News & Views Sunday, June 24, 2018

“Isn’t this from that movie?…” Monday, October 29, 2012

Looking at music from perhaps a different angle, it becomes apparent that the most popular “classical” music written today is not necessarily the abstract and atonal offerings of recent college graduating composition majors, but instead, orchestral renderings that are heard by a large portion of the American public – namely film scores.  Look at the huge popularity of music from the Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean films – and the fact that they are scored for symphony orchestras by such luminaries as John Williams, Howard Shore, Klaus Badelt, Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman.

With that in mind, a lot of today’s educational string writers have taken to writing music for school orchestras that could be the soundtrack to some imaginary movie.  Programmatic in nature, and often with picturesque titles that bring a visual image immediately to mind, they are some of the greatest original pieces for string orchestra being written today.  Here are some of the newest and best offerings of this genre:

Elementary String Orchestra-
Storm Chaser – Kevin Mixon – Grade 1
Aspen Glow – Susan H. Day – Grade 1+
Harvest Moon – Larry Clark – Grade 1.5
Twilight Reverie – Lauren Bernofsky – Grade 1.5

Middle School String Orchestra-
The Voyage – George Sweet – Grade 2
Afterburn – Brian Balmages – Grade 2.5
Hyperdrive – Ralph Ford – Grade 2.5
In a French Garden – Richard Meyer – Grade 2.5

High School String Orchestra-
As Twilight Falls – Robert Sheldon – Grade 3
A Wisconsin Tableau – Carrie Lane Gruselle – Grade 3
Dotonbori Dash – Alan Lee Silva – Grade 4
Orange Moon – Yukiko Nishamura – Grade 4

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