Home | Concert Band | Orchestra | Choir | Small Ensembles | About | Blog
Autumn Scenes from Morgan County, WV
Each movement of this piece is a musical representation of a different autumn day in my home county in West Virginia. I used a combination of musical ideas that represent specific things, as well as more abstract music to capture the feel of each of these days. Because this is a piece for chamber orchestra, each of the wind parts is written for one player only. The string section should be large enough to achieve a good balance, but not so large as to overpower the winds. The specific numbers will vary from one ensemble to the next. Although this piece was not originally written with percussion, and it is not included in the score, the percussion part from the concert band arrangement of this piece is compatible with the orchestral version, and may be used if so desired.
1. Equinox is the most abstract and impressionistic movement, representing the melancholy of summer's end and the shortening of daylight. Don't be tempted to rush. It is important that every change in timbre and harmony be allowed to 'settle in'. Each wind part should have a soloistic feel, especially passages that are not doubled. Dissonance must be brought out, especially the basses' last measure.
2. The Apple Butter Festival takes place every year in Berkeley Springs at the beginning of October. It's essentially the same as countless other small town fall festivals. The Barn Dance section represents the hustle and bustle around town, and the kind of music that might be heard from various street musicians and outdoor concerts. Of course no fall festival would be complete without a parade, and the March section represents a school marching band in such a parade.
3. Halloween consists of a simple melody (in dorian) which is 'dressed up' in various costumes, just like the children walking up and down the street trick-or-treating. The beat remains constant throughout, but attention must be paid to whether the quarter note or dotted quarter note gets the beat. Measures 72-79 may be found especially ambiguous in this respect.
4. The first five measures of Thanksgiving should be stylistically similar to Equinox. Then the theme is introduced. The Slow Organ Chorale represents the family singing a simple hymn together. The piece ends with the commotion of friends and family sitting around the table, talking, laughing, and enjoying each others' company.
Copyright 2012 Peter Hopkins