Friday, July 14, 2017

Intermediate Concert Orchestra Repertoire: 2017 Concert #2

Today I would like to take a few minutes to outline the repertoire that the Intermediate Concert Orchestra at Interlochen will be performing on our second concert , Friday, July 14th , at 7 p.m. in Corson Auditorium on the Interlochen campus.  We have selected four pieces for this program and it is a total of just about 20 minutes of music. The pieces include the following:
  • Lacrymosa from Requiem in D Minor, Mozart, arranged Loreta Fin
  • Allegro con Brio from Symphony Number 8, First Movement, Dvorak, arranged Robert McCashin
  • Praelude and Gavotte from the Holberg Suite for String Orchestra, Grieg 
  • Reels and Reverie, Alan Lee Silva
We will open the program with Lacrymosa from Requiem in D Minor, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, arranged by Loreta Fin. This work is published by Wilfin Music. It is listed as a grade 3.5 and I think it will be a very interesting, if not unusual concert opener. It is an instrumental arrangement of the famous movement from Mozart's Requiem. It is in 12/8 time and provides an excellent opportunity to teach compound time to these fine young musicians. The primary pedagogical goals of this piece are include ensemble subdivision, dynamic contrast, and appropriate bow placement and style for the work. We have spent a great deal of time working on subdivision by 3 for the 12/8 time signature and maintaining the musical movement of the work. The tendency here is for young students to slow it down. A great deal of responsibility is laid on the string bass section. They have to be subdividing in their mind the entire time in order to drive the ensemble.  We have given a great deal of attention to the need for an exceptionally light and "wispy" bow stroke on the piano (quiet) sections. Students have been encouraged to consider the length and style of every notation in their part. The piece will have maximum impact if the dynamic contrasts are huge. This piece only lasts about 3 minutes . But, I think it'll be a wonderful and surprising opener for our program.

Next, we will brighten the mood with Robert McCashin's arrangement of Allegro con Brio from Symphony Number 8, first movement, by Antonin Dvorak. I frequently program arrangements by Robert McCashin because of his tendency to toward keeping much of the integrity and spirit of the original work. This one is certainly no exception. This is listed as a grade 4 and is published by the FJH Music Company. This arrangement starts with the beautiful cello section feature that is found in the original. It moves quickly to a section that features solo violin playing the famous flute solo from the original. The arrangement features wonderful and exciting allegro passages and most of the primary themes of the work. Some of the pedagogical challenges in this piece include phrasing, hooked bowing , maintaining dotted 8th/16th rhythmic integrity, and changes in tempo throughout the work. I have found that it was much easier to teach the style after having the entire ensemble listen to the original work. There are a number of bowings in the arrangement that I have changed. I have found that a hooked bow on many of the dotted 8th/16th passages works better than some of the editors choices.  This was a great opportunity to drive home the notion that these passages may not become triplets! In the end, this is a very exciting adaptation of Dvorak's original work and I think it will bring the house down this evening.

I originally planned to only program the Gavotte from the Holberg Suite for this ensemble. We put that movement together and I felt like it would be appropriate to challenge my students with an opportunity to perform another movement. I offered them a challenge to learn the Prelude and they rose to that challenge. So, I am pleased to do both of these movements. I won't spend a lot of time talking about the pedagogical challenges of Grieg's work , primarily because it is so well-known. The Gavotte offers many of opportunities to deal with antecedent/consequent melodic relationships, stark dynamic contrasts, and the Gavotte/Musette form (Minuet/Trio). This movement features each section of the orchestra and works very well for my current ensemble. The Prelude, of course, has many technical challenges and our students have worked hard to overcome all of them. Among those challenges , I would include the difficult viola passage following repeat,  the rhythmic underpinning of the entire work, and maintaining tempo. It is been a pleasure to watch these students rise to the occasion of this important staple of string orchestra repertoire.

We will finish our program with Reels and Reverie by Alan Lee Silva. This work is a grade 3.5 and is published by Carl Fischer. This is another work that features 12/8 time, albeit in a completely different style than the Mozart. This has an Irish feel to it and is a wonderful up-tempo, spirited closer for the program. There are two lyrical sections in the in the middle of the piece, giving it an A-B-A-C-A form . This is one of those works that just feels good to play. String players sense the inherent string-centric style and gravitate toward the fast moving, marked, rhythmic ideas. The two choral sections in the middle are lovely and the piece finishes syncopated ending that is reminiscent of Riverdance. This, like many of Alan Lee Silva's original compositions, is sure to be favorite of performers and audience alike.

So, this will give you a good feel for the program that we will be presenting this evening. I would recommend any in all of these works for other conductors and ensembles. It's been a pleasure to put them all together. You can watch our program this evening at 7 on the Interlochen live stream




No comments:

Post a Comment