I met my new ensemble yesterday for the first time and can't wait to get started working on the repertoire that I have selected for the 3rd Intermediate Concert Orchestra performance of the Summer 2015 season at Interlochen. It is a great group of kids and there are many returning musicians from previous summers. Also, my son, Cael is a member of the bass section, so that is a new experience for both of us and I know that will make the second three week session even more memorable.
We sight read most of the music in the folders yesterday and I was really pleased with the level of the ensemble. Today we will be really digging into the repertoire. Here are some notes on the works we will be preparing for the first concert on Wednesday, July 29, 2015.
This is a new work, published by Kjos in 2014, that I discovered at a new music reading session that JS Pepper sponsored for the NC Chapter of ASTA last November. Alan silva has a really impressive resume that includes feature films, television shows, Disney, and even the rock band, KISS. This piece is in A minor and has a really cool 3-3-2 rhythmic structure. It features driving rhythms and beautiful elongated soaring melodies. This is an interesting and exciting work and will be perfect for this orchestra. the minute I heard it in November, I knew it would be on my repertoire list for this summer.
Sub-titled "A Dream Fulfilled," this work was commissioned by the Elizabeth Ruthruff Wilson Foundation and dedicated to Theresa Powers, the students of the Tecumseh School Orchestras, and their directors Amy Marr and Michael Bough. It is published by Highland Etling and Alfred Music. I discovered this piece while working with the Providence HS (Charlotte NC) Orchestras and their director, Sara Russell last fall. This is a lush and beautiful piece that features a constantly shifting time signature with a common quarter value pulse. The piece starts in D major and shifts to E major at the end. This piece offers numerous opportunities for each section of the string orchestra to shine and features 3rd and 4th positions for the violas and celli. Basses get a lovely counter melody in the middle and violins soar into upper positions throughout. This piece is listed as a grade 3, but there are ample opportunities for musicians of all levels to stretch their expressive muscles.
Concert Piece No 2, Mendelssohn, Opus 114
This work is scored for clarinet, bassoon, and string orchestra accompaniment and will feature my Interlochen colleagues Doug Spaniol (bassoon) and Sandy Jackson (clarinet) with ICO. I heard them perform this with piano accompaniment last summer and we began discussing the possibility of doing it with string orchestra this summer. I am particularly excited to do this, because Sandy's daughter, Sophia, is a cellist in the orchestra this summer. (Incidentally, with my son, Sandy's daughter, and Maria Silver, daughter of Interlochen Clarinet Faculty Member, Dan Silver in the orchestra, we really have a neat community of Interlochen folks in the ensemble!!) We will more than likely, only perform Mvt 3, a light Allegretto Grazioso in F major.
Folk Tune and Fiddle Dance, Fletcher
Finally, one of my favorites is Percy Fletcher's well-known string orchestra work, Folk tune and Fiddle Dance. The Folk Tune begins in E minor 6/8 time with a lovely tune that longs for the sea. The movement shifts between time signatures, key signatures, and feels, only to return to the opening tune in a wistful manner at the end. The Fiddle Dance in G major is a good old fashioned hoe down that drives throughout. In ABA form, this movement that features the violas and celli prominently is perfect concert-ender. I first discovered this piece in the mid 1980's shortly after graduating from college and have used it consistently ever since that time.
So, that is what we are looking at. Perhaps one of these will be appropriate for your next program.
All my best!