Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Repertoire for Intermediate Concert Orchestra, Concert 4, 2015

It has been a great summer for the Intermediate Concert Orchestra at Interlochen in 2015 and we are very excited to finish the summer with a wonderful performance this coming Saturday at 4:00 PM in Kresge Auditorium. As part of that performance we will be performing four works. I would like to give you a little information on each of those works.

First, we will be performing the first movement of Percy Fletcher's Folk Tune and Fiddle Dance, the Folk Tune movement. This work starts out in 6/8 time, D major and works its way through a variety of time signatures and key signatures throughout.   This is an exciting and varied movement that requires students to shift seamlessly between styles, time signatures, and key centers. Fletcher explores compound time, a minuet feel, a pesante section, and finishes back in 6/8 time with the original beautiful melody, eventually modulating to E major.


The kids were asking me to do something a little bit more technically challenging for this concert, so I put a little-known work by Alfred Reed in front of them. It is the first movement of his Suite Concertante for String Orchestra entitled Prelude and Fugue. This work is in ABA form and begins with a fanfare in rhythmic unison, mixed meter. The B section is a contemporary fugue that really challenges each section rhythmically and technically. The fugue builds to a magnificent climax, and then melts back into a recapitulation of the prelude. The movement ends with a huge allargando ending and a exciting musical exclamation point to finish! This may end up being the opener for our program. One quick note to music instructors and conductors out there: there are many misprints in the parts and score. If you would like a list of Errata, please don't hesitate to contact me.  It will sve you a great deal of time and frustration in the end.
Interlochen is in the midst of a Copland Festival in the summer of 2015. With that in mind, I decided to program a number of Aaron Copland works for ICO as well. For this concert, we will be performing The Red Pony, Excerpts from the Film Suite by Aaron Copland, as arranged by Erik Morales. This version of the Red Pony is taken from the film suite which was completed in 1948. It includes four tunes from the film: Morning on the Ranch, Dream March, Walk to the Bunkhouse, and Happy Ending. Each of these sections includes wonderful Copland style and sounds, and provides ample technical challenges for the ensemble. This work lasts about 4 minutes and 35 seconds and takes the students through 6/8 time section, a difficult 5/4 section, some lovely open chorale passages, a march style movement, and ends back in compound time.

Our closer for this program is an original work by Bert Ligon, entitled Road Trip to Rio.  This up beat contemporary pop piece is perfect for closing a concert and the summer.  It is a light work listed as a grade 3. However, I feel it's just a little more difficult than that. There is plenty of syncopation throughout the work that requires strong rhythmic skill and attention. The pop style is not always a "slam-dunk" with young string players, so much attention must be paid to articulation and phrase beginnings and endings. An opportunity for improvised or written-out solos is  found in the middle of the piece. We will be welcoming an Intermediate guest pianist, drummer, and all of the guitarists in the Intermediate Guitar Program here at Interlochen to participate in performing this piece. I know it will be an exciting closer for our program.

So, there it is! It has been a wonderful summer of music-making at Interlochen and I hope that some of these notes on repertoire have been useful for you.  I will try to post links to the recordings as they are available as well.

My attention will soon turn to the fall at NCSSM.  There may be a few more Interlochen posts,  but things get pretty busy for the last few days.  Who knows, I may get inspired to put some  more thoughts in writing before heading back south to NC.

Peace.

Scott

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