Friday, December 2, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nativity Scenes, Suite for String Orchestra



Nativity Scenes, Suite for String Orchestra, is described as an aural rather than visual retelling of the Nativity story. It was the composer's hope to recapture some of the awe and wonder he felt as a child participating in an outdoor living Nativity scenes. Scriptural narrations serve to connect universally known Christmas carols to their Biblical sources.

The work is in five movements. It may be performed with or without narration. The individual movements may be excerpted. Duration 28 mins with narration, 22 mins without. Individual movements range from 4 to 7 mins.



The narration texts provided in the score are from the King James version of the Bible. Though the composer prefers the King James version, other versions may be substituted.



Though intended as concert music, the work has strong visual elements. It is therefore well adapted to the addition of interpretive dance or ballet choreography. It is also well suited to Lessons and Carols services. It does not, however, make suitable sing-along material.




SYNOPSIS

Mvmt I. Prophecy of the Messiah. A treatment of the carol, O Come, O Come Emmanuel (aka Veni Emmanuel).

Mvmt II. The wise men from the east and their encounter with Herod. A treatment of the carol, We Three Kings.

Mvmt III. The shepherds in the field to whom the birth of the Saviour is first revealed. A treatment of two carols in combination, While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks, and, Christmas (aka, Joy to the World). The movement is a tipping of the hat to composer G. F. Handel.

Mvmt IV. The deliverance of the Holy Family from Herod's attempt on Jesus’ life. A treatment of the carol, Silent Night.

Mvmt V. The unusual energy and growth of the early Christian Church, in effect, the birth of Christianity itself. A treatment of the carol, Good Christian Men, Rejoice (aka, In Dulci Jubilo).


AUDIO RECORDINGS



III. Handelia


ORDERING INFORMATION

Nativity Scenes: Suite for String Orchestra, is published by Oxford University Press. Score and parts are available print-on-demand from Allegro, UK



TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS

VIOLIN 1. Minimum players: 4. Techniques employed: pizzicato, double & triple stops, tremolo, ponticello, natural and artificial harmonics, quattro corde, highest note: E7 (harmonic), highest melodic note: Bb6, Sul G (high note A4). Solos: up to four players simultaneously.

VIOLIN 2. Minimum players: 4. Techniques employed: pizzicato, strumming pizzicato (upstroke & downstroke), tremolo, ponticello, double & triple stops, natural harmonics, highest melodic note C7, Sul G (high note B4). Solos: up to three players simultaneously.

VIOLA. Minimum players: 2. Techniques employed: pizzicato, snap pizzicato, tremolo, ponticello, double & triple stops, natural harmonics, highest melodic note E6. Solos: up to two players simultaneously.

CELLO. Minimum players: 3. Techniques employed: pizzicato, snap pizzicato, tremolo, ponticello, double stops, thumb position, highest melodic note: E5. Solos: up to two players simultaneously.

DOUBLE BASS. Minimum players: 2. Techniques employed: pizzicato, snap pizzicato, tremolo, double stops, ponticello, natural harmonics, highest note: B3. Solo.