Composed, arranged and orchestrated by Bert Joris.
Woodwinds: piccolo, flute 1-2, oboe 1-2, English Horn, Clarinet in Bb 1-2, bass clarinet, bassoon 1-2, contrabassoon
Brass: horn in F 1-2-3-4, trumpet in C 1-2, trombone 1-2, bass trombone, tuba
Percussion: timpani, glockenspiel, marimba
Strings: violin 1-2, viola, cello, double bass
3 trombones & bass trombone
piano, double bass, drums
Bert Joris was commissioned by deFilharmonie (the Royal Flemish Philharmonic) and the Brussels Jazz Orchestra to write two compositions for large symphony orchestra and big band. The suggestive titles of these two works (Dangerous Liaison and Between Hope and Despair) already say a lot about the ‘dangers’ identified by Joris in the relationship between fixed note values and solo improvisations and the pitfalls of the creative process, in which artistic choices were weighed and reweighed and stylistic principles had to be thrown overboard. Dangerous Liaison was Joris’s first composition for large symphony orchestra and big band, and it strongly emphasises the contrasts between the two ensembles: ‘The colour palette offered by this combination is practically inexhaustible. Therefore I thought the most suitable starting point would be a long melody that returns in different settings. At the start, the symphony orchestra plays the female role and the big band the male role, but towards the end, they two become completely fused together. The structure bears the closest resemblance to the classic variation form we use so often in jazz music. Here, it is only interrupted once, by a modal passage.’ Between Hope and Despair has much less contrast than Dangerous Liaison. In this composition, Joris took the opposite approach and sought to achieve a uniform sound for a story about the caprices of human emotions. ‘So as to make the orchestras blend as much as possible, I sought a tempo in which ternary and binary interpretation are compatible’, explains Joris. In Anna and Alone at last, the two orchestras are both individually introduced and then completely fused. Once again, Joris creates a unique interaction between soloists, improvisers and sections. Anna was written immediately after the composer had met ‘an extraordinary six-year-old girl’ at a garden party. Its music was later used in the score Joris wrote for the film Dennis van Rita (by Hilde Van Mieghem). Alone at last is a simple blues in C. ‘This form has inspired me all my musical life and it keeps on turning up in my work. However, my own roots aren’t the blues, and that’s why I left out the C, which is the “root” of this blues, from the bass line, as a kind of joke.’