Last night, the Intermediate Concert Orchestra performed its first program of the second session for the summer of 2017. They gave a wonderful performance and all three ensembles on the program were exceptional. As is usually the case, the program order began with Intermediate Concert Orchestra, followed by Intermediate Wind Symphony, directed by Dr Mary Land, and finished up with the Intermediate Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Oriol Sans .
ICO's program was:
Symphony No 104 "London" First Movement, Haydn, Arr. McCashin
Impromptu for String Orchestra, Sibelius
Ancient Light, Peter Terry (World Premier)
Samba Me This! Thom Sharp
I have already written extensively about Ancient Light and Samba Me This. So, I will focus these brief remarks on the Haydn and Sibelius works that were performed.
Symphony No 104 "London" First Movement, Haydn, Arr. McCashin is a challenging adaptation of Haydn's original symphony movement for full Orchestra. This piece, published by the FJH Music Company, is listed as a grade 4.5. I believe that grading is accurate. This piece provides numerous opportunities for teaching a variety of techniques. The opening is best done in a subdivided four and is a great way to introduce subdivision to students. It is all so wonderful for teaching accurate double dotted 8th notes/ 32nd notes. Moving into the Allegro, there are numerous techniques that must be covered. I worked with my ensemble a great deal on listening for the inner rhythm or the "engine" that drives the piece This engine is provided by 8th notes which move from section to section. This movement also requires broad dynamic swings and the students must be focused on dynamics throughout. This is also a wonderful opportunity to teach spiccato bowing and to encourage your students to play in the lower half of the bow. This is a wonderful teaching peace and when performed appropriately, comes off very well.
The Sibelius Impromptu No. 5 for String Orchestra is a beautiful work which begins with a lovely con sord Andantino in E minor. There is ample opportunity for lush string playing and technique in this work. Students must adapt to the push-pull of the tempo and follow each other and the conductor. I particularly worked with my students to breathe on beat 4 and to never rush to the downbeat. The middle section is a brisk Andantino in 6/4. It begins in E Major, eventually moving to E minor. This section features the Violin I and Viola sections with a beautiful melody supported by the the Violin II and celli providing the rhythmic and harmonic underpinning. The piece ends with a reprise to the A section that is absolutely beautiful. There are opportunities in this work for teaching phrasing, bow distribution, tone color, and as always, watching the conductor.
On to a new concert cycle! Rehearsal today at 2:00 will include lots of sight-reading.