Christmas at Augustana!

December 2, 2015, 4:27 PM · [5 p.m.]: Another new change to the site! I like the more "modern" yet "newspaper" feel to it.

I just wanted to briefly write about our Christmas at Augustana concert, coming up on December 5th. We're playing two performances of it with choir and even the band joining us for a pretty awesome tour de force. Below is a list of most of the music we're going to be playing:

Mendelssohn: Christus (just the first part, where the violins just have triplets basically the whole time; I can listen to the winds and choir a bit better in this one! I actually really enjoy this piece; it really has a quality of piece and represents stars twinkling in the night sky in the music.)

Elgar: Enigma Variations (we're only playing the theme, and variations VIII and IX, which both have a nice contrast to them, which is a bit tricky to do since I have to change basically everything about my bow strokes I've been doing between them! On Elgar specifically, we're also going to be playing his string serenade, which I may have mentioned previously, and he's also British, which is awesome anyways, so his music is very lush and green, I find. On the latter Variation we're playing, our director can't believe an Englishman wrote something so gorgeous.)

Rutter: Gloria (a modern band piece as I like to think of it, it has some harp glissandos with our violin rapid scales, and some fun pizzicatos right after. The rest of it is just trills or accents where the band (and choir) are playing/singing, for me.)

Then we have some arrangements of carols, like "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing", "Joy to the World", our big finale I believe, and a couple other carols whose names escape me at the moment. You get the idea of the range of music we're playing for the concert, however.

On Monday we rehearsed all of this music, some with the other directors, and being able to play in that amazing hall really gave me a huge thrill that I'd be playing such a great batch of music for our Christmas concert this weekend. There are Christmas trees and hollies and ornamental lights and everything up and around the walls, so this will be fun to really feel like the beginning of the Christmas season! We have rehearsals every night up till Saturday (so 2), and there will be cameras and microphones recording the performances (I think just Friday), so we'll be able to have this music on a CD which we can order to listen to with our families back home on Christmas morning. Along with a Composition Album, it will be fun to reflect on all the work I've done making all of the music on both CDs while relaxing with my family!

Here's a quick list of some of the music on this year's Composition Album (music I wrote from 2014-2015) (you can find links on some of my past entries). I divided the music into piano music, chamber music, and orchestral music.

Minuet for Piano (October 2015) - This was the first piece I wrote at Augustana.

"Little Snow-White" Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (July 2014) - You may remember my big rambles about this piece throughout the summer of 2014 up to the spring of 2015, really.

"Symphony No. 2" - This was a big orchestration project that I talked about April and May of this year, the last big project I tackled before my string quartet over the summer.

It's odd, I really only composed 6 major works this year, although they were all medium or large works that required lots of editing. As I'm currently working on a Variations on a Theme for (for now just) oboe and violin (I may add harp to that) that I can work on through the New Year, perhaps I can write for smaller chamber groups (like these duets and things) where I can home certain compositional styles and take a break from the big works for a while. (And yes, the string quartet was a huge work for me, as I spent so much time trying to make it perfect!)

So yeah, hope you enjoyed this little entry about all the music I've personally been making. This past week, I've been getting into listening to lots of random music, like Bach's Christmas Oratorio (the Sinfonia X is a part of the piece I've enjoyed since 2012, and I'm going to print out the violin part to that to try playing something Baroque for a change), Haydn's symphonies and his Creation Oratorio, and other random stuff, also as part of listening for my Musicianship class. Anyways... I'll probably write again closer to Christmas, possibly with some exciting news around then, but we'll get to that when that day comes. Thanks for reading!

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