Composed: 2013 Duration: 2 mins.
Instrumentation: Big Band
ISMN: 979-0-720137-11-7 Catalogue: RM1070
Level: 2.5 Country: Australia
This arrangement of the lovely traditional Christmas carol is set in a lush, sometimes romantic style of a quasi-jazz saxophone section. It is packed with interesting harmonic movement and yet always stays true to the original melody that all know and love. The writing is challenging enough to make it interesting and yet it never crosses over into the “too difficult” category that some jazz saxophone section writing can stray in to. The short “Supersax” two thirds the way through is guaranteed to give listeners goose bumps and all in all this chart is sure to be a crowd pleaser no matter where it’s performed.
This piece includes rhythm section parts.
An Andy Firth original written in tribute to the great Australian jazz icon, Don Burrows.
Originally composed and arranged for Andy’s 16 saxophone big band CD “Sax To The Max!” this arrangement has been cleverly scored to work with various combinations of woodwind instruments. Andy has scored simple but authentic sounding jazz flute solos to capture the spirit of Don Burrow’s playing style. But if you think that this makes the chart too hard for your players, you would be wrong. In fact any intermediate level flute ensemble should be able to play this arrangement with ease. The rhythm section is optional as the chart can be performed with or without one. The lively bossa nova feel of the rhythm section combined with the catchy melody and tightly scored parts is sure to be a crowd pleaser where ever it is performed.
This three movement work for advanced piano soloist captures both the horror and heroism of three devastating battles; The 2nd World War, The 1st World War and The American Civil War. Each movement is based on a very simple popular song from each era of battle. Andy treats each familiar tune with a different and surprising manner that transforms what was once a common ditty into a challenging and sometimes poignant statement about the nature of war and the character of the men and women that made the ultimate sacrifice for us to enjoy the fragile peace we have now. This work is set at an advanced level and it will present the soloist with a fair deal of technical and emotional challenge.
Movement one is set in a Baroque fugal style over the popular 2nd World War Glenn Miller hit recording of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again”. The work begins with the sound of marching boots that lead us through a series of fugal renditions of the theme that are designed to confuse and disorient the listener as the movement gradually leads them into the musical battle field. Snippets of the theme return here and there unexpectedly as the sounds and scenes of battle grown ever closer and the piano playing becomes increasingly manic and furious driving to a sudden peaceful pause. But the battle is not over yet and the soloist is hurled into a short reprise before tumbling head long into a series of cascading passages to the fire of the finale section.
Movement two sees the once happy-go-lucky ditty “It’s a long way to Tipperary” transformed into a musical commentary on the horror, tragedy, mate ship and courage forged during the Gallipoli campaign of the 1st World War. Andy’s treatment of this familiar tune is guaranteed to stir the heart soloist and listener alike.
Movement three takes the American Civil War anthem “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and
through a series of variations explores every nook and cranny of the melody and taxing the technical limits of the soloist in the process. Andy takes soloist and listeners from a plaintive choral-styled rendition of the popular hymn through a series of variations of ever increasing challenge until the final cascading version of the theme has the final word that seems to say that “ultimately the human heart will prevail”.
Andy has dedicated this work to his friend and mentor, Maestro Tommy Tycho.
Performed by Glenn Murray
This work represents my first attempt at writing a substantial work for the violin and I am thrilled to dedicate it to my dear friend, Glenn Murray. Glenn and I have beed friends for twenty years now and it is largely thanks to him that I have been able to find the inspiration to write this work. Over the years Glenn has shared not only his wealth of string playing knowledge but also well his great collection of violin recordings with me.
I purposely set out to write a violin work that is different from most of the other standard repertoire works for the violin. Each movement represents a style of music that I enjoy writing and listening to and it is hoped that performers that select this work to play with also listen to the musical styles that each movement requires some aural awareness of. After all, I believe that as composers that we can never fully write everything that we hear in our heads on the page and that at least 30 percent or more of the stylistic content and tonal nuances has to be provided by the performer’s experience and technical expertise of the style that they are interpreting. Some of the more obvious stylistic forms present in this work are:
Cheers and enjoy! Andy Firth (Sept. 2012).