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Spartacus (Van der Roost)

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Jan Van der Roost

Jan Van der Roost

General Info

Year: 1989
Duration: c. 13:30
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: De Haske Publications
Cost: Score and Parts - €178.99 | Score only - €55.00


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
Eb Alto Saxophone (div.)
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
C Trombone I-II-III
C Baritone (div.)
C Basses
String Bass
Timpani (with cymbal)
Percussion I-II-III-IV including

  • Bar chimes
  • Bass drum
  • Bells
  • Claves
  • Crash cymbals
  • Crotales
  • Large tam tam
  • Small tam tam
  • Small tom tom
  • Small triangle
  • Snare drum
  • Suspended cymbal
  • Tam tam
  • Tambourine
  • Temple blocks
  • Tenor drum
  • Tom tom
  • Triangle
  • Tubular bells
  • Vibraphone
  • Whip
  • Woodblock
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Spartacus was premiered by the Band of the Belgian Guides, conducted by Norbert Nozy, in November 1989. When Van der Roost began composing this three-movement work, it was not his intention to write program music. However, the character of the piece gradually became reminiscent of several epic films of the past, including Ben Hur, Quo Vadis, and Spartacus.

In general, the title recalls the life and death of the Roman gladiator Spartacus, who led a slave revolt in 73 B.C. that was the last and most important of the Servile Wars. After escaping from a gladiators’ school at Capua, he collected and trained an army of other runaway slaves at Mount Vesuvius and began to terrorize the Romans and defeat their armies from the foot of the Alps to the southern tip of the peninsula. When the insurrection was crushed in 71 B.C., Spartacus was slain, and 6,000 of his followers were crucified along the Appian Way leading to Rome.

In Movement 1 of Spartacus, the oriental quality of the melodic fragments refers to the origin of the Roman slaves. The romantic and peaceful nature of Movement 2 describes the feelings Spartacus has for his love. The aggressive and martial spirit of Movement 3 refers to the revolt of the slaves—the accumulation of the 12 tones symbolizes their crucifixion. Near the end, the love theme is heard for a last time.

-Program Notes from Program Notes for Band


(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 601.