The SS Berlin Disaster
Peter Habraken
Product ID SON00000449
Composer Peter Habraken
Duration 17:01 min
Genre Classical, Memorial, Concert piece
Instrumentation Concert band
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The SS Berlin Disaster
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The SS Berlin Disaster

SKU SON00000449
Composer Peter Habraken
Genre Classical
Concert piece
Instrumentation Concert band
Free description Symphonic poem for concert band about the ship disaster of the SS Berlin
Grade 5
Duration 17:01 min
Year 2018

Score + Parts

€ 199,00


€ 39,00

Program Notes

Symphonic poem for concert band about the ship disaster of the SS Berlin

One of the ships that maintained the ferry service between Harwich and Hook of Holland was the SS Berlin. After twelve years of loyal service, fate struck on the 21st of February, 1907. At 5:15 AM, the steamship ‘Berlin’ crashed in a horrible hurricane on the pier of Hook of Holland. There were only sixteen survivors.

This composition opens with a choral to commemorate the victims of this catastrophic event. After a short silence, the action moves on: there we are, at the North Sea, at the eve of the ship disaster, hearing the sounds of the sea. After a while, the wind picks up to a north-westerly storm and the waves keep getting higher and higher. Now we see the ship coming by: a miracle of modern engineering. The intriguing melody, played by fluegelhorn and trumpet section, displays the coldness of the steel of the ships’ construction, but also paints the great appearance of the ship. The Berlin sails at great speed in the direction of The Netherlands. Despite the ship wallowing in the heavy swell, nothing indicates the approaching disaster. The members of a opera company even let themselves be tempted to party. However, the storm gradually turns into a hurricane. The wind picks up enormously, towering waves make the ship a plaything for the elements. Sometimes the storm subsides for a while but then continues to stir even further. The Berlin is approaching the Nieuwe Waterweg, but the helmsman loses control of the rudder, as a result of which the ship is rammed straight into the Noorderpier.

Panic breaks out among the passengers. The stern of the wreck is leaning dangerously backwards. Fearing the possibility of it breaking off and sinking, the majority of those on board flee to the prow in hope of rescue… into fate. Later on, a terrible cracking rattles the SS Berlin in two. However: not the stern but the bow disappears with a huge roar in the waves. The disaster is complete. During the three consecutive days, several heroic rescue attempts are carried out. After the last survivors have literally been carried out of the shipwreck, the storm finally subsides.

The story concludes with a commemoration of the fallen, but also with a tribute to the heroic deeds of the rescuers. Thanks to their tremendous courage and togetherness, they have saved many lives.

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