Les Marteaux de La Marine was composed in 1999 as a commission by the Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy.
The composition contains three static elements which interchange. Static in this case means that development of the material is not pursued (by the composer).
The first element with which the piece begins is tranquil and colourful. The second element is sharp and incisive, while the third expresses energy. In all elements a repeated tone is the starting point which explains the hammers in the works title.The instrumentation is richly variegated with a harp also determining the palette of colours in the slower movements.
The composition opens with an atmospheric Larghetto containing fine harmonies in the soft and subtly moving wood-winds. The introduction breathes an impressionistic atmosphere in which expressive cantilenas and soloistic agile motifs stand out. A strong setting is followed by an Allegro virtuoso containing fast motifs contrasted with short and rhythmic stars of the various instrumental sections. Trumpets and horns add a virtuoso bugle-call motif.
After a short stringendosection, the transparent Larghetto returns with a varied setting of the opening elements. The beautiful leading roles in this section are reserved for cornet (trumpet) and horn. Subsequently, the flashing Vivo starts with continuous movements in triplets from both wood-winds and brass. Next, the opening Allegro re-appears once again and thus Les Marteaux de la Marine ends with a fast and virtuoso climax.
Les Marteaux de La Marine was selected as a compulsory grade 6 contest piece for symphonic bands in the Netherlands.