recommended by Dan C., Orchestra Music Specialist
Every concert needs one or two pieces that fill the heart with gladness. Here are some wonderful options at the Grade 2.5 to 3 level for Middle School and young High School String Orchestras.
Hero’s Quest by Timothy J. Isham, Grade 2+
Film scores have in many ways become today’s “classical” music for the masses. Educational composers have picked up on that phenomenon and are writing film music without the movie! Maybe your students can come up with stories to match the music of Hero’s Quest, a dramatic portrait of the quintessential over-the-top pop culture hero. With melodic and rhythmic activity in all parts, your students will get reinforcement on 6/8 time, D minor, building intensity and third position in the first violins – and everyone will enjoy the cinematic bombast!
Joyous Celebration by Scott Watson, Grade 2.5
Start or finish a concert with a bang using A Joyous Celebration to great effect! Optional timpani will provide some extra push, if you can recruit one, but even if you don’t, every part propels the piece forward. With syncopation, open string double stops, trills and dynamic fermatas, all the stops get pulled out for your Joyous Celebration!
Sparta by Todd Parrish, Grade 2.5
Take a trip back to Ancient Greece with this fun and energetic work! Students will encounter two-note to six-note slurs, pizzicato, staccato and legato bowings, rhythms in 3/4 time, and dynamic contrast, along with an emphasis on playing octaves. The powerful melody is carefully woven throughout all parts while the accompaniment reinforces anchoring the first finger for better intonation.
Wondrous Flight by Bruce Tippette, Grade 2
Written for the composer’s son, Wondrous Flight alternates between insistent syncopated rhythms and flowing melodic passages. As the piece progresses, an increase in tempo drives the melodies through each section of the orchestra toward a grandiose, climactic moment. The piece elevates itself throughout, creating the feeling of climbing ever higher into the sky, finally ending in a fiery burst of energy as the familiar melodies reprise one final time to deliver a big finish.
Legionary by Chris Thomas, Grade 3
Travel back in time to the era of the Roman legionary as you experience music that portrays the rugged and exciting story of a Roman soldier. The piece features brawny marcato bowings, simple syncopations, bold ostinato rhythms and tension-building trills. Powerful moments are passed throughout the ensemble in this adventurous addition to your next concert program!
Find more creative choices for your developing string orchestra on our website, or contact us for personalized recommendations. Shop Stanton’s for all your sheet music needs!
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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