of Peter and the Wolf by Prokofiev, which at the same time introduces us to the wolf, the present emblem of the unit. The melody that follows brings to light the legendary coldbloddedness of this animal.
The town of Albertville (Savoie, France) organises each year a well-known festival of military music.
The Belgian Air Force Band had already taken part in this festival three times. The organisers of this festival rapidly became friends of the Air Force Band and its conductor, Alain Crepin. After the second appearance at the Festival of the Band, the committee asked Alain Crepin to compose the official festival hymn, and since then he has taken part in each festival to conduct this piece.
Friendship’s Hymn is a work movingn by its depth. The main theme is announced by an orchestral crescendo. The piece finishes in apotheosis and the friendship suggested by the music is omnipresent. This piece is dedicated to Jean collier, organiser of the festival.
This march was composed by Alain Crepin on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of a Belgian Army group, and was inspired by Celtic traditions: an ostinato rhythm and a bourdon in the lower instruments. In the second theme the composer uses the old minor mode. The second part (the trio) is faster, thus contrasting with the first part by its lightness and its trumpet fanfares.
The work has three parts evoking different aspects of Jersey where, surrounded by numerous bays, fishing ports are situated. This work was composed after a sojourn on the island and it is an evocation of different atmospheres that appealed to the composer. In other words, it is a set of three picture postcards that are rather suggestive than truly descriptive, taken along by the traveller als memories.
Everything in Jersey turns around the sea, which is also the binding element of these evocations. Thus every part begins with a rather mysterious introduction representing the different aspects of the sea.
The first movement, Bouley Bay follows after the introduction, it is an allegro with two themes. Contrary to the normal practice, a lyrical theme in 4/4 is first presented and it is followed by a bright second theme in 3/4.
These themes in the movement recur under different orchestrations, or interwoven. The mysterious introduction is resumed as a conclusion, but in a more rhythmical version.
The second movement, Rozel Bay, starts with a contrast between brass and wood. The tenor saxophone presents the romantic theme in a minor key. It is subsequently repeated by the orchestra in an ABACA sheme.
In the coda, the pedal on the tonic evokes distant landscapes.
The third movement depicts the capital St. Helier, the heart of business on the island. A march emerges from a somewhat ambiguous atmosphere. A maestoso (allegro)-theme is interrupted by theme-fragments of Bouley Bay – nostalgic recollections of the most beautyful moments of the sojourn – and ends in a grandioso, derived from the first theme of the first movement, but in 3/4. The rhythm on the little drum renders the numerous bustling little shopping streets of the town.
The Royal Brass Band les Amateurs of Dinant has the initials H.R.A.D., read as “hacheradé”. For its centenary, Alain Crepin composed this march, a simple, light and dynamic piece, full of life.
Official marching song of the 21° Logistic Wing of the Belgian Air Force.
This march is full of life and very dynamic. Lean on the Ground was composed to celebrate the 5thanniversary of the creation of the 21° Logistic Wing. You can hear two parts with very different styles. It’s a tribute to people who are working “on the ground”. The spirit of the march is very young and voluntary.
Marche de l’ESO by Alain Crepin, composer and musical director of the Belgian Air Force Band, was commissioned by the Belgian Non-Commissioned Officiers Training School N° 1 (Ecole des Sous-Officiers n° 1). The tanbourines and clarions do give the piece a little something extra, but they have been integrated in such a way that the march works outstandingly without them.
Inspired by the new liturgy, the Universal Mass aims at being simple, up-to-date and full of hope. It includes the five musical parts which have, in part, become fashionable in the Mass since the Vatican reform of the sixties.
The Entry, with its solemn character, invites the faithful to the Mass.
The Meditation is played between the readings. The baritone and the flute here develop a melancholic theme.
The Offertory is a short piece which features an expressive melody on the trumpet. The orchestra takes over the melody and repeats it in imitation.
The Communion is characterized by its ostinato rhythm which underpins a melody given to the tenor saxophone and the vibraphone.
With its dynamism, the concluding piece invites the Christian to take up his path and to share his joy
This work is at one and the same time a work of synthesis and a work resolutely turned towards the future. At the dawn of the third millennium, the composer wanted to express his desires and hopes. The piece questions us by its simultaneous chords surrounded by many rests. Bumpy rhythms announce the main theme which is sketched by the horns and the trumpets, accompanied by the rest of the orchestra in a rhythmical ostinato. After the exposition of the theme by the full orchestra, mystery and doubt arrive in the composer’s heart: whole-tone harmonies and a melodic ascension announcing the third millennium. Without hesitation, the composer expresses his confidence, hope and joy by a majestic theme finishing the work with all the instruments. Just before the end, he surprises us by an ambiguous bitonal chord.
The colourful orchestration along with the beauty and the natural quality of the melodic lines are the attractive elements in this composition written in a pure ragtime style..
Because the commune of Berlare undertook the sponsorship of the Belgian Air Force Band, Alain Crepin was enjoined to write a piece for the city.
The premier of the work was scheduled for the inauguration of the Stroming cultural centre, to be performed by the Belgian Air Force Band. The rhapsody draws on the popular themes of the Berlare region.
Rencontres (1991) is a piece commissioned for the opening of the first European Band Festival, held at Beaume les Dames in France in May 1992, and destined for G. Scheid and the “Fédération Régionale des Sociétés Musicales” of Franche-Comté.
This piece, written for a large or small brass band, offers two distinct styles, finely chiselled by the composer. The opening is solemn, as befits a festival overture, then travels through the contrasts of a very rhythmical second section, followed by a singing third section. These bring to mind the agitation and dreams found in all musical meetings.
Rencontres was chosen to be the imposed piece for the competition of the “Confédération Musicale de France” in 1994.
In 1994, the centenary of the death of Adolphe Sax, the organizing committee of the “Sax Year” at Dinant commissioned a piece by Alain Crepin which was to show to its best advantage the saxophone section of brass bands. This piece was first performed on the 25th September 1994, when there was a meeting of 27 brass bands, including no less than 1.347 musicians.
Alain Crepin has 3 passions in life : humor, music and wine. The “Suite Tastevinesque” was written and based upon a chapter of the famous “Confrérie des Chevaliers du Taste-vin”. The headquarter of this brotherhood is based in Nuits-Saint-Georges in Bourgogne. During the “Chapitre des Sarments”, in October 1989, the composer was found worthy of being a part of this brotherhood with the grade of “Chevalier du Tastevin”. The “Suite Tastevinesque” is composed of three parts. Those three pictures tend to musically express the newly promoted member. The composition is dedicated to the composer’s Godfather in the brotherhood, his friend Monsieur Albert Dechaume. The three parts are: I. “Intronisation” II. “Château du clos Vougeot” III. “Disnée”. We can recognize the momentary allusions to “Bon Bourguignon” and to another famous song: “Et je suis fier d’être Bourguignon”.
This version was created in Foy Notre-Dame by the ensemble Squillante in October 2012
A work rich in contradictions. Inspired by several different styles, it brings together new and old energies at the service of the modern brass band. The end of the second millenium is evoked by a few regrets and hesitations, while the hopes offered by the third millenium are a certain source of new and living energy. The introduction casually throws the twentieth century behind us. Many rests or rhythmical formulas evoke some absences of mankind in the 20th century. The work has two main themes. The first is based on the interval of the fourth while the second is an energetic rhythmic formula. The questions of the introduction appear accentuated by a few musical pursuits evoking mankind’s constant search for happiness. The minor keys favour the rhythm of the second theme. The orchestra relentlessly develops an enormous energy. The first theme uses the rhythms of the second to finish this eventful allegro. Very expressive, the Andante in F minor also develops a discreet nostalgia. A sort of funeral march can be imagined. A short cadential transition puts mankind in orbit for the third millenium. The coda opens the door to all hopes and uses a few resources that the composer had reserved to express his joy.
March of the 2nd Tactical Wing of Florennes
The march Taïaut-Taïaut was composed at the request of colonel Léon Sténuit, head of the 2nd Tactical Wing of the Belgian Air Force base at Florennes.
The introduction brings to mind the take-off of an F16. After a short allusion to the Sambre et Meuse march, the composer develops an original theme reminding us of some bumps that he experienced in a flight on an F16. This is followed by solos on the percussion and the piccolo reminding us of regional marches. The reprise of the first theme expresses the delight of flying.
In the Trio, Alain Crepin quotes the Taïaut, a typical hunting horn call. This call is regularly recalled in the tradition of the Florennes base. After a theme drawn from the Taïaut melody follows a passage on trombones and the bass division in the American style. This passage reminds us of the many years that the Americans were present on the Florennes air force base. This march is dedicated to Colonel Sténuit and to the Taïaut Band.
The march The White Bison (1988) was composed at the request of Air Force Colonel Jardon, commander of the 3rd Tactical Wing of Bierset in 1988.
The colonel had imposed three conditions:
1. the march must have a military character. This appears in the opening fanfare and the martial theme of the first part.
2. a short extract of the “Fous Volonts” must be recognisable. This melody is played by the horns and clarinets in the first part.
3. finally, the main theme of the Belgian Air Force March should be recognisable.
The composer used this theme in the trio, in augmentation.