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 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 genius. 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.
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.
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.`
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.
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.
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.
Vanguard is written for the intermediate-level string orchestra. This majestic and medieval-feeling melody will bring excitement for both young string players and the audience.
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.
The Changing Timepiece (Variations on the "Clock" Theme by Haydn)
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.
Personent Hodie (Sing Aloud on this Day)
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.
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.
This two-part piece sets to music impressions of the modern city. Hustle Bustle depicts the daytime scurrying of workers, shoppers, and traffic. Night Life has a slightly darker tone with a melody in a minor key. The repeated background notes give a sense of apprehension and hidden tension that resolve in the end.
Canaan Land and the Good Old Way: Hymns from the Sacred Harp Tradition
The Sacred Harp singing tradition is a uniquely American genre that dates back to late 18th Century New England. It is designed to be performed by those who do not have any formal training and thus utilizes shape-note notation. Participants often speak of the emotional impact of performing these works and attend special conferences devoted to Sacred Harp singing. The source material for this arrangement comes from The Southern Harmony, by William Walker, and The Colored Sacred Harp, a work written by African-Americans for use in Black churches, mainly in the South. This work provides an opportunity to work on ensemble skills, bow technique, and intonation in an interesting and historically relevant work.
Laissez paître vos bêtes: A French Christmas Carol
Laissez paître vos bêtes (Let Your Animals Graze) is a 16th century French Advent and Christmas carol. Here it is expertly arranged for string orchestra by renowned arranger Robert Longfield.
The Late Heavy Bombardment (a prequel to Water on Mars)
The Late Heavy Bombardment is a prequel to Water on Mars by Kevin Sluder. Four billion years ago, Jupiter passed through an asteroid belt, pummeling Mercury, Venus, Earth, Earth’s moon and Mars with countless projectile asteroids. Scientists believe water was created as a result of the immense heat caused by the asteroids’ impact. The piece can be performed independently or with an optional direct segue to Water On Mars. The Late Heavy Bombardment celebrates an independent, melodic bass part and the opportunities it can bring to the string orchestra.
Symphony No. 86: Finale
Haydn’s Symphony No. 86 is one of six Paris Symphonies commissioned by Comte d’Ogny and the Chevalier de Saint-Georges. This arrangement is very close to the original string parts and should offer many opportunities for students to refine their style of performing music from the Classical period.
Variations on Adeste Fidelis
Here’s some new holiday music that’s upbeat, cheerful, and has march-like variations. Bring out the melody in all voices at all times. The sixteenth-note passages should have a natural and virtuosic sound to them.
Acis and Galatea: Sinfonia
Handel’s career began as an opera composer before transitioning to oratorios. Acis and Galatea is one of these operas. Acis & Galatea debuted in 1718 as a one-act pastorale, or semi-opera, in the gardens of Cannons, with only five singers. Acis and Galatea are Greek mythological figures. Galatea loves Acis, a shepherd boy. However, envious Polyphemus – a petty god – smashes Acis with a boulder, and the bereaved Galatea turns him into a stream.
Sinfonia in G Major
This Vivaldi piece is a delight to hear. It is transposed from the original key of A Major. There is a great deal of interaction among the sections. It’s easier to play triplet 16th scales if you slur them (separate bowing is more effective and dramatic). Sudden mood shifts add to the drama (shift to minor, sudden piano). The viola and bass lines should have a melodic shape and follow the music’s phrasing and line for added interest.
Sinfonia in G Major
Michael Haydn, Franz Joseph Haydn’s younger brother, was also a composer. The arranger has added direction to a score that previously lacked dynamics. The orchestra should play the eighth notes spiccato. The sixteenth notes have to be exact (middle or slightly below the middle of the bow to give the aural illusion of bounce, make it sparkle). Make sure to save some sound for the long crescendo.