Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Music Selected: Harrowland

The second of my pieces that Alfred Publishing selected for their 2012-2013 catalog is Harrowland.  It's a fast, minor-key piece for beginners in the same "sturm und drang" style as Gauntlet, Avatar, Agincourt, and Elementals. And those are some of my best-sellers.

As always, I write string orchestra music as instructive etudes, so directors can reinforce important skills with their concert music.  With wide leaps between notes, Harrowland is designed to give young musicians practice with string crossings.

This one was actually a re-submission. About two weeks after I finished Harrowland, I brought it along with me when I was invited to guest-conduct at the 2007 String Day concert in Philadelphia, where the piece was premiered.  Each year, string students of Bucks County, PA volunteer a Saturday to sightread a few selections in the morning, rehearse them for a few hours, and put on a show that same evening.  I was asked to conduct the advanced group, made of middle school students and a few ringers. We opened with Gauntlet, played a few other pieces, and closed with the world premiere of Harrowland (which, at the time, was called "Voyage of the Queen Anne's Revenge").  It was a great time and an exciting day of music-making! We had a great turnout of participants and it's great to see a school district where students are given opportunities to shine.

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