Works for String Orchestra

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Alleluia

Alfred: Belwin (2011)

by Ralph Manuel, Arr. LaBrie

Grade 4

*J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice

A beautiful choral melody reinvented for strings, this work takes the player through a journey of powerful emotion. The opening lyrical theme is a great tool for teaching expressive bow technique as well as chamber playing and phrasing to emulate the original choral text. Imitative counterpoint creates contrast in the sprightly middle section, where all parts interplay and receive importance. Spanning several keys and styles, this piece is sure to keep the interest of and provide a challenge for your students.

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Concerto in D

Alfred: Belwin (2014)
by G.P. Telemann, arr. LaBrie
Grade 3.5

*J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice

A favorite in the violin ensemble repertoire now available for string orchestra! In this Telemann masterpiece made up of four short movements, everyone gets a chance to play the melody! Perfect for that year when advanced lower string players are ready to shift into upper positions, it allows your orchestra to explore the creativity and beauty of Baroque music. (6:30)

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Jurassic Rock

Wingert-Jones (2022)
Grade 1.5

Everyone loves to rock out - even Dinosaurs! Jurassic Rock will have you stomping your feet and bobbing your head to the beat.

 

This piece is craftly written using only the D and A Strings, while teaching the difference between F# and F natural, C# and C natural. The doubling of Second Violins with Viola, as well as Cello with Bass, will enhance the strength of your sections. Optional piano and drums add to the full rock and roll sound.

 

 

 


 

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Play that Swing!

Excelcia (2022)
Grade 3.5

Imagine strolling down a busy downtown boulevard in the middle of the 20th century. Streetlights shining. Car horns honking. You are simply taking in the sights and sound of the city on a Saturday night. Cool music mingling in the air. 

In Play that Swing you will sense just that – a relaxed, yet energetic swing tune. This work, for advancing players, contains a little something for everyone, from a walking bass line to a featured violin duet, shifting to syncopation. Fun melodies and catchy chromatic riffs will leave you singing and humming all night as the orchestra Plays that Swing! 
 

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Skeleton Waltz

Wingert Jones (2021)
Grade 2.5

*J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice

This expertly written and educationally sound programmatic work incorporates chromatic harmony and special effects to create a fun and spooky setting that is reminiscent of the orchestrations of Berlioz and Saint-Saens. This work offers an excellent opportunity to teach multiple bowing techniques, chromaticism, and finger patterns.

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Calm & Bright
(Silent Night)

FJH Music (2020)
Grade 2.5

*J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice

Lush and rich harmonies surround this inventive arrangement of Franz Gruber’s Silent Night. Phrasing and balance play an important role in this mature work for intermediate players. Sure to enhance your winter concert, each instrument is featured through interwoven melodies and changing time signatures in the contrasting calm and bright sections.  

 

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Hanukkah Dances

Alfred: Belwin (2019)
Grade 1.5

*J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice

Liven up your holiday concert with a medley of four familiar Hanukkah tunes (Hanukkah, Hanukkah; Sivivon; Dreidel; and Maoz Tzur) that are perfect for beginning to advanced levels. Everyone gets a chance to play the melody in this exciting arrangement. Technical considerations include optional shifting for 1st violins while cellos work on extensions.

 

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Maelstrom

Carl Fisher (2020)

Grade 3

Maelstrom is a term synonymous with whirlpool: a swirling, tumultuous whirlpool that engulfs everything around it. This exciting new piece for string orchestra starts with a treacherous storm motif that acts as the undercurrent among quotes from famous water themed compositions.  Players will learn the flowing theme from Smetana’s “Die Moldau,” explore the haunting “Aquarium” movement from Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals, and bow along to a traditional Irish Sea Chanty, as melodies overlap in this musical storm. Get ready to ride the waves in this e minor work while your players develop articulation skills, explore a variety of rhythms in 6/8, and expand their chromatic and dynamic horizons.

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Pride of the Highlands

 FJH Music (2021)
Grade 3.5

Pride of the Highlands will take you on a journey to the vast countryside of Scotland. Imagine the sound of bagpipes rolling over a heather moor as the piece opens with a soli cello melody. This work for string orchestra portrays the strength and pride of the Scottish Highlanders as well as the beauty of the Scottish Highlands. All parts will enjoy playing memorable melodies while they expand their range, rhythmic understanding, and musical expression.

 

Commissioned by McLean High School, Mclean, VA

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Thundersnow

Excelcia (2022)
Grade 2.5

Imagine being in the midst of a blizzard. Snow swirling and blowing everywhere!  Then suddenly, out of nowhere… BOOM! It’s Thundersnow! This meteorologic phenomenon that mixes thunder and lightning during a snowstorm has captured the excitement of many weather enthusiasts. In Thundersnow! constant running eight notes enhance the feel of electricity in the air. The turbulent nature of the storm is emulated by the rise and fall of dynamics, while pops of accents explode like thunder. 

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Camelot Quest

Alfred: Belwin (2021)
Grade 1.5

Imagine riding through Camelot on a quest to save the kingdom. Every player will be the hero in this medieval inspired tune.  Written in e minor, students will be introduced to D#’s through low 1st finger as well as dotted quarter rhythms in every part. Students and audiences alike will love the mixed energy of marcato ostinato patterns vs the legato melodies. The journey concludes with a joust-like battle adding excitement to any concert or festival program. Optional percussion adds to the medieval flair. 

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Found/Tonight

Alfred: Belwin (2021)
Grade 3

Found/Tonight is the emotional mash-up of "You Will Be Found" from Broadway's Dear Evan Hansen and "The Story of Tonight" from Hamilton. First premiered by Ben Platt and Lin-Manuel Miranda at the 2018 March for Our Lives, this piece was dedicated to the kids impacted by gun violence in the wake of the Parkland, Florida tragedy. In this arrangement for strings and optional piano, melodies get passed from voice to voice, while rich harmonies tug at your heart strings.

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Midnight Howl

Alfred: Belwin (2017)
Grade 3

*J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice

Imagine tiptoeing through the forest on a dark, stormy night, wolves circling, while hints of the "Dies Irae" theme pound in the air! In this spooky tango students will explore an array of bow styles and fun features such as glissando, tremolo, syncopation, and clapping. Written primarily using the G harmonic minor scale, musicians will learn to be very flexible around the fingerboard. If you are looking for a piece to liven up your masquerade or Halloween concert, feel free to add a "hoooowl" at the end for an extra thrill! (2:55)

 

 

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Sky Suite

Alfred: Belwin (2019)
Grade 1.5

*J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice

There is a method book hidden within the context of this concert piece! While floating through the "Clouds," "Rain," "Thunder," and "Sun," this multi-movement work focuses students on music literacy. A-, D-, and G-string notes are introduced one movement at a time. Throughout each of the movements, students will explore different time signatures, tempi, and bow techniques---then get a chance to put all their knowledge together in the finale. Perfect as a review for intermediate players or even as an intro to music reading for beginners!

 

Performed at the 2019 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. 

Access lesson plans from the composer (smart music optional)

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With Gratitude

Alfred: Belwin (2020)
Grade 3

A flowing yet spirited composition written in memory of a bright youngster who always sought out the good things in life. Perfect for advancing string orchestras, this piece features soaring melodies, rhythmic independence, and higher positions for violin 1 and cello, all while exploring changing modalities in C major and A major. Students will learn to play expressively as they connect to the story behind the piece using the hashtag #yearofgratitude.

Performed by Highland High School (AZ) at the 2021 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic