Monday, July 18, 2011

New Music Selected: Samba Del Sol

My third piece selected for the 2012 - 2013 Alfred String Orchestra catalog is Samba Del Sol, an appropriately sunny tune for beginners. It's all in pizzicato and all on the D string, making is super-easy and it features optional percussion parts and back-and-forth melodies, making it super-fun. 

Not much else to say about this one, other than to mention that it's the latest of many Latin-themed pieces I've had published. The others include "Las Mariposas Exoticas," "Violet's Tango," and "Mambo Incognito."  I'd bet a good concert could be put together with just my Latin numbers.

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.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Music Selected: Beale Street Strut

I recently heard from my editor and I'm thrilled to announce that Alfred Publishing will release three of my new pieces in their 2012-2013 String Orchestra catalog!  They're ahead of schedule this year, as I usually hear from them in late July or early August. 

The first new piece to look forward to is Beale Street Strut, a major-key, intermediate-level piece.  For those of you outside the United States (which, I understand to my delight, is a growing number), Beale Street is a stretch of road in the city of Memphis, Tennessee, famous for having a lot of jazz and blues clubs and it is considered the epicenter of Southern jazz. 

As you might expect, the piece has a jazzy style and features some "blue" notes. Specifically, F-F# and C-C# chromatics.  The basses and 'cellos get to play some classic bass lines as well as some broad-shouldered melodies. As usual, there's lots for the violas to do as well.

I think this is one that students will be humming in the hallways of their schools and that audiences will remember after the curtain goes down.