For: Orchestra
page one of Fireworks

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Year of composition
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
5 minutes
Classical music
License details
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Read on for a detailed programme note. Email me for instrumental parts. I like to make contact with people performing my pieces if I can. mp3 taken from Sibelius file as the recording equipment failed to work at the first performance. I’ll record the live version as soon as possible

Programme note…

My school orchestra concert fell on November 5th in 2013 (Fireworks night in UK for non-UK readers). I had decided to do a quick arrangement of some of Handel’s Firework music to mark the event and then a David Stone arrangement of the Grand March from Aida. However, 5 days before our first rehearsal the parts for Aida I’d ordered had not arrived. What to do? I decided to write the orchestra a wee piece based on the idea of fireworks. I hoped to capture some of the colour and excitement of a fireworks display with changing textures and varying combinations of instrumental colours. It helped having a huge arsenal of percussion players at my disposal!

In terms of difficulty…I wrote this piece specifically for the Philharmonia orchestra at George Watson’s College in Edinburgh. This group of roughly 50 youngsters aged 12-16 caters for players of around ABRSM grades III-V, a sort of "transitional" orchestra. The string parts deliberately have few melodies but plenty of staccato notes so they can work on bowings. The cellos are divided into two sections as, when I wrote the piece, I had 1 viola player and 14 cellists. Cello 1 plays a version of the viola part. The woodwind parts contain most of the melodic material. The Clarinet 1 part is quite tricky as it often goes over the "break". This is a deliberate ploy to help young clarinettists get over this technical difficulty. There are no horns or a tuba in my orchestra hence no parts for them, but I would be happy to prepare a version with these instruments. The xylophone/glockenspiel part is quite tricky. My player is a grade VII pianist rather than a percussionist.

Do please get in contact about Fireworks or anything else I have composed.

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