Saturday, July 26, 2014

ICO 2014, Concert 4

This will be my final repertoire entry of the summer 2014 season.  It has been a great summer filled with wonderful music and friendships.  I have loved every minute of my work with the Intermediate Concert Orchestra this summer.  I believe there has been a great deal of musical growth and some really nice ensemble music-making.

Dance Parhelia, William Hofeldt

For this concert, the centerpiece of the repertoire will be William Hofeldt’s Dance Parhelia (published by Kjos).  This is a work that I first conducted back in the mid 1990’s.  It is 12:00 minutes long and is really a large work to take on with this group.  Truth be told, I have had it in the ensemble’s folders the last 4 summers and never had the guts to go for it.  This feels like the year to take that leap. It is listed as a Grade V and that is probably accurate.   That said, I would call is a tricky Grave V and it has taken me several performances to really develop a plan for the rehearsal process on this work.  I am convinced that slow preparation and careful explanation and drill on the rhythms is absolutely the key to success on this one.  The piece is in an A-B-A form, beginning with an Allegro section in 2 sharps (not always D Major), moving to a beautiful, lyrical Andante section in E flat major, and then returning to the Allegro and D Major.  The piece employs numerous time signature changes and syncopated rhythms.  There are frequent moves from 4/4 to 3/8 and 5/8 time that create interesting rhythmic tension and movement in the work.  This piece requires a firm understanding of time changes and counting of rests in order to successfully pull off a performance.  The musicians must also be clearly engaged in the tonality and changes of tonality within the work.  The Andante is lush and beautiful and, for those of you that know Hofeldt’s The Gift or Lullaby, you will hear ideas that seem very familiar.  In all, this will take up a large percentage of our time and focus.  In some ways, I consider this to be the equivalent of 2 or even 3 pieces on our normal concert preparation.

Mozart Symphony No 1 Mvt 1, Arr. LaJoie

We will open our concert with Symphony No 1, Mvt. 1(K. 16), by Mozart, and Arranged by Tom LaJoi.  This is published by Higland Etling and is listed as a Grade III.  This magnificent adaptation of Mozart’s work is in sonata-allegro form and provides numerous teaching opportunities.  These young string players must master light spiccato bowing and incorporate it into many passages of the work.   The work is in D major and the tempo can really get going once the parts are mastered at a slower tempo.  There are ample opportunities to teach other techniques and concepts from the “Classical” era of music and students love spending time on this work.   

Waltz No. 2 (from Suite for Variety Stage Orchestra), Dmitri Shostakovich, Arr. Lavender

We will finish our program with Waltz No. 2 (from Suite for Variety Stage Orchestra) by Dmitri Shostakovich, Arranged by Paul Lavender.  It is published by G. Schirmer and I would also call this a Grade III piece.   It features Piano and 2 percussionists in addition to the string orchestra.  This beautiful waltz lays down nicely for all string players.  It is a blast to play and sounds terrific.  This work will be the perfect finale for our concert on Saturday August 2 at 4:00 PM in Kresge Auditorium on the Interlochen campus.

If I can ever shed any further light on any of these works, please don’t hesitate to drop me a note.



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