If a comic-strip cactus waking up one morning and deciding to strike out into the world seems ridiculous, then think of the characters in the books of the enigmatic novelist Tom Robbins. Indeed, it is the idea that inanimate objects can take on a life of their own, pack their bags and go is an image Vleggaar borrowed from the book Skinny Legs and All, in which a can of beans, a painted branch and a large shell go on an adventure. ” Brave Cactus Hits the Road is about liberation–after a big drama, to put the past behind you and strike out on a new trail. It might seem pretty insecure, but still offers a better perspective. It’s an absurd image–a cactus going out into the world. Before you know it, he’s run over by a car and that’s the end of the cactus. But you’ve got to have guts, as a cactus. But I also wanted to bring out that it’s also an amusing image, one which we can all relate to somehow from our own gut feeling.” This is Vleggaar’s description of a piece which motors along at high speeds backed by the horsepower of a big band. Destination: freedom, wherever it might be.

  • Instrumentation: Big Band
  • Composed for: Orkest de Volharding
  • Commissioned by: Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst