7 School String Orchestra Titles from Czech Composers

Czechia has been home to many famous composers, like the Stamitzes, Smetana, Janáček, Dvořák and Suk. Tempo Press has a wide selection of both easy and intermediate arrangements of Czech works for your string orchestra.

Canon

This work is melodically compelling and detailed in timbre, dynamics and articulation, with rich lyricism between the first violin and cello.

Country Wedding from The Moldau

From Smetana’s tone poem, this arrangement does not need to be played at too fast a tempo. An easy work for this grade level, it offers depth and color by preserving the composer’s first and second cello parts. The result is a rich and charming piece. 

Largo from Symphony No. 9 - “New World”

This passage from Dvorak’s famous New World Symphony has been expertly arranged for school orchestras by Sandra Dackow. This easy arrangement remains entirely in first position. It requires some double stops and some divisi playing. As with all Sandra Dackow Editions, the parts have been carefully fingered and bowed for best musical effect. This piece is sure to be popular with students and teachers alike.

Legend, Op. 59, No. 6

Adhering closely to the original four-hand piano version, this arrangement retains the beautifully lyrical lines which offer the student orchestra the opportunity to concentrate on bow control and the development of left-hand tonal warmth. The split cello part adds lush sonorities while all parts remain interestingly involved in the primary melodic material.

 

Song to the Moon from Rusalka

Dvorak’s most famous aria has been arranged for the intermediate string orchestra. Extensive divisi passages give young orchestras a rich, full sound.

Symphony in D Major, Op. 5 No. 2: Presto

Introduce your students to Johann Stamitz and the early-classical period with this great title from renowned arranger Robert McCashin.

 

Symphony No. 8 In G Major, Op. 88 Finale

While perhaps not as widely recognized as his “New World” Symphony, Dvorák’s 8th is also loved. In this arrangement of the final movement, the entire orchestra gets a workout. The simplification and adjustment of the movement’s form compliment the original work.

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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.

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New Music Friday

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.

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New Music Friday

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.

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