Thursday, July 13, 2017

Alisann and Daniel at Royal Lane Baptist

This week's upcoming wedding ceremony at Royal Lane Baptist Church presented an interesting challenge. The couple chose for the bridal entrance a traditional hymn - Come Thou Fount - but in the setting of the Paul Cardall recording, which features piano, solo strings, orchestral strings, cymbal rolls and a healthy dose of reverb. In short, a very cinematic soundscape.

Creating the transcription and trying to achieve an orchestral sound and feel with only a string quartet is mostly painstaking work - at least for this musician. But, that is all but forgotten if it makes the client really happy. Looking forward to trying the arrangement out on Saturday!




Monday, July 10, 2017

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - revisited

Summer and the slowed pace in the Texas heat can sometimes present an opportunity: to work on little projects that got stashed away in the back of one's mind during busy times.

So, this week I decided to figure out what has been bugging me for the longest time about the string quartet arrangements of the famous chorale - Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring - from Bach’s Cantata No. 147, Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben. In the US this is the de facto standard piece for the seating of the families at wedding ceremonies, yet always sounds a little lugubrious and opaque to me.

A quick look at the manuscript (from 1723) reveals something interesting: The chorale’s time signature is actually 3/4 and only the first violins (and oboes) are notated in 9/8, probably to avoid having to write triplets for the entire piece. Many arrangements/editions choose to rewrite the music into 9/8 for all instruments, which changes the character considerably. In particular the dotted eights followed by a sixteenth rhythm in violin 2 is lost.


Now that the arrangement has been reworked to follow more closely the Bach manuscript - surprisingly, not easily achieved with modern notation software - I am curious to try it out at an upcoming performance.

The Bach Collegium Japan recording below illustrates nicely:


Monday, May 15, 2017

Hold My Hand

Emily and Jeff C. in Cincinnati, Ohio commissioned this arrangement for string quartet of the Jess Glynne single “Hold My Hand” (from the album I Cry When I Laugh).





While getting familiar with the song I also stumbled on Martha Paton’s cover, which takes the song into another world. Lest you think that surely, nothing new is possible in the girl with guitar format, take a listen:




How was she able to hear this gem hidden inside the original Glynne recording / video? I don't know . . . I'm a fan, though.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Bela & Chase at Four Seasons

One of those rare times when everything falls into place: golden hour light, 70 degree temperature, full shade for the musicians, no wind and a gorgeous set design. 


PROGRAM:

Ceremony:
Seating of the Family
What a Wonderful World

Attendants Processional
“Mia and Sebastian” from “La La Land”

Bridal Processional
Pachelbel – Canon in D

Recessional
Mozart – Divertimento No. 1, Presto

Postlude
Mozart – Divertimento No. 1, Allegro


GYROS STRING QUARTET:
Cornelia Demian, violin
Jennifer Sweetman, violin
Norbert Gerl, viola
Mitch Maxwell, violoncello

Coordinator: Abby Simoneau, DFW Events

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