The Cranes, for String Orchestra, complete materials
I wrote this piece for an orchestra director, Erica Flyte, who had once been a 4th grade beginning violin student of mine in the Oregon, Wisconsin, School District. I am grateful for the opportunity to work on it with her wonderful students in the Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, High School Orchestra and to conduct the premiere.
The main teaching goal of this piece is the experience of feeling of a common pulse across the ensemble. The title, The Cranes, is chosen because this particular school was near to a crane migration route and so, the students were used to seeing these amazing animals. The title also refers to the powerful experience of seeing a flock of cranes in migratory flight – something that is only possible because of the awareness that each crane has of the entire flock, while also remaining aware of individuals - mates, family members, etc., as well as wind, weather, directional goals, flight formations, and the consistent rhythm of their flight. And so, while the feeling of common pulse is important throughout the piece, there are also many opportunities for musical independence, through improvisation, solo passages and sectional solos - to play, listen, and participate in many different ways.
The piece is suitable for a large-ish high school orchestra with a minimum of six members in the first and second violin and viola sections, and a good balance between these sections and cellos (divisi: inside/outside) and basses. All first violins and one third of the violas have passages in third position. The first stand of first violins have a very brief (two note) passage in fourth position, off of the octave harmonic on E. And the first minute or so of the piece calls for some limited improvisation, i.e., players offered choices about when to play short repeated figures. Detailed instructions are provided in the score and in each part.
Duration is about 7 minutes.
Price includes one download of each file including the full score and parts (Violin 1 desks 1-3, Violin 2 desks 1-3, Viola divisi, Cello divisi, Contrabass). Download either at checkout or using the links provided in the confirmation email. Permission is given for duplication of sufficient additional copies as needed for the number of players in your ensemble.
Note to directors:
Meanwhile, for now, the demo, below, begins after the opening minute's improvisation.