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.

New Music Friday: The Picnic: Watch Out for the B’s

This piece tells the story of a picnic being interrupted by pesky bees. As time goes on, more and more bees can be heard, and every section gets a turn. Listen for the sounds of the bees as they travel around the orchestra. Most of the “buzzes” include the musical note B in the dissonant cluster of notes. This piece gives your students a chance to tell a story with their music. Invite the students to engage in the drama, looking nervously around or occasionally swatting an imaginary bee in front of their faces. The orchestra creates the narrative of happy picnic-goers having their beautiful day interrupted by pesky bees.

New Music Friday: Renegade Showdown

In Renegade Showdown, the violins battle the low strings in an epic clash. Hear the twists and turns each side takes as they vie for the win. This piece was composed to teach students to understand regular vs. low first finger. Bass students will benefit from identifying sections that will work well in half position.

New Music Friday: Aurora’s March

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s three masterpiece ballet scores, including Sleeping Beauty, are known for their timeless music. Only three years before the composer’s death, the ballet was first performed in 1890. The storyline for the Sleeping Beauty ballet was inspired by the Brothers Grimm adaptation of the folk tale first published in 1330. This arrangement for string orchestra captures the enduring melodies and great depth of Tchaikovsky’s geniu. Because much of Tchaikovsky’s style is not written with articulations, students will need assistance with the bow stroke in order to perform this incredible piece. This march, which follows the overture in the ballet, was renamed Aurora’s March for this arrangement.

New Music Friday: Sneak Peek of New 2022 Titles

We have something special for you this week: a preview of our upcoming 2022 titles! All these titles will be available this summer, and we will have more information on each coming soon. Aurora’s March: Prologue from Sleeping Beauty Ballet, Act I Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s three masterpiece ballet scores, including Sleeping Beauty, are known for […]