It’s been a while since I posted. I’ve been kind of busy running my full time, non-music, day-job business. I was also busy this past year doing something new: Composing and arranging a piece for full orchestra: The orchestral release of Mary’s Gift Symphony
The project kicked off over a year ago.
I Decided to write a piece for full orchestra inspired by my song Mary’s Gift, which is a song about the miracle of the first Christmas.
I sketched out the structure and wrote the initial harmonic arrangement on the plane while flying to Europe and back and fleshed it out over several months afterwards.
Mary’s Gift begins with a timpani roll and cymbal crash symbolic of the arrival and appearance of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary. But after this angelic entrance heralded by the timpani, the violins come in pianississimo and crescendo followed by a solo flute as Gabriel speaks gently to the virgin Mary.
Then the entire violin section plays and begins telling the story of the Holy Family and the Nativity. As the music continues the telling of the story rotates among each section of the orchestra.
Since then, I have been able to publish the conductor’s score and instrument parts with Sheet Music Plus. So….If you are interested in having an orchestra that you are involved with play Mary’s Gift, you may purchase the complete package over there at Sheet Music Plus. There is an MP3 plus a video of the music playing as it scrolls through the score.
Next, I will play for you a synthesized version of Mary’s Gift for orchestra. You can also catch this on Spotify, Apple Music and other digital music distributors.
Links to all of these places are in the show notes below.
Thanks for listening and I’ll talk to you next time!
Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.
Here is a short excerpt of Czardas, a tune based on a Hungarian folk dance, that our orchestra, the Evergreen Community Orchestra performed last week in our spring concert. I didn’t get the complete number recorded, just this excerpt.
Here’s what the all knowing Wikipedia has to say about Czardas:
The piece has seven different sections, each one of a different tempo and occasionally key. The first half of the piece is in D minor, then modulates to D major, back to D minor, and then finally finishes in D major. The first section is Andante – Largo, followed by a large increase in speed to Allegro vivo. This then slows down to Molto meno. The piece then slows down more to Meno, quasi lento. The piece then suddenly picks up in pace and is at Allegro vivace. It then slows down to Allegretto and finally to Molto più vivo. The tempo changes make the piece exciting and interesting, but even with all of these tempo changes, it is generally expected that there should be some rubato to add feeling to the piece. There are also many different dynamic changes in the piece, ranging from pianissimoto fortissimo.
In the Meno, quasi lento section, the violin plays stopped harmonics. This involves the violinist placing their finger down on the note and playing another note, with the finger only just touching the string 5 semitones above. This gives the effect of the violin sounding two octaves (24 semitones) higher.
This was the first time I have played in an orchestra for a musical (aka a pit orchestra), and it was probably the most challenging playing I have done so far. We played in the dark (with stand lights). There were many key, tempo and meter changes. There were many “cuts” from the original score, which made reading the music a bit messy. There were over 60 pages of music to learn. The music and the cast must be in sync every moment, so watching the director constantly was a must. So, all in all, it was a great learning experience for me and a lot of fun getting to watch the show and get to know some of the cast and orchestra and crew. And it was a great story and show. Especially the impromptu marriage proposal by one of the crew to Queen Guinevere during one of the curtain calls! (nope, she didn’t run away with Lancelot after all…..)
Here’s the orchestra. You can guess where I am in the photo below.
With a lot of other distractions going on, not to mention the little time suckers of Twitter and Facebook, I haven’t blogged in a while. I have mostly been preoccupied with Camelot. In early March I was invited to play in an orchestra playing for the musical Camelot, written by Lerner and Lowe. We began rehearsals in March, which accelerated towards the end of April and we had the show opening this weekend. It has been a LOT of work, but a lot of fun as well. It was the first musical theater orchestra that I have played in and it was an awesome learning experience. The bass part is 64 pages long and the music has many frequent key signature and meter changes and many “cuts” from the original score to fit this particular production’s script and timing. This was a volunteer production, but it looked and sound very pro to me. So, if you live in the area, or are visiting the Seattle area next weekend (May 1-3), come attend one of the performances of Camelot.
On top of Camelot, I also play double bass in a community orchestra, the Evergreen Community Orchestra, and we have been preparing for our spring concerts working on music from Mozart, Schubert, Ravel, Debussy, and more! Those concerts are scheduled for Friday, June 5th at 7:00 pm and Tuesday, June 9th at 7:00 pm. The name used to be “Music Hall Community Orchestra” but was recently changed and the web URLs are still waiting updates to the new name.
After this, and I don’t want to let the kittens out of the bag too soon, I do have a new recording project that I have begun, and like all recording projects they seem to take on a life of their own. I may begin with a certain concept in my mind of what the finished project will be like, but once I start actually working on putting it together new ideas bubble to my mind and I end up in a different place than where I planned. It’s a bit of a fun adventure. So, stay tuned for more.