News & Views Friday, October 24, 2014

Holiday Selections for Middle School Orchestra Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stanton’s Dan Clark is has been reviewing new publications and making his choices to recommend for the 2010-11 school year. Here are some of Dan’s holiday suggestions for your developing ensembles:

PACEM NOEL, Arr. Larry Clark, Gr. 2
In your never-ending search for fresh approaches to Christmas music, be sure to check this unique blending of Dona Nobis Pacem and The First Noel loosely translated as Peace for Christmas.  The arranger himself admits that although he originally scored it for band, when he redid it for strings it actually worked and sounded a whole lot better!  It won't be surprising if it becomes one of the best selling holiday pieces for strings ever – it's that's good!  Not technically difficult, it flows so easily that once the F naturals are conquered and your students get used to following your baton through the Rubato sections it will be performance-ready before you know it.  It could even work as a last minute filler for H.S.

S'VIVON, Arr. Ben Clinesmith, Gr. 2.5
Liven up your holiday concert with a cut-time, mostly pizzicato Hanukkah tune (S'Vivon is the Hebrew word for dreidel) that will not only add a multicultural spin but also provide teaching opportunities with it's harmonic minor melody that will necessitate playing D# in most of your string sections.  Also work with your students to bring out the melody, which can be tricky with pizzicato, but it is always marked one or two dynamic levels higher than the contrapuntal harmony.  As the arrangement builds, arco is added section by section, some involving double up-bow patterns that often need a little woodshedding.  So there is work to do, but with a very festive, vivacious vehicle.

WE THREE KINGS, Jason W. Krug, Gr. 2.5
When hunting for new Christmas arrangements, do you look for straight forward homophonic settings or are you a little more adventurous and seek out the unique and quirky.  There are lots of great samples of the first kind, but if you are more inclined toward the second type, you will want to check this one out.  Intricately woven polyphony plays hide-and-seek with the melody – just when you think you've found it, it swirls off in another direction.  You can tell this is We Three Kings, but where did the melody go.  Oh – there it is!  Or not!  Technically a grade 2.5, but its intricacies imply that a slightly more mature group will really make it shine.  It is very skilfully written and will surely please both your players and your holiday audience.

For more excellent recommendations for your string program, contact Dan at 1-800-42-MUSIC, ext 2.

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