Note: Clicking on an underlined title will open a separate window and take you to a web page at J.W. Pepper at which you can place an order for that publication.
Visions for Orchestra No. 1 (Shawnee Press)
(Grade 1 – 1.5) A Winter’s Night in
the Forbidden City
– Add a taste of the
orient to your winter concert with this simple, yet effective, composition for
Land of the Roaring
live performance - Reflecting the sounds of the
jungles and plains of Africa, the simple melody is supported by a rhythmic,
though easy, keyboard accompaniment that can be even more effective when using
“log drum” sounds on a synthesizer. Effective and fun! The Christmas Train - The audience can sense the train start
to roll as your beginners travel through this original Christmas composition.
Enjoyable for the parents and excellent eighth note “training” for first year
Debut for Strings - Strong themes. Interesting parts for all
players. A great end-of-the-year feature for beginning strings or combined
beginning and intermediate groups. Visions for Orchestra No. 2(Shawnee Press) (Grade 2 - 2.5) (The compositions in Visions for Orchestra No. 2 are now also published individually by Hal Leonard...although the collection is much more economically priced)
The Great Walllive performancestudio recording – The ancient wonder of China is portrayed
with the sounds of the Orient. An excellent concert selection for second year
Fiesta – Alternating 6/8 with 3/4 meters in the style of a
traditional Mexican folk song. Eye-opening and fun for young players as they
learn to break away from performing only in common time.
Celtic Roots – Two traditional Irish fiddle tunes, “Father
O’Flynn’s” and “the Gobby O,” make this arrangement perfect for St. Patrick’s
Day (and fun for any time of year!).
Heroic Adventure – This one has everything! Opening with an
exciting, rhythmic theme played by unison violins and violas, this exciting
short overture gives everyone a chance to shine! Cellos are featured on the
legato “B” section and the basses follow with their own soli while the rest of
the orchestra accompanies them pizzicato. Because the 2nd violin or viola parts
may be omitted without sacrificing excitement, this works well with string
orchestras no matter how large or small. An excellent concert opener.
(click here for a live performance of Fiesta, Celtic Roots, and Heroic Adventure)
Visions for Orchestra No. 3 (Shawnee Press)
(Grade 2.5 - 3.5) Walkin’
– Let your orchestra play some jazz! Opening with a
simple blues bass line played by the entire orchestra, your orchestra
entertains with some truly American music. The orchestra tutti parts are closer
to a grade 2, but the solo/soli parts are closer to a grade 3. Three optional solo/soli parts are included
for any combination of violins, violas, and/or celli. Additionally, the written
bass part also includes a solo/soli. Toccata in D minor
– One of Bach’s
most famous compositions with just a hint of the 21st century mixed in.
Intensity Ilive performance – A contemporary overture emphasizing some
rather challenging syncopation. Moon Over the
Desolate Castle (Taki/arr. Baird) studio recording - Fantasy on a traditional Japanese melody. Opening
and closing with a brief violin cadenza, this work starts quietly, erupts with
intensity, returns to the slow, opening theme (this time played by the low
strings), and finally closes with another brief violin cadenza. A wonderful
selection for young orchestra.
The compositions in Visions for Orchestra No. 2 are now also available individually (although the collection is MUCH more economical). Here are links for purchasing them individually.
Mr. Turtle's Got the Walk (Grade 1 - 1.5) Put some rock-style fun in your next young string orchestra concert
with this light-hearted composition. In the key of D major and staying
exclusively in first position, this joyful arrangement follows the classic
blues chord progression and might be the most fun music your orchestra has
performed all year. Easily playable by second year string orchestras, most
first year orchestras would also be able to perform this composition at an
end-of-the-year concert. As a bonus, an
optional cello part is included to cover the bass part for those young
orchestras who don’t have basses in their group. Another bonus is that this composition may
also be performed in swing style, instead of rock. Easy.
Sabor de México (Grade 1 - 1.5) Feature
your young orchestra at a Cinco de Mayo celebration
or any time of year with this south-of-the-border style festive tune
audience will go out singing or whistling. With original melodies very
of Mexican folk songs, Sabor de México can be performed at a lilting
1st year players or at a real fiesta allegro by your 2nd year or older
Although playable without piano, the piano accompaniment is required in
get the full festive flavor of Sabor de México. Technically this work is
level of 2/3 through a first year string class method book when played
at a moderate tempo and more of a 2nd year level when played allegro. Click here for audio of sequenced rendition.
"...for God so loved the world..."The Epic of Easter Most school orchestras give concerts in March or April. How many schools orchestras play Christmas music on their December concerts? Why not a composition for
young string orchestra that celebrates Easter? Although playable by
first year players late in the school year, this is a serious retelling,
through music, of the death and resurrection of Christ. The five short
movements of this work musically reflect their titles: Fanfare for the King (Entry into Jerusalem);Betrayal and Last Supper; Anguish in the Garden; Trial and Crucifixion and Resurrection and Triumph! Although not requiring a large orchestra, consider combining all of your
middle school string players and presenting this memorable composition.
For Advanced High School and Beyond
Invention (Shawnee Press) (grade 5)
live performance An exciting work for high school or college string orchestra, this features an accented, multi-metered main theme, contrapuntal writing, a fugue, a reflective melodic interlude, and an optional extended very challenging violin cadenza. Rather than being a tradition "invention" such as found in many of the works of J.S. Bach, this dramatic programmatic original portrays in music the process of invention and will be the highlight of your concert or contest.
Cathedral Square (Shawnee
Press) (grade 4) Following a stately introduction that reflects the grandeur of Gothic cathedrals, the orchestra takes off on an energetic original theme that culminates with the inspiring classic hymn, "Praise to the Lord." The substantial use of multiple meters keeps everyone alert, including the conductor. Technically conservative enough for advanced 3rd year groups, yet musically and rhythmically interesting enough to hold the attention of advanced players. It also includes a brief cello solo. Flexible! This will work for concert, contest, and sacred settings.