Sheet music with 4 instruments

Pergolesi/Magatagan/BSG: Stabat Mater Dolorosa quartet

4 parts3 pages04:463 years ago2,252 views
Violin(2), Viola, Cello
Perhaps this is supremely arrogant. Starting from Mike Magatagan's beautiful string quartet arrangement (https://musescore.com/mike_magatagan/scores/814576), I crafted my own, which does not really pretend to be a "correction" of Mike's work, but of Pergolesi's. Going through Mike's arrangement, I found that the majority of details I found I could not abide were not Mike's, but Pergolesi's, in particular, vast passages of no-thought viola "writing" simply doubling the bass, which happens throughout the Stabat Mater ("col basso" often appears in a 1749 score on IMSLP), and occasionally the viola just flops submissively into the bass.

This betrays more than the usual quantum of arrogance, for not only am I "improving" one of the best-loved movements of the Baroque, then and now (Jean-Jacques Rousseau called it "the most perfect and touching duet by any composer" [Wikipedia]), but I am also dealing with a previous attempt to do so by a certain Herr Bach, the cantor of St. Thomas' in Leipzig, who rewrote this masterpiece on the basis of similar objections.

Oddly, this Herr Bach did very, very little to the first movement (BWV 1083), and left it pretty much as Pergolesi had it; in other movements, he slashed away and added all kinds of interest. But not in the iconic first movement. So I have taken the arrogant liberty of "finishing" his work by the wholesale rewrite of the viola part with new thematic and harmonic material.

It is humbling to think that even the greatest Baroque composers other than Bach were all rough approximations to Bach (even if they didn't know it).

In the work as I have left it today (7 May 2015), I have essentially added a third actor to the given screenplay, to the canonic duo of suspension ("dum pendebat"?) chains (first stated in the upper parts in mm. 1-5), and the walking bass, adding a viola dolorosa lamenting in poignant "sighing" figures (sospiri), adding suspended sevenths and fourths and appoggiature to complement Pergolesi's sparse rhythm and harmony. I have exploited (and added) figures in the upper parts, importing them into the viola at other times and intervals, all the tighter to bind the whole.

See what you think.

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"Tech notes"

Pergolesi’s original calls for two vocal parts (performances differ on whether they be soli or chori) in addition to the strings; his two violins double the vocal parts when the latter sing; the texture is basically a trio, and the viola is like a third wheel, which he occasionally commits to doubling the bass for measures at a stretch, and other times commits to half-note riffs strewn with questionable doublings and barely hidden fifths (the latter I have left alone). In Mike’s quartet texture, the viola is more exposed and cannot duck responsibility as in Pergolesi’s, and to this end I have written the present active part. Students of canon will realize that the famous chain of 3-2 suspensions and jumps of upward fourths which opens the movement is actually a canon at the second (cf., the “Recordare” from Mozart’s “Requiem”). I have generally left the two violins/soli alone, but for correcting some bad doubling in m. 21, reorganizing 31 and 42 for a better viola part (and eliminating spurious doublings), and, notably, supplying mm. 14-15 with an anticipation and “explaining” appoggiature to remedy what I considered an unacceptable tritone (Bb->E upward) in Pergolesi’s score, meanwhile promoting the canon with parallel dissonance resolutions for a very Bachian effect. I rewrote the double-counterpoint in 19-21 to be correct, restoring Pergolesi's theme and countermelody and adding some gratuitous rhythmic interest.

[5/5/2015 - I restored Pergolesi's bass rhythms, inserted strategic eighth-rests in the viola part to complement the former, borrowed Mike's superlative Bb-Ab trill for m.17, all'8va, and added a bit more. I added complexity to P's half-note viola riffs to mitigate the hidden fifths, and add more opportunities for motivic imitation).

JSB/Mike Magatagan/BSG: Schafe können sicher weiden (BWV 208.9)

4 parts5 pages06:243 years ago1,077 views
Violin(2), Viola, Cello
This is my rewrite of Mike Magatagan's string quartet arrangement of the famous aria of safely grazing sheep from the Hunting Cantata, BWV 208.

Mike has graciously allowed me to correct and enhance his work. My goals here are multiple: to help Mike learn Bachian counterpoint, to enjoy myself, and to post what is now my own work, too; perhaps others can learn.

I followed certain ground rules: I did not look at Bach's original--I fixed up Mike's work, not Bach's work. I kept the bass line and violin 1 as Mike had them; I more or less gutted the second violin and added my own, and rewrote the viola heavily. A few times I left entire measures intact (as it were).

The technical goals of the rewrite were primarily to fix various sorts of large and small contrapuntal errors; the largest ones were Mike simply duplicating Violin 1 or Viola in violin 2 for a half a measure at a time, and there were ubiquitous unison and octave duplicate gestures, which I remedied, often with simple long notes. There were many missed opportunities for vacant contrapuntal space (resulting in overcrowding!) which I exploited, particularly adding classic suspensions and classic resolutions of 6-4-2's, and enhanced awareness of JSB's beloved half-diminished sevenths (6 5 flat).

A second goal was to add interest to the composition over and above what both Bach and Mike had: spicing it with imitations of the recorder head motif, the vocal head motif, and new secondary motifs contributing to measure-by-measure sequences. At one point, mm 12-15, perhaps a bit too ostentatious, where Mike had silence, I was able to supply a canon at the seventh. I even disconnected parallel-sixth head-motif passages from Bach in order to construct a more interesting four-voice texture (Bach's original was basically three-voiced).

I strove to keep as much of Mike's architecture and detail as possible, unless I had something sufficiently better to say. There may still be "bugs" unfixed, or even new ones I introduced. Fortunately, this site facilitates score revisions without corrupting dates/stats, etc.

There is a huge echo of the texture of the eponymous opening aria of BWV 54, "Widerstehe doch der Sünde" hovering about.

Mike and others, enjoy/compare.

Mike's original is https://musescore.com/mike_magatagan/scores/821476 .
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The underlying hyperlinks for the automatically-generated names (e.g., @Mike Magatagan") in posted comments/replies, contain invalid hyperlinks.For example: on a reply to an "Improving MuseScore.com" comment, the user name printed at the beginning of the comment contains an invalid reference (e.g., https://musescore.com/user/Mike%20Magatagan instead of the actual https://musescore.com/mike_magatagan )
This concerns one specific score by @Mike Magatagan namely the score https://musescore.com/mike_magatagan/scores/3004231If you click "Download" and choose "PDF including Parts"  the returned document is not a PDF but a "Not Found" error in XML format such as:  <Error><Code>NoSuchKey</Code><Message>The specified key does not exist.</Message><Key>3004231/8628087/18f138fc27/general-parts/score-parts.pdf</Key><RequestId>7C02B5365F83A247</RequestId><HostId>++UrE4WzPLQL6n4nqY64Q5aoi88wzvJjJqfSUqDiw2DSzJYIpfHzp0IE6RMQiDFkoGyv5AujhOA=</HostId></Error>All other export formats work fine.As a test I've downloaded that score in mscz format, opened it up with musescore 2.3.2 and used "Save online" to save it privately into my account (private url https://musescore.com/jeetee/scores/5304581 ). From there I can download the PDF with parts without issues.Mike already tried to "update" his score by resaving the score to his account; we were hoping this would force the musescore server to regenerate this PDF. Alas this seems to not work.Can someone on your end ( @Ximich or @abruhanov probably) debug this and/or force the server to generate that file?Thanks!

Chaconne in F Major (HWV 485) For String Quartet

4 parts8 pages08:4910 months ago16,729 views
Violin(2), Viola, Cello
Georg Friedrich Händel (1685 – 1759) was a true European. He had a German work ethic, Italian passion and a Dutch head for business. And after training in Germany and Italy, from 1711 he went on to win the hearts of the British. He wooed them with his many operas and oratorios, and with instrumental works like his Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks.

Yet during his lifetime, he was renowned not only as an organist, but also as one of the greatest harpsichordists of his day. The public couldn’t get enough of him on the harpsichord, either as a composer or a musician. Evidently times change. However, if we take a closer look at the period during which Handel settled in London, we soon see that people were occupied with the same issues then as they are today.

The signing of the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 finally brought peace after a long period of war, and with it a lasting balance of power in Europe. It was a historic moment, comparable to the foundation of the European Union. Historic, partly because it was the first time a treaty had been signed not on the battle field but at the negotiating table. For Handel it was a fortunate development as it allowed him to move much more freely around Europe. At the same time, England had not done badly out of the peace deal it had struck in Utrecht. Welfare in the country increased, certainly in London.

Handel brought together new and old material, but just what was old and what was new we do not know. Probably some of the work dated from his student days in Germany, some from his years in Italy, and the new material from his time in London. The German folksongs in the Air of the Suite in D Minor and the Passacaille from the Suite in G Major could well have been composed in his German years, as could some of the Fugues. Little is written about this Chaconne & 49 Variations in C Major although they were likely written for Organ or Harpsichord.

According to Grove Music, Handel's keyboard pieces were "all probably for harpsichord and written before 1720, unless otherwise stated"; specifically for HWV 485, Grove says "for 2-manual hpd".

Source: Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Frideric_Handel).

Although originally written for Keyboard, I created this Interpretation of the Chaconne in F Major (HWV 485) for String Quartet (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).

"Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" (BWV 147 No. 10) for Piano, Organ & Choir

4 parts9 pages02:497 years ago16,020 views
Voice(2), Percussion(2)
Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben (Heart and mouth and deed and life), BWV 147, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. It was written originally in Weimar in 1716 (BWV 147a) for Advent and expanded in 1723 for the feast of the Visitation in Leipzig, where it was first performed on 2 July 1723.

Bach composed the cantata in his first year as Thomaskantor in Leipzig for the Marian feast "Mariae Heimsuchung" (Visitation). The prescribed readings for the feast day were Isaiah 11:1–5, the prophecy of the Messiah, and from the Gospel of Luke, Luke 1:39–56, Mary's visit to Elizabeth, including her song of praise, the "Magnificat". He used as a base a cantata in six movements composed in Weimar for the fourth Sunday in Advent. As Leipzig observed tempus clausum (time of silence) from Advent II to Advent IV, Bach could not perform the cantata for that occasion and rewrote it for the feast of the Visitation. The original words were suitable for a feast celebrating Mary in general; more specific recitatives were added, the order of the arias changed, and the closing chorale was replaced and repeated on a different verse to expand the cantata to two parts. The words are verses 6 and 16 of the hymn "Jesu, meiner Seelen Wonne" (1661) by Martin Jahn (de).

The opening chorus renders the complete words in three section, the third one a reprise of the first one and even the middle section not different in character. An instrumental ritornello is heard in the beginning and in the end as well as, slightly changed, in all three sections with the choir woven into it. In great contrast all three sections conclude with a part accompanied only by basso continuo. Sections one and three begin with a fugue with colla parte instruments. The fugue subject stresses the word Leben (life) by a melisma extended over three measures. The soprano starts the theme, the alto enters just one measure later, tenor after two more measures, bass one measure later, the fast succession resulting in a lively music as a good image of life. In section three the pattern of entrances is the same, but building from the lowest voice to the highest.

The three recitatives are scored differently, the first accompanied by chords of the strings, the second by continuo, the third as an accompagnato of two oboes da caccia which add a continuous expressive motive, interrupted only when the child's leaping in the womb (in German: Hüpfen) is mentioned which they illustrate.

The three arias of the original cantata are scored for voice and solo instruments (3., 5.) or only continuo, whereas the last aria, speaking of the miracles of Jesus, is accompanied by the full orchestra.

The chorale movements 6 and 10, ending the two parts of the cantata, are the same music based on a melody by Johann Schop, "Werde munter, mein Gemüthe", a melody which Bach also used in his St Matthew Passion on the words "Bin ich gleich von dir gewichen" (movement 40). The simple four-part choral part is embedded in a setting of the full orchestra dominated by a motive in pastoral triplets derived from the first line of the chorale melody.

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring is the most common English title of this movement of the cantata and is one of Bach's most enduring works.

Although the cantata was scored for four soloists and a four-part choir, a festive trumpet, two oboes (oboe d'amore, oboe da caccia), two violins, viola and basso continuo including bassoon, I created this arrangement for Piano, Organ and Choir (SATB).
"Riu, Riu, Chiu" (Nightingale's Sounds) for Choir (SATB)
Video

"Riu, Riu, Chiu" (Nightingale's Sounds) for Choir (SATB)

4 parts3 pages01:567 years ago9,366 views
Voice(4)
"Riu, Riu, Chiu" is a 16th Century Spanish villancico by an anonymous composer. The villancico is attributed by some sources to Mateo Flecha the Elder, who died in 1553. The villancico is verse, set to popular dance rhythms, depicting pastoral Nativity scenes with a country flavor (animals and shepherds).

This traditional Spanish Christmas carol in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary is of the type known as a 'villancico', dating from the 16th century. The song is a lesson in Catholic doctrine on the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady as well as the birth of Our Lord who came to redeem the world from the guilt of sin.

This arrangement for the Sierra Vista United Methodist Church (SVUMC) is to be sung by a lone male voice, with the main choir singing the chorus.

"Fanfare" from the 1812 Overture for Clarinet Quartet

4 parts3 pages01:456 years ago8,281 views
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 – 1893), was a Russian composer whose works included symphonies, concertos, operas, ballets, chamber music, and a choral setting of The Russian Orthodox Divine Liturgy. Some of these are among the most popular concert and theatrical music in the classical repertoire. He was the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally, which he bolstered with appearances as a guest conductor later in his career in Europe and the United States. One of these appearances was at the inaugural concert of Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1891. Tchaikovsky was honored in 1884 by Emperor Alexander III, and awarded a lifetime pension in the late 1880s. Tchaikovsky wrote many works which are popular with the classical music public, including his Romeo and Juliet, the 1812 Overture.

The Year 1812 (festival overture in E♭ major, Op. 49), popularly known as the 1812 Overture or the Overture of 1812 is an overture written by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1880 to commemorate Russia's defense of their motherland against Napoleon's invading Grande Armée in 1812. It has also been co-opted as a patriotic hymn played in the United States in association with its Fourth of July celebrations. The overture debuted in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow in 1882, conducted by Ippolit Al'tani. The overture is best known for its climactic volley of cannon fire, ringing chimes, and brass fanfare finale.

The "Fanfare" from the Overture (as well as the composition) has no historical connection with the US-UK War of 1812, it is often performed in the US alongside other patriotic music and is a staple at Fourth of July celebrations.

Although originally scored for orchestra, I created this arrangement, at the request of my friend Dr Leonard Anderson, for B♭ Clarinet (3) and Bass Clarinet Quartet and it is best played using the "GeneralUser GS.sf2" Soundfont by S. Christian Collins Software (http://www.schristiancollins.com/generaluser.php).
"Silent Night" (A Variation for Sax) for Saxophone Quartet
Video

"Silent Night" (A Variation for Sax) for Saxophone Quartet

4 parts1 page01:144 years ago8,056 views
Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone
Franz Xaver Gruber (25 November 1787 – 7 June 1863), was an Austrian primary school teacher and church organist in the village of Arnsdorf. At the same time he was organist and choirmaster at St Nicholas Church in the neighboring village of Oberndorf bei Salzburg and then in later years moved on to Hallein, Salzburg.

Together with Joseph Mohr, a Catholic priest who wrote the original German lyrics, Gruber composed the music for the Christmas carol Silent Night. On Christmas Eve of 1818, Mohr, an assistant pastor at St Nicholas, showed Gruber a six-stanza poem he had written in 1816. He asked Gruber to set the poem to music. The church organ had broken down so Gruber produced a melody with guitar arrangement for the poem. The two men sang "Stille Nacht" for the first time at Christmas Mass in St Nicholas Church while Mohr played guitar and the choir repeated the last two lines of each verse.

Although this carol was originally arranged by Miguel Astor for Chorus (SATB), I created this arrangement from my earlier work (http://musescore.com/mike_magatagan/scores/111310) for a friend and It is best played using the "GeneralUser GS.sf2" Soundfont by S. Christian Collins Software (http://www.schristiancollins.com/generaluser.php).

"Silver Bells" for English Handbells, Horn & Piano

4 parts3 pages01:443 years ago5,245 views
Percussion(2), French Horn, Piano
"Silver Bells" is a classic Christmas song, composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. It was first performed by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell in the motion picture The Lemon Drop Kid, filmed in July–August 1950 and released in March 1951. The first recorded version was by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards, released by Decca Records in October 1950. After the Crosby and Richards recording became popular, Hope and Maxwell were called back in late 1950 to refilm a more elaborate production of the song.

"Silver Bells" started out as the questionable "Tinkle Bells." Said Ray Evans, "We never thought that tinkle had a double meaning until Jay went home and his first wife said, 'Are you out of your mind? Do you know what the word tinkle is?'" This song's inspiration has conflicting reports. Several periodicals and interviews cite the writer Jay Livingston stating that the song inspiration came from by the bells used by Santa Clauses and Salvation Army people on New York City street corners. However, an interview with co-writer Ray Evans to NPR said that the song was inspired by a bell that sat on Ray and Jay's shared office desk.

In the original version the lyrics were "Hear the snow crunch, see the kids bunch, this is Santa's big day" but was later changed to "Here the snow crunch, see the kids bunch, this is Santa's big scene".

I created this unusual arrangement to a friend & Music Teacher for an upcoming performance utilizing students with English Handbells, French Horn & Piano.

"Scotland the Brave" for Saxophone Quartet

4 parts3 pages03:143 years ago4,962 views
Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone
"Scotland the Brave" (Scottish Gaelic: "Alba an àigh" with àigh meaning joy, happiness, prosperity, luck, success - lots of good things, but not brave or bravery) is a Scottish patriotic song. It was one of several songs considered an unofficial national anthem of Scotland. Surprisingly, Scotland has no national anthem, although along with "Flower Of Scotland", the Gaelic Air "Alba An Aigh" rendered in English as "Scotland The Brave" is as good as. Written in 2/4 time, it is of surprisingly recent origin, and was published first around 1911 as "Scotland, The Brave!!!", and has been dated from around 1891-95, although the sentiment dates back to at least the 1820s. It was probably originally a flute solo, though the instrumental version is more usually played on the bagpipes.

The definitive lyrics were penned as recently as 1951. Glasgow man Cliff Hanley (1923-99) was an author, historian and broadcaster among his other talents; he wrote the new words for Robert Wilson, a performer who needed a song for the finale of his show at a Christmas Scottish review that was being performed at the Glasgow Empire Theatre.

"Scotland The Brave" is also known as "Brave Scotland", "My Bonnie Lass", My Bonnie Lassie" (with alternative lyrics) and as "Scotland Forever". "My Bonnie Lassie" was actually penned by two American songwriters Roy C. Bennett and Sid Tepper (who wrote songs for Elvis).

The instrumental version is also the authorised pipe band march of the British Columbia Dragoons of the Canadian Forces. In 2006, it was adopted as the regimental quick march of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

In content, lyrically, it is similar to "Land Of My Fathers" and similar national anthems and patriotic songs, extolling the natural beauty of the country as well as the bravery of its warriors. This piece is hands-down, the most popular song for pipe bands to play in American parades.

Although this piece was originally written for Scottish Pipe bands, I created this arrangement for Saxophone Quartet (Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bari Sax).

Violin Concerto in D Major (RV 204 Op. 4 No. 11) for String Quartet

4 parts17 pages06:144 years ago4,772 views
Violin, Strings(3)
Although Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) had already accomplished himself as a composer of violin sonatas and of sacred music, nothing propelled his career more than his first set of concertos -- L'estro armonico (Op.3) -- which first appeared in 1711. Besides being widely popular with both musicians and audiences of the day, L'estro armonico had a significant impact on the development of the relatively new solo-concerto. The set's influence was felt all across Europe -- no less a figure than J.S. Bach transcribed six of the Op.3 concertos for keyboard.

La Stravaganza (Op. 4) appeared shortly after, in around 1713, and was dedicated to Vettor Dolfin (the surname given in its Tuscan form, Delfino), a young Venetian noble to whom Vivaldi had taught the violin. While enormously successful in it's own right, this set of twelve concertos was a complete departure from Op.3. While the influence of the Corellian concerto grosso had been significant in L'estro armonico, in La Stravaganza Vivaldi severed himself completely from past traditions. The Op.4 set is characterized by harmonic daring, passage work bordering on the bizarre, and a new, uniquely flexible, solo-concerto "form" that would become so typical of Vivaldi. The originality and variety of material is also noteworthy; each work seems to systematically refute a different aspect of the traditional concerto, and even some standards of composition at the time. All this is not without its own sense of musical humor. However, the set also demonstrates the care the composer took over the selection and grouping of works destined for publication; i.e. grouping the concertos into pairs -- one major, one minor -- with an adjustment made to ensure that the whole set ends in major.

The Op.4 concertos are the earliest examples of a theatri al conception of the solo concerto to be offered to international audiences of music lovers. This, even more than Vivaldi's daring writing for the solo violin, is the true significance of the word stravaganza in the title. Indeed, among Vivaldi's printed works, the road to the future is marked by the Stravaganza concerti rather than those of L'estro armonico. Vivaldi would never retrace his steps in the direction of Op.3, and the collections which followed Op.4 further develop the concept of the instrumental solo as outlined in Op.4.

This Concerto in D Major for violin (RV 204 Op. 4 No. 11), is eleventh in the Op.4 set and although originally scored for Violin and Strings (2 Violins, Viola, Cello, Bass & Continuo), I created this arrangement for String Quartet (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).

Badinerie from the Orchestral Suite No. 2 (BWV 1067) for Woodwind Quartet

4 parts3 pages01:334 years ago4,547 views
Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon
The four orchestral suites (called ouvertures by their author), BWV 1066–1069 are four suites by Johann Sebastian Bach. The name ouverture refers only in part to the opening movement in the style of the French overture, in which a majestic opening section in relatively slow dotted-note rhythm in duple meter is followed by a fast fugal section, then rounded off with a short recapitulation in triple meter of the opening music. More broadly, the term was used in Baroque Germany for a suite of dance-pieces in French Baroque style preceded by such an ouverture. This genre was extremely popular in Germany during Bach's day, and he showed far less interest in it than was usual: Robin Stowell writes that "Telemann's 135 surviving examples represent only a fraction of those he is known to have written"; Christoph Graupner left 85; and Johann Friedrich Fasch left almost 100. Bach did write several other ouverture (suites) for solo instruments, notably the Cello Suite no. 5, BWV 1011, which also exists in the autograph Lute Suite in G minor, BWV 995, the Keyboard Partita no. 4 in D, BWV 828, and the Overture in the French style, BWV 831 for keyboard. The two keyboard works are among the few Bach published, and he prepared the lute suite for a "Monsieur Schouster," presumably for a fee, so all three may attest to the form's popularity.

Scholars believe that Bach did not conceive of the four orchestral suites as a set (in the way he conceived of the Brandenburg Concertos), since the sources are various. The Badinerie (literally "jesting" in French; in other works Bach used the Italian word with the same meaning, "Scherzo") has become a show-piece for solo flautists because of its quick pace and difficulty.

Joshua Rifkin has argued, based on in-depth analysis of the partially autograph primary sources, that this work is based on an earlier version in A minor in which the solo flute part was scored instead for solo violin. Rifkin demonstrates that notational errors in the surviving parts can best be explained by their having been copied from a model a whole tone lower, and that this solo part would venture below the lowest pitches on the flutes Bach wrote for (the transverse flute, which Bach called flauto traverso or flute traversiere). Rifkin argues that the violin was the most likely option, noting that in writing the word "Traversiere" in the solo part, Bach seems to have fashioned the letter T out of an earlier "V", suggesting that he originally intended to write the word "violin" (the page in question can be viewed here, p. 6) Further, Rifkin notes passages that would have used the violinistic technique of bariolage. Rifkin also suggests that Bach was inspired to write the suite by a similar work by his second cousin Johann Bernhard Bach.

Flautist Steven Zohn accepts the argument of an earlier version in A minor, but suggests that the original part may have been playable on flute as well as violin. Oboist Gonzalo X. Ruiz has argued in detail that the solo instrument in the lost original A minor version was the oboe, and he has recorded it in his own reconstruction of that putative original on a baroque oboe. His case against the violin is that: the range is "curiously limited" for that instrument, "avoiding the G string almost entirely," and that the supposed violin solo would at times be lower in pitch than the first violin part, something that is almost unheard of in dedicated violin concertos. By contrast, "the range is exactly the range of Bach's oboes"; scoring the solo oboe occasionally lower than the first violin was typical Baroque practice, as the oboe still comes through to the ear; and the "figurations are very similar to those found in many oboe works of the period."

Although originally scored for Chamber Orchestra, I created this arrangement for Woodwind Quartet (Flute, Oboe, Bb Clarinet & Bassoon).

"Joy to the World" for String Quartet

4 parts2 pages01:582 years ago4,344 views
Violin(2), Viola, Cello
"Joy to the World" is a popular Christmas carol based on music by Georg Friedrich Händel. The words are by English hymn writer Isaac Watts, based on the second half of Psalm 98 in the Bible. The song was first published in 1719 in Watts' collection; The Psalms of David: Imitated in the language of the New Testament, and applied to the Christian state and worship. Watts wrote the words of "Joy to the World" as a hymn glorifying Christ's triumphant return at the end of the age, rather than a song celebrating his first coming. The nations are called to celebrate because God's faithfulness to the house of Israel has brought salvation to the world.

The music's origins are unclear. The name "Antioch" is generally used for the tune. It is often attributed to George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) on the grounds of a 'chance resemblance' to choruses in the oratorio Messiah (premiered 1742), not least because a theme of the refrain (And heaven and nature sing...) appears similar to the orchestral opening and accompaniment of the recitative Comfort ye. Likewise, the first four notes seem to match the beginning of the choruses Lift up your heads and Glory to God from the same oratorio. However, there is no autographed score by Handel and no currently known documentary evidence to suggest that Handel wrote it, so 'Antioch' remains, at best, a skillful collection of borrowings from Handel.

Other hymnals credit the tune to Lowell Mason (1792-1872), who introduced it to America (US) in 1836 as 'arranged from Handel'. But, in 1986, John Wilson showed that 'Joy to the World' was first published in two English collections, one firmly dated 1833. Being three years earlier, this is thought to exclude Lowell Mason from being the composer, but his original attribution remains a likely cause of the often-stated link to Handel.

Source: Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joy_to_the_World).

I created this Interpretation for String Quartet (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).
"Riu, Riu, Chiu" a Spanish Christmas Carol for String Quartet
Video

"Riu, Riu, Chiu" a Spanish Christmas Carol for String Quartet

4 parts1 page01:334 years ago4,075 views
Violin(2), Guitar, Cello
"Riu, Riu, Chiu" is a 16th Century Spanish villancico by an anonymous composer. The villancico is attributed by some sources to Mateo Flecha the Elder, who died in 1553. The villancico is verse, set to popular dance rhythms, depicting pastoral Nativity scenes with a country flavor (animals and shepherds).

It was written in so-called villancico style, which became a popular form for songs in post-Renaissance Spain. Such songs are in ternary form, with a text expressing some aspect of Christian principles or beliefs.

"Riu, Riu, Chiu" became one of the more widely known such works in its time. The author of this carol is generally thought to be anonymous, but its text, possibly originally written in Portuguese, has been attributed by some to Mateo Flecha (1481-1553). The melody to Riu, riu, chiu probably dates to the fifteenth century or earlier. The words in the title are vocalizations of the sounds made by a nightingale. The main theme is lively and rhythmic and has an instant appeal, lingering in the mind long after one or two hearings. It exudes folk-ish color. One hears a mixture of Renaissance-era elegance here with a sort of peasant-like festivity. Its text speaks of the roles of the Blessed Mother and the Redeemer.

This piece was popularized by the Monkees when they performed it acapella for their TV Christmas special in 1967: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ko94b3I0X0Y

Although originally intended to be sung by a lone male voice, with the main choir singing the chorus, I created this arrangement for String Quartet (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).
"Funeral March of a Marionette" for Clarinet Quartet
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"Funeral March of a Marionette" for Clarinet Quartet

4 parts6 pages04:265 years ago3,940 views
Clarinet(4)
Charles Gounod was born in Paris, the son of a pianist mother and an artist father. His mother was his first piano teacher. Under her tutelage, Gounod first showed his musical talents. He entered the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied under Fromental Halévy and Pierre Zimmermann.

Gounod wrote "Funeral march of a marionette" as a light-hearted piece of musical grotesquerie, a mock funeral procession with a jaunty beat and a carefree tune over a humorously not-slow-enough funeral march. The music in the beginning is supposed to tell the listener that two of the members of the Marionette troupe have had a duel and one of them has been killed. A party of pallbearers is organized and the procession sets out for the cemetery in march time. The music soon takes on a more cheerful spirit, for some of the troupe, wearied with the march, seek consolation at a wayside inn, where they refresh themselves and also descant upon the many virtues of their late companion. At last they get into place again and the procession enters the cemetery to the march rhythm -- the whole closing with the bars intended to reflect upon the briefness and weariness of life, even for marionettes.

The "Funeral March of a Marionette", received a new and unexpected lease of life from 1955 when it was first used as the theme for the television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The "Funeral March of a Marionette," slight as it is, has never lost its charm. It was originally written as one of the movements of a Suite Burlesque, which was never completed.

At the request of a user, I re-worked the Wind Quintet arrangement for an upcoming amateur Clarinet Quartet Halloween concert.

Although originally written for Piano, I created this arrangement for the IT Chamber Group Clarinet Quartet (Williamsport, PA see: http://www.facebook.com/ITChamberGroup?__user=100005850937577&soft=side-area) and It is best played using the "GeneralUser GS.sf2" Soundfont by S. Christian Collins Software (http://www.schristiancollins.com/generaluser.php).

"God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" for Saxophone Quartet

4 parts2 pages01:176 years ago3,888 views
"God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen", also known as "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen", is an English traditional Christmas carol. The melody is in the minor mode. It was published by William B. Sandys in 1833, although the author is unknown.

Like so many early Christmas songs, the carol was written as a direct reaction to the church music of the 15th century. However, in the earliest known publication of the carol, on a c. 1760 broadsheet, it is described as a "new Christmas carol", suggesting its origin is actually in the mid-18th century. It appeared again among "new carols for Christmas" in another 18th century source, a chapbook believed to be printed between 1780 and 1800.

It is referred to in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, 1843: "...at the first sound of — 'God bless you, merry gentlemen! May nothing you dismay!'— Scrooge seized the ruler with such energy of action that the singer fled in terror, leaving the keyhole to the fog and even more congenial frost."

I created this arrangement for Saxophone Quartet (Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Baritone) as a variation on a simple theme. I encourage others to elaborate on this theme as well and freely post copies of your variations!

This piece is best played using the "GeneralUser GS.sf2" Soundfont by S. Christian Collins Software (http://www.schristiancollins.com/generaluser.php).

Aria: "Schafe können sicher weiden" (Sheep May Safely Graze: BWV 208 No 9) for String Quartet

4 parts4 pages06:243 years ago3,890 views
Violin(2), Viola, Cello
Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd (The lively hunt is all my heart's desire), BWV 208, also known as the Hunting Cantata, is a secular cantata composed in 1713 by Johann Sebastian Bach for the 31st birthday of Duke Christian of Saxe-Weissenfels on 23 February 1713. The aria "Schafe können sicher weiden" ("Sheep May Safely Graze"), is the most familiar part of this cantata.

It is Bach's earliest surviving secular cantata, composed while he was employed as court organist in Weimar. The work may have been intended as a gift from Bach's employer, William Ernest, Duke of Saxe-Weimar, for his neighbouring ruler, Duke Christian, who was a keen hunter.

Bach is known to have stayed in Weißenfels in 1713 for the birthday celebrations. He went on to earn more commissions from Saxe-Weissenfels, and in 1729, Bach was appointed Royal Kapellmeister, but this position as court composer did not require residence at court. The text is by Salomon Franck, the Weimar court poet, who published it in Geist- und Weltlicher Poesien Zweyter Theil (Jena, 1716). As was common at the time, Franck's flattering text draws on mythological references. Franck also followed convention in associating good government with the hunt: the text praises Duke Christian as a wise ruler as well as a keen hunter. In reality, the Duke was to prove a spendthrift whose habits resulted in the financial collapse of his duchy.

Bach appears to have revived the work a few years after its original performance, this time in honour of Duke Ernst-August, the co-ruler of Saxe-Weimar, who was also a hunter. Bach often re-used music written for "one-off" occasions, but this cantata is unusual for the extent to which he recycled it. While he was living in Leipzig he arranged music from two arias for the church cantata Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt, BWV 68, composed in 1725. Also Bach appears to have re-arranged the music in 1740 for cantata BWV 208a. The score for this piece is now lost, but the text is an adaptation of the original cantata to honour the name day of Augustus III, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland.

here has been speculation that the cantata opened with a sinfonia (BWV 1046a), which has similar scoring to the cantata and is an early version of Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F major (BWV 1046). The sinfonia seems to be intended for more able horn players than required for the cantata, and may have been composed later, but it appears in some recorded versions of the cantata, for example those of Goodman and Suzuki.

Although originally scored for Horns, recorders, oboes, taille, bassoon, violins, viola, cello, violone, and continuo, I created this arrangement for String Quartet (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).

"Sheep May Safely Graze" Ensemble for Organ & Choir

4 parts12 pages04:237 years ago3,633 views
"Schafe können sicher weiden" (or "Sheep may safely graze") is taken from Aria 5 (the most familiar part of the cantata) of Johann Sebastian Bach's BWV 208: Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd (The lively hunt is all my heart's desire), also known as the Hunting Cantata. It is a secular cantata composed in 1713 by Bach for the 31st birthday of Duke Christian of Saxe-Weissenfels. This arrangement adds a 3-4 part english language choir. Best played using the "GeneralUser GS.sf2" Soundfont by S. Christian Collins Software.

"Trotto" for Flute & Strings

4 parts3 pages01:345 years ago3,572 views
Flute, Violin, Viola, Cello
Very little evidence survives about medieval dance except what can be gleaned from paintings and works of literature from this time period. Some names of the dances which we know existed during the Middle Ages.

Usually attached to the spirited skipping dance known as a "saltarello," the trotto is a Medieval dance that existed in many European countries. A particularly lively and fascinating trotto, often performed by instrumental groups dedicated to authentic historical reconstruction, comes from fourteenth-century manuscripts.

The tune is joyfully infused with the triple meter swing of the type of music that depicts horse riding and the fox hunt ("trotto" is Italian for the verb "to trot"). The melody is in a pure Aeolian (minor) mode, usually played here on the tonic of C.

The dancers must have had a wonderful time keeping up with all the asymmetrical rhythmical surprises and turn-arounds producing a feeling of floating "over the beat."

Although originally written for period instruments & percussion I created this arrangement for Flute and Strings (Violin, Viola & Cello).

Violin Concerto in E Major (RV 263 Op. 9 No. 4) for String Quartet

4 parts22 pages10:104 years ago3,509 views
Violin, Strings(3)
Although Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) had already accomplished himself as a composer of violin sonatas and of sacred music, nothing propelled his career more than his first set of concertos -- L'estro armonico (Op.3) -- which first appeared in 1711. Besides being widely popular with both musicians and audiences of the day, L'estro armonico had a significant impact on the development of the relatively new solo-concerto. The set's influence was felt all across Europe -- no less a figure than J.S. Bach transcribed six of the Op.3 concertos for keyboard.


La cetra, Op. 9, is a set of twelve violin concertos by Antonio Vivaldi, published in 1727. All of them are for violin solo, strings, and basso continuo, except No. 9 in B flat, which features two solo violins. The set was named after the cetra, a lyre-like instrument, and was dedicated to Emperor Charles VI. La Cetra may not be as well known or as frequently recorded as either Vivaldi's Op. 8 (including the Four Seasons) or Op. 3, L'Estro Armonico, but it is well worth having in your collection. These twelve concertos offer a great deal of rewarding music: beautiful serenades, haunting largos, and even an occasional melody borrowed from the Seasons, fitted out with a striking new accompaniment. In La Cetra, Vivaldi frequently achieves a new level of expressiveness combined with virtuosity which helped pave the way for devilish exploits of Paganini. With a performance as frankly romantic as I Musici's, it's easy to make the connection between these two Italian giants.

I created this transcription of the Violin Concerto in E Major (RV 263 Op. 9 No. 4) for String Quartet (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).