13 Halloween Titles for Your Fall Orchestra Concert

Haunted houses! Vampires! Pirates! It’s always fun to include a Halloween piece (or two!) at your October concerts and Tempo Press has you covered for scary and spooky orchestra music.  There are original pieces by Mark Barnard, Jason Krug, Thom Sharp, and more. Plus, arrangements from Sandra Dackow, Robert McCashin, and Robert Longfield.  So whether […]

New Music Friday: Tango Americana

The Tango is a study in syncopation and accent. This original piece uses two themes, one in the key of F major and another in the relative minor. You can augment the overall Tango feel by using the included percussion parts for claves, bongo drums, and maracas.

New Music Friday: Personent Hodie

The tune used in this carol is believed to have originated in Germany, possibly around 1360. This arrangement stays relatively faithful to the melody, which is presented in groups of upper strings and lower strings. All parts can be played in first position, although the cello has several measures of divisi. At the marked tempo, the piece runs about two and a half minutes.

New Music Friday: The Changing Timepiece

This work is a set of brief variations based on the theme from the slow movement of Franz Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 101. This symphony is nicknamed “The Clock” due to the “tick-tock” effect that you will hear accompanying the theme. This work was created to be a teaching tool. Depending on what the students already were exposed to, this piece offers a chance to deal with changing time signatures, changing key signatures, changing tempi, col legno technique, subito, Grand Pause, tremolo, what are variations, what an old-fashioned mechanical clock sounds like, as well as historical information about Haydn and his symphonies.

New Music Friday: Slavonic Dance Op. 46, No. 2

Antonín Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances were originally composed to be played on the piano by two performers. The composer then created orchestrations for full orchestra, bringing him much recognition as a composer. This string orchestra arrangement increases the opportunities for even more performers and audiences to enjoy it.

New Music Friday: Sunday Afternoon

Sunday Afternoon is a whimsical piece that appeals to all ages. Its bouncy rhythms and upbeat melodies reference the feeling of wind rushing through our hair or the laughter of family members as games are played, and memories are shared. The piece is targeted at advancing junior and intermediate string ensembles and works for young and mature players alike. One of the charms of this piece is the constant tug-of-war between triplets and the straight eighth notes. With its lilting, infectious themes, Sunday Afternoon is spirited, fun to play, and will be a favorite with audiences and players alike.

New Music Friday: Symphony Op. 11, No. 2: II. Andante & III. Presto

The Guadeloupean Creole composer, Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799), led a remarkable life as not only a prolific composer but also a virtuoso violinist, music director, and conductor of a prominent Parisian symphony orchestra, military officer, and fencing champion. This arrangement of Symphony Op. 11, No. 2 includes movements II (Andante) and III (Presto). The two movements are to be performed attacca, with no pause in between. The Andante movement features a lyrical melody that is first heard in the violins and then echoed by the violas, cellos, and basses. This music was originally used as part of the overture to Bologne’s only surviving opera, L’Amant Anonyme.

The 1st violin part requires shifting as high as III position, and fingering suggestions are included. The 2nd violin part is active and requires strong players; however, there is no shifting involved. Both movements should use tapered phrasing and light, clean, off-the-string bow strokes. The cello part includes a number of viola cues that could be helpful if there is a smaller viola section in the ensemble.

Happy Birthday, Percy Grainger!

Percy Aldridge Grainger was born in Brighton, Australia, on July 8, 1882. He was a composer, arranger, and pianist who, in the early 20th century, played a prominent role in the revival of British folk music. He was a champion of the saxophone and early-electronic instruments, even inventing “free music machines” later in life that […]

New Music Friday: Ballet No. 6 from L’Amant Anonyme

Ballet No. 6 is an orchestral excerpt from Joseph Bologne’s only surviving opera, L’Amant Anonyme (The Anonymous Lover). Students will learn how to play in the Classical-era style, 6/8 meter at a prestissimo tempo, ternary form, and more. The Cello part includes a number of viola cues that could be helpful if there is a smaller viola section in the ensemble. 1st violin, 2nd violin, and viola parts are entirely in first position but require extended fingerings.