Van Heuvelen Symphony No. 1
November 11, 2012 11:32 AM   Subscribe

When the peace came along in Europe in April of 1945, we just practically sat there without anything to do. Most of the gentlemen drew house plans, because they were thinking they were going to get out of the service pretty soon. And I wrote a symphony. (Transcript) The symphony Van Heuvelen wrote sat on the shelf for decades, and last week he got to witness it performed for the first time.

Each of the 4 movements relates to a different era of the war
He said he’s both nervous and excited to hear it live. The first movement relates to the worldwide build-up to the war. “It was a sad, sad period,” he said.

The second movement relays the hustle and bustle in America as the nation ramped up to being drawn into the conflict.

The third movement is the war itself, something that has personal significance for Van Heuvelen. His brother was in the force that landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day.

“He survived ... there were a lot of prayers.”

The fourth movement, his favorite, conveys “glorious peace. I have a lot of beautiful music in that movement ... it’s my favorite part.”

On Sunday, a lifelong dream will be realized.

“It’s just really amazing,” he said. “It’s amazing my sons could pull this off. I never, never thought this would ever happen.”
posted by DynamiteToast (5 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
What the hell. What is this... stuff in my eye? Damn it, I must have a bit of dust in my eye. No, it's nothing. Never mind. I'll be ok.
posted by clvrmnky at 11:49 AM on November 11, 2012

"The rumor was that we were going to be shipped to Japan," he says. "And then Hiroshima/Nagasaki came along, and that ended the war completely."

So I expect the piece has quite a finale to match this? The orchestra smashes all their instrument, sets them on fire, and then some Beach Boys music starts playing.
posted by three blind mice at 11:50 AM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is so lovely I can hardly bear it. music beats war.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:18 PM on November 11, 2012

What a great story.

My favorite bit, though, is the Army guy in charge of the band who breathes a sigh of relief that the music is "tonal" and "accessible." Would've sucked to have to realize that 90-year-old vet's dream of having his dodecaphonic symphony played before he died, I guess.
posted by the sobsister at 7:24 PM on November 11, 2012

Is it possible that there are great symphonies out there that have never seen the light of day? Okay, probably not, but maybe...
posted by mrhappy at 11:26 PM on November 11, 2012

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