Springtime in Berlin
This witty overture by the Dutch composer Kees Vlak was written around the turn of the century. It was composed in an atmosphere when the feeling of “millennium” was everywhere.
The composer consequently explains that “springtime” must not be understood literally, but rather it should be figuratively construed. His poetic piece therefore could also be called “To a New Berlin”. It was the composer’s intention musically to portray the past century as characterized by several somber periods, whereas now springtime will come, a new world will emerge.
The first part of the overture describes the youth of the 21st century: Young people full of hope and confidence.
In the peaceful center passage, the oboe and the clarinets introduce a nostalgic tune. The narrative mood is of a retrospective nature. Grandfather remembers days gone by… A slow waltz brings an end to this episode as memories of the elegant Kurfuerstendamm emerge. This great avenue presents itself during a starlit summer night with its grandiose illuminations and busy nightlife.
A short fragment which follows features an American band – a reminiscence of the time of occupation by the Allies in Berlin and the growing American influence in the city.
A popular hymn-tune then characterizes the most important event of Berlin’s recent history: it is the reunification of Germany. The music leads to a majestic glorioso, which makes the Brandenburg Gate rise in the mind`s eye in all of this landmark`s splendor.
The da capo then returns to the idea of springtime as it was introduced at the beginning of the overture and ends in a finale full of tension, to describe future times that are to come.