Allegro con brio (from Dvorak's Symphony No. 8/arr. Hartman)
Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904) wrote nine symphonies over thirty years. His Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88, B. 163 was written in 1889. The first movement, "Allegro con brio", opens with a theme in G minor, which is quickly interrupted by the flute and various rhythmic motifs played by other instruments. The modality of this movement shifts several times between minor and major, before an energetic coda end this movement. The original orchestration is 2 flutes (2nd flute also plays the piccolo part), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in A, 2 bassoons, 4 horns in F, 2 trumpets in F, 2 tenor trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, 2 violins, viola, cello, and double bass. This arrangement uses piccolo, flute, oboe, bassoon, 3 clarinets in Bb, bass clarinet, 2 alto saxophones, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, 3 trumpets in Bb, 4 horns in F, 3 trombones, euphonium, tuba, timpani, bells, and marimba.
Ascending to the Skies Above! was originally written as a finale for the Patchogue-Medford School District's Summer Music Program. Traditionally, the middle school band and orchestra would combine for the last selection of their summer concert. In years past, parts would be modified and adapted for the combined instrumentation.
After having several of my works premiered and performed by various ensembles in the Patchogue-Medford School District, the Director of Art, Music, and Cultural Arts, Mr. Mark Stuckey, approached me with the idea of creating a new work specifically written for full concert band and string orchestra. While the concept and vision of this work were clear and exciting, the reality of rehearsal time and instrumentation made some of the intricate details slightly more complex.
Ascending to the Skies Above! is meant to take the listener on a journey as they soar through the clouds and into the stars. This exhilarating work for young musicians will certainly entertain both performers and audience members alike!
Ascension and Arrival is the third and final movement of a larger multi-movement work entitled, "Meditation." This movement starts out with an original chorale and launches forward into a whirlwind of themes and ideas. These propelling motifs and transitions create an exciting experience towards complete happiness. Towards the conclusion of this incredible journey, a theme from the first movement, Inspiration, is quoted before finally ending the meditation experience.
Be Thou My Vision is a traditional Irish hymn dating back from the 6th century. Its beautiful melody has been transcribed and arranged for many different settings over the years. This particular arrangement can be used to reinforce the concepts of balance blending and phrasing. The dynamic shapes used in this piece provide an ebb and flow while the many suspensions create tension and release. The "maestoso" section should be half the original tempo creating a bold and dramatic statement. I hope you and your ensemble enjoy rehearsing and performing this arrangement.
Destiny Awaits is a thrilling piece for elementary bands. With many opportunities for tension and release, your ensemble will sound mature beyond their years. Opening with a majestic section, the suspense builds as the piece catapults forward into an energetic groove. There are two percussion parts written to provide a challenge for more advanced students. This piece provides an opportunity to showcase each section of the band. All parts will have the melody at some point in the piece!
Each Day Anew was written while I was in the process of leaving one band position for another in a different school district. As excited as I was to begin teaching at the high school level, I knew that leaving my current position would not be easy. I formed great relationships with the students, parents, and colleagues in a very short time and truly considered them all to be a second family to me.
While my family was extremely excited for me, I was very torn about the whole thing. I became afraid of my own future. Was I going to be good enough for this new position? While feeling this whirlwind of emotions, I sat down at the piano and starting writing this piece. I wanted to tell a story about being fearful of change, and as reluctant as we all may be to change, that having faith in yourself and trusting your heart, great things will happen if you let them. We all experience this feeling at some point in our lives. I hope that you can hear your situation in this music and find peace with it.
"Never forget where you've been.
Never lose sight of where you're going.
And never take for granted the people who traveled the journey with you." ~Susan Gale
Eagle’s First Flight is a composition dedicated to the memory of two people very close to my heart.
Joseph R. Sugar was known as one of the most influential advocates for music education. Almost every Monday afternoon, I would sit in the student lounge inside the Fine Arts Center at C.W. Post with him and listen to his stories, his advice, and the legend he created. I became his undergraduate assistant, trying to absorb as much of his wisdom as possible. On Sunday, November 1, 2009 I received a phone call from a colleague sharing the sad news that Professor Sugar had passed. He was like a grandfather to all of us at Post, and a very special mentor to me.
Fred E. Hartman was my grandfather. He was a man of few words and a huge heart. If there were some carpentry task that was unsolvable, he would be the one to figure out a solution. He was always there to let me ride his tractor or go for a walk to the post office and he always wanted the best for his family. On December 15, 2009 he lost his long battle with cancer.
When we think of people passing away, the image of angels ascending into to heaven often comes to mind. Both Professor Sugar and my grandfather were fighters- both in the armed forces and in life. I see them more as eagles on their maiden voyage towards the distant sun. This piece uses their first and last names to create the opening motif, followed by a chorale that builds momentum as they fly away. It concludes with each section expressing “rest in peace” before their motifs are played one last time.
Freedom was commissioned by the Smithtown Community Band (Smithtown, N.Y.) for their 2018 Summer Concert Series. The director, Mr.William T. Link, wanted something that could be considered "film music" to fit with their season-long theme. As I was writing this, I thought about our troops and tried to imagine their emotions as they finally travel home to their families. The title Freedom can suggest many possible scenarios- the end of a term of duty, the end of wearing combat gear, the end of living half of a world away from family- even the end of a war itself. That is for the listener to decide.
On a techical level, the piece is meant to be played in one, with a gentle flow. The accompaniment rhythms in the introduction and first theme should be a subtle undulation, propelling the rhythmic energy forward. The middle section should be played with warmth, while the recapitulation should give hint to a positive outcome in the end. In the last five measures, conduct the rhythms more than the downbeats; use the Lento section to truly pull back the energy and end the piece with a true resolution.
High Spirits March was originally written for an intermediate band in a summer music program. This march can be used to teach first and second endings accidentals form and key changes. With many parts doubled this piece can easily be performed with limited instrumentation.
Inspiration is the first movement of three-movement work entitled "Meditation". In this movement, the music depicts the processof breaking away from the constant stress, anxiety, and negative energy that surrounds us.
Reflection is the second movement of a three-movement work entitled "Meditation". In this movement, the motif is represented by a playful waltz; symbolizing the conscious physical relaxation needed to meditate.
The Shark Shuffle was written for my 4th Grade Band at the time. The title is based on their school district's team name, the Sharks. This beginner band piece only uses the first five notes of the concert Bb major scale. It also only uses whole notes half notes and quarter notes for rhythms. This piece can be played with a variety of instruments allowing ensembles with limited instrumentation to enjoy it as well!
A Smithtown Celebration was commissioned by the Smithtown Community Band (Smithtown, NY) in celebration of the town's 350th anniversary. This piece opens with a heroic fanfare, which then transitions into an exciting ride through the town. There is a percussion part written for anvil or brake drum to symbolize the famous bull that, according to legend, the founder Richard Smythe rode to enforce the borders. In the middle section of this work, a solo flute and English horn (cued in the alto saxophone) help to recreate the splendor of the many parks and preserves in the area. The final section includes an exciting recapitulation where the themes from the first section are layered.
A Symphonic Etude No 1: "An October Stroll" was written as a wedding gift for my wife, Cheryl. On October 8, 2011, we went to an arboretum on Long Island during Cheryl's favorite season. While we were walking around the grounds, a butterfly kept following us- a theme depicted in the upper woodwinds. After strolling through most the park, I led her to our favorite spot; a small island, only accessible by pedestrian bridge.
With my heart racing a mile a minute, I got down on one knee and proposed to her. It was as if fireworks were shooting off! As we walked back to the car, that same butterfly joined us once more.
When writing this piece, I wanted to capture as many of my emotions as possible through music. At first, you can hear the warmth of the sun, followed by a conversation from the brass and woodwind (symbolizing my heart and my mind). As we approach the island, you can feel the anticipation and hear the butterfly. All of a sudden, the entire ensemble plays one measure together (me down on one knee), answered by the growing suspense of several percussion instruments rolling. When she "says yes", the upper woodwinds flourish in a whirlwind. Wedding bells can be heard in the distance from the chimes, as the clarinets take over the "butterfly" theme. Finally, the brass enter with a majestic fanfare version of the original theme.
This piece was premiered by the Smithtown Community Band on July 7, 2014. I had the privilege of conducting the first public performance with Cheryl playing co-principal flute.
Who's at the Door was commissioned by the Smithtown Community Band (Smithtown, N.Y.) for their 2018 Summer Concert Series. The director, Mr.William T. Link, had asked me to do something I have never attempted before in composition - film scoring. His idea was to supply me with a short video (made by himself) and then I was asked to create several "moods" that could possibly go with the clip. Each one is very unique and completely changes the emotion of the viewer/listener.
We start out with the first movement, "Hope." This serene sounding movement builds with anticipation as the clip comes to an end. A pastorale-like chorale, measures 1 - 7 should be played very legato. At measure 8, the rhythmic energy picks up; this should be played lightly as indicated.
Movement II: "Zainy" is a fun circus-like movement that utilizes the glissando effect on the trombone and timpani. An energitic and exciting movement, this mood can be a technical challenge. Strive for clear and accurate articulations throughout this movement.
Movement III: "Fear" is an eerie sounding motif. The stranger at the door takes on a whole new role in this movement. Accented notes should be emphasized, but not shortened in length.
Movement IV: "Tranquility" is light-hearted and playful melody which frolics about during the scene. Be careful not to have too much weight on the downbeats, as that will slow the tempo down!
In the end, we never truly establish WHO is at the door... Mr. Link and I wanted to leave that up to the audience.