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Niels Marthinsen

Publisher: Edition Wilhelm Hansen

In the Shadow of the Bat (2009)
Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen
Soloists and Orchestra
Year Composed
20 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
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Programme Note
Niels Marthinsen In the Shadow of the Bat (2009)
In the Shadow of the Bat is a triple concerto for three trombones and orchestra, inspired by Batman and his enemies The Joker, Two-Face, and The Penguin.

A central idea of modern versions of the Batman myth is that the batman is created by the fantastic villains that he fights, and they are created by him - and that Batman is driven by revenge and hate, barely held in check by an intense sense of justice. Batman represents 'the dark side' while the villains are hyper-imaginative, colourful, creative caracters who happen to be completely insane.

The rivalry between soloists and orchestra is anything but friendly: The three soloists represent one villain each, the orchestra 'is' the batman - and while the villains take centre stage during most of the concerto, they are eventually overwhelmed by the sheer power of the orchestra and sent where they belong: The lunatic's asylum.

The concerto begins with the creation of the batman: An eight year old boy persuades his parents to leave an opera performance before it is over; outside in an alley they are shot and killed by a criminal while the boy watches. And he decides that all criminals must be punished! Then follows the Villaineuos Fugue: a multi-part fugue-like exposition of villain motives and stylistic environments. It is the exposition of the joker (alto trombone), two-face (tenor trombone), and the penguin (bass trombone). And after a brief and very slow interlude where the three criminals form an alliance and make their plans, the Toccata of Crime begins: Bright, fast moving, highly energetic, expansive, and colourful music, still dominated by the soloists. But later the orchestra moves to centre stage with slow, omnious, swooping bat-music that climaxes as the soloists are defeated by the orchestra.

In the Shadow of the Bat is commissioned by the International Trombone Festival 2009 with financial support from the Danish State Arts Foundation.

  • Ensemble
    Aarhus Symphony Orchestra
    Håkan Björkman, Jörgen van Rijen & Stefan Schulz (trombones)
    Christian Lindberg
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