New Music Friday: Allegro in D Major

This week we are highlighting another new arrangement from Robert McCashin. This time it is an adaptation of Michael Haydn’s Flute Quartet in D.

Austrian composer Michael Haydn was the younger brother to Franz Joseph Haydn. Their father was a wheelwright and served in an official capacity as “Marktrichter” (essentially, the Mayor of Rohrau, where they lived). Michael was born in 1737, and at age 8 went to Vienna, following in his older brother’s footsteps. By age 12, he was earning money as a part-time organist and had already begun composing. He soon thereafter received praise for his singing skills. He became a Kapellmeister in Salzburg at age 24, where he remained for the remaining 44 years of his life. During those years, he penned more than 350 compositions, both instrumental and choral. One of those works was his Flute Quartet in D Major. This “Allegro in D Major” is an arrangement/adaptation of the first movement of that quartet. The score for Michael Haydn’s Flute Quartet was uncovered and first published in 1959 by Berlin publisher Berlin-Lichterfelde.

About Allegro in D Major

The Allegro in D Major is a light-hearted, yet spirited work. It’s important to keep it from ever being too heavy or dense in character, and equally important that it well balanced, from a voicing perspective. All spiccato 8th notes need to be executed out beyond the balance point in the bow – somewhat closer to the middle, where the touch of the bow is ‘crisp’. Listen carefully for the harmonic shifts and play those up (mm.53-60, as an example). In the ‘give-and-take’ conversational passages, keep a good sense of balance between voices. And finally, the dynamics provided are broad recommendations, but various dynamic shape should be applied as pitch-class/note ascents and descents occur. Be cheerful and have fun with it!

About Robert D. McCashin

In addition to an extensive list of publications, Dr. Robert McCashin is a Professor Emeritus, having completed 43 years teaching at the university level. His former position was as Director of Orchestras and Professor of Conducting and Violin at James Madison University. During Dr. McCashin’s final 24 years (at JMU), he served as the music director and conductor for the Symphony, Opera Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra and Camerata Strings. In addition, he taught Graduate Applied Conducting, MM and DMA academic courses for conductors as well as applied violin & viola. Dr. McCashin is a string educator and an active writer/arranger in the string education field. He maintained a busy conference presentation schedule throughout his career, making presentations on conducting technique, string pedagogy and the math-science-physics & physiology of string playing. His works can be found through FJH Music Co. in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Tempo Press/Luck’s Music in Madison Heights, MI and Wingert-Jones/JW Pepper in PA. He is the Founder of, and Past President for the International College Orchestra Directors Association.


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.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
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.

Read More »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Join our mailing list

Be the first to know about new music, exciting news, deals and more!