Wilfried Westerlinck – Landscapes IX (2020-2021)
(Leuven, 3 October 1945)
Wilfried Westerlinck studied at the Royal Conservatoires of Brussels and Antwerp under composers such as Victor Legley, Jan Louël and August Verbesselt, as well as under composer-conductor Daniël Sternefeld. In Monte Carlo he continued studying orchestral conducting under Igor Markevitch. Between 1971 and 1983, he taught music analysis at the Royal Flemish Conservatoire of Antwerp, however, he built a career as a producer of the classical radio station of the Flemish Belgian Radio and Television (BRT). As a composer he came into the spotlight with the orchestral piece Metamorfose (1971), his series Landschappen (1977-2020) for various ensembles, three string quartets (1978-1994), three piano sonatas (1983-1986) and various solo pieces for wind instruments, such as the often performed Kijk, een basklarinet in mijn tuin! (Look, there’s a bass clarinet in my garden!) (1985) for bass clarinet, Talisman (2001) for clarinet and Meeting a Mockingbird in Texas (2009) for piccolo. In 2015 and 2018 the albums Mockingbird and Talisman were released, which included more recent works like Quattro pezzi for clarinet and harp (2007-2015), Three collages ‘Hommage to E.L.T. Mesens’ for flute and harp (2013-2014) and Suite de Montsouris for violin and guitar (2014).
Westerlinck likes to adapt his compositions for various instruments and ensembles, which makes him examine his works from all different angles. He draws his idiom from the modernism of the first half of the 20th century, paying particular attention to colour and timbre and a clear musical story.
Westerlinck composed Landscapes IX in 2020-2021 for the Urban Piano Quartet, which performed the work at AMUZ concert hall in Antwerp on 3 June 2022. For the time being, it is the last work in a series of one-part compositions with the same title, but an ever-changing instrumentation:
Landscapes I – Wind Quintet
Landscapes II – String orchestra
Landscapes III – Brass Quintet
Landscapes IV – Flute, harp and string trio
Landscapes V – Trumpet and strings
Landscapes VI – String quartet
Landscapes VII – Clarinet and string quartet
Landscapes VIII – Alto saxophone and strings
Landscapes IX – Piano quartet
In this series, Westerlinck walks, as it were, through different soundscapes, aiming to explore the ensemble’s possibilities in each work in a balanced way.
At the performance of the work, the composer provided the following explanation:
‚Although I use the description ‚Landscapes‘ for my work, you should not go looking for a description of nature here. So no frolicking deer and rustling reeds with me either.
On the one hand, Landscape refers to the scoring of the work: each of the previous Landscapes was written for different scoring, with which I actually want to explore the character and colouring of each scoring. The colour of the instrumentation is already ‚Landscape‘ enough, I think. And on the other hand, it also refers to the working method I try to apply. This work too consists of a succession of phases, some of which have nothing to do with each other, and some of which grow organically from a previous phase. Yet the intention is that, at the end of the work, the listener feels like he has completed an entire journey, but through a soundscape, as it were.
This Landscapes IX is a great contrast to the previous one for saxophone and string orchestra (number VIII), where the elegiac feeling prevails. Here it is all about the concept of energy, which more than justifies the input of a melodic percussion instrument – the piano – and also gives the whole a concertante feel.‘
(translation: Jasmien Dewilde)
This score is published in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Flemish Music (www.svm.be).
Read Flemish or German preface > HERE