Here are some more thoughts on summer repertoire for ICO. The second concert will be in 3 short days and perhaps many of the parents that read this will be in attendance for the concert. We had a great rehearsal today and will certainly be ready to give a great performance on Friday.
We will open our performance with the Overture to the Messiah by Handel. This is the original Messiah Overture and we are using the Schirmer edition. I like that edition because the Grave section is written with the appropriate double dotted rhythms and it is otherwise very predictable for those of us that have played this work in any variety of settings. In the Grave section students learn hooked bowing and really have to listen to the ensemble along with subdividing to keep the passage rhythmically clean. The Allegro is a fugue and each section must count independently and demonstrate a marcato style throughout. This is a great piece and teaching tool for young orchestras.
Next, we are doing Fantasy on American Sailing Songs, by Clare Grundman, Arr Longfield. This is a medley of popular sailing songs that is very accessible for young orchestras. Students play in a variety of keys and time signatures and there are plenty of opportunities for teaching ensemble, rhythm, and interaction between sections.
Our reall challenge piece for this concert is the Minuet from Petite Suite, by Debussy/Arr. Osentowski (Pub FJH). This is a grade V adaptation of the famous work for 4 hands piano. This is a real contrast to much of the repertoire that I have programmed over the years for this type of group. It is very lyrical, requires extremely close listening across the ensemble, and includes of very tricky violin parts. The key to this one working well is every section having full awareness of their respective roll in the work from measure to measure, phrase to phrase. (Isn’t that always the case?!) But, really, this one is a challenge and it is a new piece for me as well. I am looking forward to using this as the centerpiece to our program.
We will finish our program with a bang with Choreograpy, by Norman Dello Joio, Mvt 3. This is a classic and oft-used string orchestra piece that was commissioned and written in the 1970’2 by the American String Teachers Association. This is a fast and furious finale to the work. I asked the kids what emotions come to mind as they play it and received answers including: angry, determined, important, and anxious, among others. This will be a fun and exciting way to end our program.
We look forward to performing this program on July 11 at 7:00 in Corson Auditorium on the Interlochen campus!