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Johan de Meij

Johan de Meij

This work bears the designation Opus 5.

General Info

Year: 1991
Duration: c. 8:40
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Amstel Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $142.00   |   Score Only - $39.00


1. Allegretto grazioso (Neon Tetra, Electric Eel and Angelfish) – 2:38
2. Andante/Adagio (Sea Horse and Zebra fish) – 3:35
3. Finale: Allegro giocoso (Guppy & Co.) – 2:35


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Snare Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Bells
  • Gong (tuned)
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-Tam
  • Tambourine (fixed)
  • Temple Blocks
  • Tom-Tom
  • Triangle
  • Tubular Bells
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The suite Aquarium is Johan de Meij's third composition for symphonic band and features six tropical fishes, each of them represented by a motif, and surfacing as such in several guises. The composition consists of three movements, of which the second and third merge uninterruptedly into each other.

1. Allegretto grazioso (Neon Tetra, Electric Eel and Angelfish)
2. Andante/Adagio (Sea Horse and Zebra fish)
3. Finale: Allegro giocoso (Guppy & Co.)

The neon tetra motif functions as a kind of 'leitmotiv' and describes the beautifully coloured, frisky fish: A number of variants have been derived from this theme and will also appear in the other movements. The electric eel is fact is not represented by a motif, but by a rhythm based on the restless electric pulses made audible in some aquaria. The angel fish is represented by elegant chord clusters.

In the second movement the sea horse emerges out of the water vegetation and starts a dialogue with the zebra fish, which is represented by one melodic phrase in unison getting more and more threatening by adding parallel fifths and octaves. Simultaneously with the sea horse motif the neon tetra theme emerges, this time in 3/4 time and in Eb minor.

The third movement starts with only two instruments (trumpet and xylophone), but as it is often the case with guppies, their number rapidly increases. Piccolo and alto saxophone introduce the guppy theme, followed by several instrumental combinations. Every theme from the first movement 'swims by' once more, after which the principal motif leads us to a brilliant ending.

Aquarium was commissioned by the Dutch Music Foundation "Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst."

- Program Notes from score


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class A
  • Iowa: IV
  • Mississippi: VI-A
  • North Carolina: V
  • Tennessee: V
  • Virginia: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Johan de Meij website
  • Meij, J. (1991). Aquarium, op. 5: for Wind Orchestra [score]. Amstel Music: Amsterdam.