News & Views Monday, April 22, 2019

Fresh and Spooky Music for Orchestra Monday, September 10, 2018

recommended by Dan C., Orchestra Specialist

Many orchestras seem to have a late October concert, so why not take advantage of the timing and program some great spine-tingling tunes to add some excitement – or better yet, do a whole Halloween theme concert and program them all! Spanning Grade 1.5 to 4, spooky special string effects such as col legno, sul ponticello tremolo and harmonic glissandi will add teaching opportunities, and each of these titles offers parts for everyone to help join in the creepiness. And you know your students and their audience will love them!

cfn-fas111-fIncursion by Sean O’Loughlin, Grade 1.5
Lots of teaching elements and a chilling concert highlight all in one! With a harmonic moment reminiscent of Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir, you can teach musical concepts such as col legno, offbeats, Grand Pause and ground bass and end up with a dramatic and hair-raising piece for your middle-schoolers that is destined to become a tradition at your late October concerts around Halloween. Kids that age love things chilling and macabre, so they will glom onto Incursion with relish.

Dark Dreams by Sean O’Loughlin, Grade 2
Leave it to the super creative Sean O’Loughlin to spice up your October concert with great special effects in this mysterious and eerie selection that will keep your players on their toes and your audience on the edge of their seats! Sul ponticello tremolo, trills, pizzicato, staccato sfortzandos, accents, and offbeat melodies make great teaching moments plus you’ll have a top-notch, moody addition to your repertoire.

fjh-st6446-fThe Haunted Ballroom by Chris Thomas, Grade 3.5
It seems as if many school orchestras have concerts toward the end of October, so they are always in the market for new Halloween repertoire. Here is a winner that should be included in your library for such occasions. Marked to be played “Ghostly and refined,” it is a spooky waltz, accentuated by effectively eerie glissandi on harmonics. It is also rife with staccato bowing, tremolos, dynamic extremes, col legno, and just enough chromaticism (with helpful fingerings) to make your teeth turn sideways. It will make a great, colorful addition to your late Autumn/Halloween concert.

leon-04492165-fWitch’s Fiddle by Robert Buckley, Grade 3-4
If you only buy one piece for your high schoolers this year, make it this one, especially if you have a concert around the end of October. Loaded with spine-chilling special effects such as glissandi on harmonics, short, fingered glissandi, snap pizzicato, and sul ponticello tremolo as well as jarring harmonies and off-kilter rhythms to spice up the Munsters-like melody, this will be the piece your audience will be talking about at the end of the concert – and that your students will want to play year after year. Do not miss it!

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About the Author:
Dan C. has worked at Stanton’s since 1979, primarily with orchestra music and print promotions. A “working” musician, he’s a classical cellist, a rock & jazz bassist and a folk & country guitarist/singer. His free time is spent with family or reading, gardening, cycling and working puzzles. His series of musical puzzles (RP3 Rebus Puzzle Picture People) can be found on the Stanton’s Facebook page each Sunday. He also has a reputation as a pretty good joke teller. Seriously.

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