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String Quartets

String Quartets - new listings
Ayre and Allegro - Purcell/Hall
Difficulty: M  OMEA Class: B  Publ. Code: 59793919  
These two contrasting pieces by the well known early English composer, Henry Purcell, offer challenges both lyrically and technically. Players must have good tone quality and sensitivity to musical phrasing to be successful on the short first movement, and must be able to play with rhythmic independence in movement two. Both movements are in D minor. Violin 1 and Cello must play in positions, and it would be helpful for Violin 2 and Viola as well. Technique is demanding in movement two, so choose a tempo carefully.

Civil War Songs - arr Hall
Difficulty: ME  OMEA Class: C  Publ. Code: 50703014  
Aura Lee and Dixie have been popular songs since the mid-nineteenth century. Aura Lee has been sung at the West Point Military Academy since before the Civil War and experienced a resurgence of popularity in the 1960’s when Elvis Presley recorded it with new words and title “Love Me Tender.” Dixie was composed in 1859 by Dan Emmett from Mt Vernon, Ohio, and it became a favorite of the confederate troops during the Civil War. Both legato and march styles are necessary for proper interpretation, as is independent rhythmic reading, Technique is equally challenging in all parts. Players and audiences will love this arrangement . Third position is necessary for the first violin part.

Hungarian Dance No 5 - Brahms/Hall
Difficulty: MD  OMEA Class: B  Publ. Code: 50703012  
Brahms composed 21 Hungarian Dances beginning in 1869. All were composed for piano, but many of them have been orchestrated and are performed by major symphony orchestras. They are all based on popular Hungarian folk songs and dances. Dance No. 5 is perhaps the most popular. Standard interpretation includes many tempo changes. It would be wise to study a recording of the piece (or more than one) in order to understand the style. The first violin part especially requires technical competence.

String Quartets - previously listed
Corelli Suite - Corelli/Hall
Difficulty: MD  OMEA Class: A  Publ. Code: 20703101  
Corelli lived in the late 1600’s, a time when the violin reached its peak of development. He was one of the greatest violinists and composers of string music of his time, preceding Bach and Handel. This suite for string quartet is essentially his Trio Sonata Op. 3, No.2 with a viola part tastefully added. In Corelli’s day every performance of the trio was different as it was the custom of the keyboard accompanist to improvise on the figured bass as the performance progressed. I am sure Corelli would approve of this arrangement! Refer to the Trio Sonata, Op. 3, No. 2 for two violins and cello (20702101) and to the Violin Trio with optional viola (20712107). The 4 short movements are Grave, Allegro, Adagio and Allegro and total duration is 7 minutes with all repeats.

Woodland Sketches - MacDowell/Hall
Difficulty: D  OMEA Class: A  Publ. Code: 20703102  
Included are string quartet arrangements of 5 of MacDowell’s 10 Woodland Sketches which he composed for piano. MacDowell is one of America’s musical treasures, revered the world over during the late 19th century. Movements included in this suite are To A Wild Rose, At An Old Trysting-place, In Autumn, A Deserted Farm and From Uncle Remus. Several sketches are not technically difficult but are just plain beautiful in their simplicity requiring sensitive musicianship of the highest order. Two of the sketches are quite demanding regarding technique and fines. Careful study and rehearsing will result in a rewarding performance of this early American work. The sketches do not segue from one to another, so performers can play them separately or pick and choose for a suite of 2 or 3.

Early American Suite - Traditional Fiddle and Folk tunes/Hall, arr.
Difficulty: ME  OMEA Class: C  Publ. Code: 00479  
Included are 6 songs and hymns which are a very important part of our American heritage. Four fiddle tunes are included: Blue-Tail Fly, The Girl I Left Behind Me, Kingdom’s Comin’, and Arkansas Traveler. The Two hymn tunes are Chester (the fight song of the American revolution) and Duke Street. This arrangement can be treated as two suites in one with an optional ending after the first three songs. This quartet arrangement is also available as a quintet (00436) with a bass part added, and also complete as a trio for two violins and cello, or for violin, viola and cello.

Gavotte and Contredanse - Rameau/Hall            Score sample
Difficulty: E  OMEA Class: C  Publ. Code: 00439  
These are both rather lively French dances from the 17th century. Rameau was a French composer born just two years before Bach. The Gavotte is in duple meter with four bar phrases that begin with an up beat, whereas the contredanse is a bit more spirited and is constructed in 8 bar phrases. The Contredanse should be played with great energy as if dancing in bare feet, while the Gavotte is a bit more reserved. Energetic bowing is required in both dances. Also available for string orchestra (00473).

Royal Fireworks Minuet - Handel/Hall            Score sample
Difficulty: E  OMEA Class: C  Publ. Code: 00440  
This is just one of the pieces in the Royal Fireworks Suite which Handel composed at the request of the King of England. It was never performed for its intended purpose because the fireworks were accidentally set off as they were set up and fire destroyed much of the town! But the music still lives today as one of Handel’s most performed pieces. This minuet is not to be played in the typical delicate style we associate with that kind of dance, but rather with considerable strength and vitality. String players must have a mental picture of the power of brass instruments to capture the spirit of the music. Technical demands are quite limited. The key is C major and duration is about 3 minutes. This offers a wonderful first experience in small ensemble music. It is also available for the entire string orchestra (00475).

Trumpet Voluntary - Clarke/Hall
Difficulty: ME  OMEA Class: C  Publ. Code: 00432  
This familiar piece was originally composed for festive occasions at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, where the composer, Jeremiah Clarke served as choir master and organist around 1700. Until 1953, when some early manuscripts were discovered, it was thought to be composed by the more famous English composer, Henry Purcell. It is often played today for weddings or processions of dignitaries. Parts are not difficult except for the trills in the first violin part which require knowledge of 3rd position in order be able to execute them properly. This is also available for full string orchestra (00472) permitting your entire orchestra to experience this wonderful music.

“OMEA Class” refers to the assigned difficulty rating on the Ohio Music Educators Association Required List.

Sound samples are provided for some of the arrangements on this site. These are produced as MP3 files, with links noted after those arrangements for which they are available. Many also provide a "short MP3" alternative for those with slower, dial-up connections. While all sound samples are fairly compact, the shorter versions will typically download four to five times faster than their fuller counterparts.

Score samples are also provided for some arrangements. These show the first page (and sometimes several pages) of the score, and are provided in PDF format. You will need to have the Adobe Reader installed to be able to read these files. If you are unsure if you have this capability, click on a score link and see what happens. If you cannot read the file, a free version of the Adobe Reader is available at www.adobe.com.


How to order:   Published music can be purchased from any reputable music dealer, including the following:
Stanton's Sheet Music, 330 S. Fourth St., Columbus, OH 43215, phone 1-800-42MUSIC.
Rettig Music, Inc., Defiance / Lima / Toledo / Westlake, phone 1-800-52MUSIC.


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