Each month I highlight a different piece of music. This month:
The Eagle's Flight
Glenn Van Looy's performance didn't go unnoticed, as he was the winner of the 'outstanding soloist' prize at the WMC Kerkrade '22.
Back in the summer of 2014, Glenn was invited by Jens Lindemann to the Banff Centre Brass Program (Canada) - both as a member of the All Star Brass (YouTube-tip: Pines of Rome - All Star Brass) and as a soloist.
Since not much music exists for Brass Quintet and euphonium solo, Glenn asked me to write a piece for this occasion. I had exactly one month to do so, and just before I started writing I stumbled upon a video of an eagle with a camera mounted on his back. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3QrhdfLCO8).
Fascinating stuff to watch, it immediately captured my imagination and fueled my inspiration.
No more than a few wing beats is all an eagle needs to begin his flight from standstill. I gave him two in a 5/8 measure, to begin his journey. A flight over mountains and valleys, soaring to great heights only to glide back down, watching the splendor of nature while returning to his nest to feed their young and dream of providing a good life for them ...
The most obvious symbolism connected with the eagle relates to its physical power. Strength, ferocity, focus, and willpower are all connected with eagles. Additionally, eagles can be seen as representing truth, justice, honesty, integrity, and duty. The eagle’s flight reminds us to choose the high road whenever possible. Something that totally resonates with how I perceive Glenn, as a musician as well as a human being: on top of his game!
Fast forward to the end of December '21, when Glenn asked me to make a Brass Band version of this piece.
The Swiss Valaisia Brass Band (of which he is part) was to compete for the world title at the four-year World Music Contest in Kerkrade, and they chose my piece as the solo work in their (outstanding) program.
Although they finished second to reigning world champion Brass Band Willebroek, they managed to win the soloist prize in a field of competitors of the highest level, thanks to a stellar performance by both the band and the ever excellent Glenn in top form!