This week we have a new full orchestra arrangement from the one and only Sandra Dackow!
“Time to go, get your gear, party’s o-ver” (Dr. Dackow’s very loose translation). This wonderful aria, written as a humorous little military march, has Figaro informing the young Cherubino that he’s in the army now and life just won’t be the same.
Poor Figaro. This should be the happiest day of his life – he’s marrying Susanna, his true love. If only things weren’t so complicated at the manor of Count Almaviva, a Spanish nobleman who employs both of them as servants. Even though Susanna is marrying Figaro, the Count also has his eye on her (even though he is still married to the Countess, etc.). Cherubino, the Count’s page (everyone seems to be tripping over him – he’s everywhere) whose adolescent hormones have kicked in to the point where all he can think of is being in love with ALL the women ALL the time, has gotten between the Count and Susanna (got all that?). The Count has decided that Cherubino MUST GO so he (the Count) can chase the women of the household without interference. He arranges for Cherubino to have a commission for the army, to get him out from under foot. In the tradition of French farce, characters hide under chairs, on chairs under flung clothing, lots of fast movement and switcheroos. (This is still just Act I). When Cherubino glumly contemplates his new future in the army without women, without even a warm, dry bed, the servant Figaro takes it upon himself to cheer him up with this aria, the finale to Act I. Mozart can take the most simple musical idea and make it sound sublime. This aria could have easily sounded trite, or played for low comedy, yet in Mozart’s hands we see a servant kindly become a father figure to orient the young page towards his new life. Non più andrai is one of most perfect arias ever written, and the overlay of empathy atop the simple march gives it more than one dimension.
This work has been carefully edited so that it can be performed by Intermediate Full Orchestras at an Easy Level IV or Advanced Level III. The first violins have a few shifts into positions, which are marked. The second violin and viola parts can be played entirely in first position, (though fingerings in positions are sometimes suggested). Bowings should be followed for the best effect – they are not optional, if the music is to truly represent Mozart’s style. All separate notes should be played at the frog and off the string. A third violin part (treble clef viola) has been provided as well as an optional harp part. A piano part is also provided, but it is intended for rehearsal purposes only, if needed, and not for performance.
Woodwind and brass parts have been edited to include courtesy markings (such as slide positions for certain trombone notes) and other markings for ease of performance.
As this is a concert arrangement of an operatic aria, some liberties were taken in exploring the material without Figaro singing. There are three holds, each of which could invite a short cadenza on a bassline instrument (or other instrument, for that matter). Designate only one student for each. The student may elaborate further, as long as it is in good taste. Singers don’t improvise cadenzas in this particular aria, but do in other arias – why not try the style on for size? Leave them out if they don’t feel right.
Finally, since this is in the style of a military march, a percussion chorus has been interpolated between rehearsal X and K. Young percussionists rarely have an opportunity to interact with Mozart and this works lends itself to such an opportunity. This chorus can be cut, if desired. Mozart has scored for all of these instruments at other times in other works, particularly those with “Turkish” effects.
Sandra Dackow holds three degrees from the Eastman School of Music and currently serves as Music Director of the Hershey Symphony Orchestra in Pennsylvania, of the Hershey Symphony Festival Strings, and of the William Paterson University Symphony Orchestra in New Jersey. An Aspen Conducting fellow, she was awarded the Silver medal in the 2001 Vakhtang Jordania/New Millennium Conducting Competition in Ukraine. Dr. Dackow has published over 100 works for student orchestras and is an author of Alfred’s Orchestra Expressions, Tempo Press’s Expressive Techniques for Orchestra and Expressive Sight Reading for Orchestra, and a co-author of the MENC (NAfME) Complete String Guide. She has appeared as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator throughout the US and abroad, including summers at Interlochen, and other music camps. Sandra Dackow is a former President of the Conductor’ Guild, an international organization serving conductors in 31 countries. In 2009 she was elected a Lowell Mason Fellow by MENC: The Association for Music Education, as well as awarded the Bruno Walter Best Conductor Prize by the Master Academy International Competition in Switzerland.