Spindrift Commissioning Guild Project for 2006
Triptoe Suite for Green Mountain Youth Symphony
I've known Bob Blais, the Music Director of the Green Mountain Youth Symphony, for a long time, mostly as an excellent cellist. His wife, horn player Lydia Busler-Blais, has played my horn music on many occasions. I knew Bob had a youth orchestra in Vermont and was pleased when he asked if I had anything for a concert of women composers he was planning in spring 2007. The only drawback was that I didn't really have anything suitable.
I've wanted to do some music that was suitable for younger players so I didn't want to let go of this opportunity. I already had two movements of a suite for intermediate violinist and piano, so I proposed orchestrating Triptoe Suite and perhaps adding a couple more movements. i had always thought Triptoe Suite would be great for string orchestra, but this is full orchestra - even more colors to play with. The music itself has a pentatonic folk quality in the melodies and some jazzy blue notes in the sometimes dense harmonies. So that's the project!
2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, tuba, percussion, timpani, strings
Green Mountain Youth Symphony, Bob Blais, Music Director in Montpelier, VT
April 29, 2007 at the Barre Opera House, Barre, Vermont
See Triptoe Suite in the Music Catalog.
This project is completed.
Read about the Guild.
The following friends and supporters have contributed to support the composing of Triptoe Suite for orchestra:
Green Mountain Youth Symphony, Robert Blais, Music Director
Carson P. Cooman
Anonymous - 1
My thanks to everyone who is supporting Triptoe Suite!
- Sep 22, 2006 - I had planned to work on Triptoe Suite in August and be done by now, but events conspired to keep me too busy. Back in February when we first conceived this project, I set to work right away to discover how I'd orchestrate the first existing movement of Triptoe Suite, called Peasant Dance. So now that I'm back on the project, I have more done than I remembered.
- Sep 24, 2006 - I finished adding articulations and dynamics in Peasant Dance and got a lot done on Hopping, the other movement that existed in the violin version, over the weekend. I'm going to check with Bob about the limits at the high end for the first violins. He says the youth orchestra is quite good, especially the strings.
- I tend to orchestrate lightly and transparently, with lots of interlocking pieces of orchestral color, moving from instrument to instrument, but that's not necessarily good for youth orchestra. i don't want to leave players feeling exposed and insecure, so I'm using a lot more doubling than I normally would. I hope it doesn't end up feeling too heavy. There's a funky part for a couple measures at the end of Hopping with trombones and doublebass where it feels like a brass rock band.
- Sep 26, 2006 - Now to think about a couple of new movements. I wrote a stately theme with the feeling of an antique dance several months ago. Yesterday I fleshed it out with harmonies and a middle section. It has to be quite slow to get the right mood. It feels rather austere, like a tree standing straight and tall, rather than swaying grass or a hopping cricket, which are what the other movements feel like.
- Nov 19, 2006 - After several days of intense proofreading (and associated eyestrain), the orchestra parts seem ready. The movements are 1. Tap the Toes, 2. Peasant Dance, 3. Ceremonial, 4. Hopping. Ceremonial has a stately mood, and Tap the Toes is syncopated and jazzy, - not too fast, but with attitude. These aren't the simple pieces I thought they'd be. The original violin pieces now have extra layers and countermelodies. I think they'd work well on a Pops concert, as well as for skilled youth orchestras.