2020 European Youth Championship test pieces announced

Works by Jan de Haan and Kazys Daugela will test the bands in the Premier and Development Sections of the 2020 European Youth Championships.

  The Championships take place in Palanga

The Music Commission of the European Brass Band Association (EBBA) has announced the set-test pieces for the 6th European Youth Brass Band Championships to be held in Palanga next year.

The European Youth Championship Premier and Development Section contests take place on Sunday 3rd May 2020.

Premier Section:

The Premier Section contenders will perform 'The Baltic Way' by Jan de Haan.

The work is inspired by a huge mass demonstration staged in the Baltic States as a call for independence from the Soviet Union on August 23rd 1989.

'The Baltic Way' or 'Baltic Chain' as it became known, saw approximately two million participants linking hands from Vilnius through Riga to Tallinn, forming a human chain over 600 kilometres in length.

It became a significant moment in time — one that eventually heralded the collapse of Soviet intervention in the region, resulting ultimately in the Baltic States gaining their independence.

Jan de Haan's three-movement composition (approx 10 and a half minutes in duration) opens with 'Struggle' — a reference to a nocturne for piano by Lithuanian composer and painter Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1875-1911) providing thematic material used throughout the composition.

The music reflects the resolve and resistance of the Baltic people, before a reference to the anthem of the Soviet Union in the lower brass is relentlessly pushed aside to herald the Lithuanian national anthem, 'Tautiska giesme' (Lithuania, Our Homeland).

'Decades of Suffering', echoes life under the Soviet yoke, before the final movement 'Union' represents the pursuit of freedom — one that culminated in the dramatic symbolism of the Chain of Freedom stretching right across the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

The Baltic Way was commissioned by Palangos Orkestras and is dedicated to Remigius Vilys.

The work will be available from 15th December 2019 at Hal Leonard/De Haske

The European Youth Championship Premier and Development Section contests take place on Sunday 3rd May 20204BR

Development Section:

The Development Section bands will perform 'Lithuanian Dances' arranged by Kazys Daugela
Many of Lithuania's national celebrations and rituals involved dance, which were given names according to their function.

Circular or ring dances (rateliai), games (zaidimai) and paired dances (sokiai) were performed for parties and celebrations, as were polyphonic singing dances (Sutartinių sokiai), which paired specific dance steps with archaic songs.

Today folk dances usually go hand in hand with folk songs and are performed on stage, but originally they would include entire communities.

'Lithuanian Dances' is a sequence of seven popular folk dances from various regions of the country. 'Astuonnytis' portrays the spinning of yarn and the weaving of fabric, whilst 'Gyvataras' is a moody, medium tempo dance.

'Dzigunas' ('The Jig') imitates a galloping horse whilst 'Linelis' (Little Flax) is one of the oldest game dances reflecting human life and work in the fields.

'Rezginele' is a girl's dance characterised by weaving figures whilst 'Sadute' is danced at the home of a bride by her closest girl friends on the eve of the wedding. 'Suktinis' ('Twirler') is the traditional finale dance at all folk-dance festivals.

The work also incorporates national folk instruments such as skrabalai (wooden bells) and skuduciai (Panpipes), although for the contest these are to be played on xylophone and muted brass.

The music can be ordered from 15th December exclusively by email from Paul Hindmarsh, Chairperson of the EBBA Music Commission at: pehindmarsh@btinternet.com

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