Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Concerto for English Horn and Viola (BWV 1060), by J. S. Bach, arranged and edited by Brett L Allen

An arrangement for English Horn and Viola of Bach's Concerto for Oboe and Violin (BWV 1060). Like my previously released Concerto for Two Violas in A Minor (BWV 1043), this arrangement is modeled after Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 6. As with current day performances of Brandenburg No. 6, it has an accompanying ensemble consisting of Violas 1 & 2, Cello, Cembalo and Bass (no violins). Single or multiple instruments may be used on each part. This arrangement has the added flexibility of being a double viola concerto with an optional Solo Viola 2 taking the place of the English Horn.

Available in both ensemble and piano versions, this arrangement is suitable for both recital and formal concert stage performances. It makes an ideal stand-up concerto. It makes an excellent companion piece on programs that feature viola(s) or english horn.

This concerto arrangement represents a significant addition to solo viola and solo english horn repertoire from the Baroque period, for which there are scant choices. For that reason it is sure to be found of value to both the learner as well as to the seasoned soloist.

Sample Audio

Amazon Link - Ensemble Version

Amazon Link - Piano Version

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Star of County Down

It is my pleasure to introduce a new and fun piece for viola and piano, an arrangement of the Irish traditional song, Star of County Down. This was written for the occasion of my niece’s wedding in May of 2014. It is celebratory in character, and a respectful nod to our family’s Irish roots.

The work consists of a cadenza-like introduction, followed by theme and variations. The two variations consist of elaborate descants over the theme. The second variation captures the spirit of Irish fiddling. It ends as it began with a cadenza-like coda. Duration: 3 mins 50 secs. An optional Dal Segno al Coda lengthens the piece by about 50 secs if desired.

The work resembles in its own way the miniatures for violin and piano written by Fritz Kreisler. That said, however, neither the viola nor piano part present any frightening technical challenges. It is suited to players of intermediate level or higher, student as well as advanced players. Supplemental material includes examples of how to embellish the melody, and lyrics to the song as left to us by Cathal McGarvey (1866-1927).

Sample pages: Piano-ScoreViola Part

Purchase at Amazon.com

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Concerto for Two Violas (BWV 1043) by J S Bach, arranged and edited by Brett L Allen

The Concerto for Two Violas (BWV 1043) is an arrangement of the famous "Bach Double" Violin Concerto. It makes an ideal stand-up concerto and is suitable for both recitals and the formal concert stage. It also fills an urgent need for Baroque concerto repertoire for the viola, for which there are few choices. 

The new Bach Double for Viola is available in two formats: a full Ensemble Version, and a version for Two Violas and Piano. The Ensemble Version is scored for the combination of instruments commonly used to perform Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 6Solo Violas I & II, and a string ensemble consisting of Violas I & II, Cello, Double Bass and Cembalo (typically harpsichord). Single or multiple instrument may be used on ensemble parts. 

The audio sample link below dates from 1999. The soloists are myself (Brett Allen), Solo Viola I, and the late David Schmookler, Solo Viola II. The concert featured the viola section of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and was part of the Sundays at Central series. David Schmookler was Principal Viola of the Columbus Symphony from 1986-2010.

Audio Sample Link

Amazon Link - Ensemble Version

Amazon Link - Two Violas and Piano

Friday, December 2, 2011

Piazzolla's Le Grand Tango for Solo Viola

Astor Piazzolla's iconic 
Le Grand Tango 
arranged for Solo Viola 
by Brett L Allen 

Available in two versions: 

Orchestra Version = Solo Viola, String Orchestra and Piano

Piano Redux Version = Viola and Piano

This arrangement is available from three sources:

I. Bèrben 
This arrangement is published by Bèrben of Ancona, Italy. It can be ordered from their website, Bèrben.it. Enter the catalog numbers on their direct order page:
Solo Viola, String Orchestra and Piano = Bèrben 5738
Viola and Piano = Bèrben 5753

II. Theodore Presser
The distributor for Bèrben in the US is Theodore Presser. Click the links below to order  from their website:
Solo Viola, String Orchestra and Piano
Viola and Piano

III. The arranger himself
I have a few copies available of both versions - while supplies last.
Orchestra Version $74 plus shipping
Piano Version $32 plus shipping.
Pay via PayPal.
Email me at brettallenmusic@gmail.com

Sample Pages
Peruse excerpts of the score and parts at Scribd.com. These include the Full Score, Solo Viola, Violin 1, and Piano.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nativity Scenes: Suite for String Orchestra

Weaving Classical Music and Traditional Carols through 
the Biblical Narrative of Christmas. 
"I was deeply moved on hearing this work in performance for the first time. ... here comes a composer, American Brett L. Allen, to present the Christmas story in such a fresh context"*
Written Lessons-and-Carols style, Nativity Scenes, Suite for String Orchestra is an excellent choice for Christmas programming. The suite consists of five movements, telling the story of the Nativity and relating well-familiar Christmas carols to their historical roots.

Carol Arrangements for Strings - The five movements may be excerpted:

(Click to hear live recordings)

I. Veni Emmanuel

II. We Three Kings

III. Joy to the World

IV. Silent Night

V. Good Christan Men Rejoice

Performance Details: Full compliments of strings recommended (minimum: 4-4-2-3-2). Duration 22 mins; 28 mins if narrated. Score includes optional Scriptural narration to be read between movements in the English Lessons and Carols tradition.

Ordering Information: Print-on-demand sheet music for "Nativity Scenes: Suite for String Orchestra," published by Oxford University Press, is available for purchase at:

Sample parts may be perused at Scribd.com at the following links: Full Score, Viola, Violin, Cello, Contrabass, Narrator.