Back in the year 2000 (I think) I was commissioned by a consortium of thirty high school bands to write a ‘grade 3’ piece. Band pieces are graded from 1-6, ‘grade 1’ being for beginning bands (think kids just learning their instruments), ‘grade 6’ being serious, virtuosic playing.
I wanted to write a piece that was beautiful and lush, something I wasn’t hearing a lot of in the world of concert bands. And I wanted it to sound a little bit like Vaughan Williams, and Elgar, and Thomas Newman. I honestly didn’t think it would get played very much after the first consortium performances, but then BOOM – the piece sort of took off and just kept going. It’s still my most popular work for winds.
A few years ago, Hal Leonard approached me and asked if I would be willing to let Paul Lavendar do an arrangement for string orchestra. I was hesitant, but there were a ton of requests from string groups and I just didn’t have the time to do it myself. Paul did a beautiful job with it, although I’d like to one day arrange it for strings myself – and full orchestra as well.
(I’ve even thought of transcribing it for a cappella chorus, if poet Charles Anthony Silvestri and I can come up with the right text…)
I’d actually never really heard the string orchestra arrangement until I stumbled on this YouTube video last night. The performance is way, way to fast, but the basic idea is there. I love the way it sounds, and can’t wait to conduct it.
And here is the original work for winds. (This is me conducting the Tokyo Youth Symphony, live):