Posts Tagged: Orchestra

Mulligan Overture

1+2/p.2.1+2/asx.2 – 4.2.3.1 – 2 perc – hp – pno [opt] – str

This piece began life as the opening titles for the score I wrote for Will Slocombe’s picture Mulligan.  I thought it might work well as a concert closer with my youth orchestra, so I gave it the orchestral treatment. Since then it has proven my most popular piece, having been heard across the United States, in Asia and in Europe.

Mulligan Overture is also available in a version for concert band.

Cinderella Goes to Music School

The Viola Concerto

or “Cinderella Goes to Music School”

This piece, for narrator, viola soloist, and orchestra (3.3.3.2 – 4.3.3.1 – tp+2 – hp – pno – str) is a retelling of the Cinderella fairytale set in a music conservatory.  It’s written for large orchestra and gets around to introducing every one of the instruments, with a special emphasis on the oft-neglected viola.  It lasts just a little over 30 minutes.

The solo viola part really needs to be played by a young woman in order to make the show work dramatically.  Ideally the flute and oboe soloists should also be young women.  All of the featured performers need to be able to poke a little fun at their instruments’ particular foibles.  There are many dramatic possibilities for the performance of this piece, largely dependent upon how game/creative the performers are.

(An option if you don’t have an all female “cast”: use images projected over the orchestra to convey the story element visually.  Have the orchestra, including all the soloists, dress in black and play with stand lights.)

I’m offering this for what I consider to be the very reasonable rental and royalty package $150, with an additional royalty of $50 per performance.

Orchestra

Americans used to have the most marvelous way of saying the word “orchestra”, somewhere in between “awchestra” and “ohchestra”.  It had a vaguely patrician ring to it and yet it was entirely of the people.  I don’t think it was a regional pronunciation, although New Yorkers and Bostonites certainly pronounced that way, as did everyone in the movies.

Now it’s time for a reader vote.  I’ve amassed a small collection of 20th and 21st century personalities, all Americans, saying “orchestra”.  Included are some notable hangers-on to the old tradition.  Whose version of the word “orchestra” do you like the best?  Leave your vote in the comments section!

Aaron Copland https://www.willcwhite.com/audio/aaron%20copland.mp3

Perhaps the finest representative version of the old-style way of saying “orchestra”.  Quite pleasant and mellifluous.

Frank Sinatra https://www.willcwhite.com/audio/aaron%20copland.mp3

Surprisingly, this is a pretty modern rendition, although I’m quite sure that if I did a little more digging, I would find Frank saying “orchestra” with more of the original flavor to it.

Nelson Riddle https://www.willcwhite.com/audio/aaron%20copland.mp3

Again, somewhere in the middle, but closer to the modern way.

Loren Maazel https://www.willcwhite.com/audio/aaron%20copland.mp3

A very classic, very patrician reading, for a very classic, very patrician sort of man. [His “Nawth Korean” ain’t bad either.]

Elmer Bernstein https://www.willcwhite.com/audio/aaron%20copland.mp3

Elmer “No Relation” Bernstein falls slightly on the classic side of the dividing line.

Charlie Rose https://www.willcwhite.com/audio/aaron%20copland.mp3

For me, Charlie has about the best rendition of “orchestra” of anyone under 70.  An interview between him and Loren Maazel is a match made in heaven and a symphony of syllables when it comes to this word.

Lenny https://www.willcwhite.com/audio/aaron%20copland.mp3

Lenny’s version is definitely in the classic category, though there are plenty of examples of him saying “orchestra” that have a more modern twist.  This particular version leans heavily on the “ohchestra” side of things and has a vaguely British quality to it.

Larry David https://www.willcwhite.com/audio/aaron%20copland.mp3

Larry David’s version is a fascinating one — his “awk” is very purely classic, and he really breaks up the rest of the syllables.

I really think that a revolution is afoot and that we can get the word “orchestra” back to being pronounced the way it ought to be. It is our American birthright.

So, please do leave a comment about who says “orchestra” your favorite way, and which way might work best for you!

Magnificat

for Solo Soprano and Orchestra (2 Flutes and Strings)

My setting of the Magnificat is for solo soprano and orchestra (strings and flutes) and is in two movements.  I’ll admit my ignorance – I don’t know of any other settings of this text set for a solo soprano.  I must have sung a bazillion Anglican church anthems on this text, but they’re all for choir.  Anyhoo, it just made sense to me somehow.

I thought I was making a major mistake while writing this piece, because I kind of had a hybrid of several different lady sopranos’ voices in my head.  The incomparably versatile Laura Lynch came in and nailed it, thus proving me wrong (or right, as the case may be).

Addendum (2012): Years later, I finally made a piano reduction of this piece.  Here it is sung by the lovely Rebecca Johnson Lovering (who sang in the chorus of the original TKC recording):