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Music Success

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Roger has achieved music success by having his 15 Insect Songs accepted for publication by Spartan Press. The songs are based on a children’s story Roger wrote several years ago called The Quest for the Golden Orchid. The story features a bee called Hermia – and a variety of other insect characters- and their adventures in escaping dangers caused by pesticides.
music success

About the songs

The music is fun and imaginative in illustrating the different characteristics of the various insects. The number of solo voices or choruses vary per song and there is a violin and piano accompaniment.

” These songs are ideal for use in schools, ” said Roger. ” Each song works on its own with or without the book – or all the songs and the book can be combined to create a children’s musical.”
 music success

Find out more

 If you’d like to be kept in touch with up to date information about publication of the book and the songs please email Roger direct at roger.stimson@googlemail.com
And to find out how we can custom write and dedicate a piece of music for you, click below
Gifts and Dedications 

 

Dance of the Blessed Spirits String Duet

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Dance of the Blessed Spirits string duet is the newest addition to our online shop. The first and third sections  of this famous piece are calm and pastoral and there’s a contrasting minor middle section. The music comes from Gluck’s opera Orpheus and Eurydice and the story  is based on the Greek myth of Orpheus’s journey to Hades in search of Eurydice and his bargain with the gods to allow her to return to life.

Dance of the blessed spirits

Our arrangement

In our arrangement both instruments share the tune. We have also added some optional ornamentation  in repeats for variety. This music would be good for a wedding reception or as guests arrive.You can find out more here: Dance of the Blessed Spirits

Purcell Violin and Cello Duets

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We have just added two Purcell violin and cello duets to our online shop: Fairest Isle and Rondeau. Although these pieces both come from  operas they could not be more different in mood.

About the operas

The song Fairest Isle is from King Arthur and comes immediately after drunken dancing by peasants. The sudden change of character is a delightful surprise and the words praise the goddess Venus and her birthplace – Cyprus – with warmth and affection.
Fairest Isle
Rondeau is played near the start of the opera Abdelazer. The story here is based on  a tragic revenge play and the dark character is apparent immediately in the music. Benjamin Britten’s superb Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra uses this tune as the main theme and many people – myself included – will have first come across it there

About Purcell

What a wonderful composer Purcell was! The more experienced I get the more I am aware of the extreme beauty of his music and its sense of congruence with the world.

Our duet arrangements

We have aimed to reflect the different characters of the music on our arrangements, which we will be recording in March, and you can buy the music here:
https://www.fedorastrings.com/product-category/baroque/

 

Scarborough Fair Sheet Music

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I very much enjoyed composing the Scarborough Fair sheet music arrangement that we have just added to our online shop.
I started with a strong idea of what I felt the song was about – a  combination of Wuthering Heights and Jamaica Inn. To create a sense of drama, wildness and travel, there are fluid quavers –  giving movement and the feeling of a journey. There is also a contrasting middle section in the major, some rich cello chords and an ending that feels quite bleak.
scarborough fair

Arranging Scarborough Fair Sheet Music

Folk songs are ideal for music arrangements. The tune is  usually simple and short ( and often beautiful) and there is no original version, so you have lots of interpretative freedom and can compose contrasting tunes or introductions to add substance and avoid too many repeats.

Unsurprisingly there are many different versions of Scarborough Fair on You Tube. Revamped’s ideas (below) combine acting and music especially inventively:
https://youtu.be/KplxA4o-bGA

This is nothing like our arrangement, which we will be recording in March. To buy a copy right away and see for yourself what it’s like, click below!

https://www.fedorastrings.com/product/scarborough-fair/

Christmas Gifts for String Music Lovers

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With December 25th  only five days away here are my suggestions for Christmas gifts for string music lovers:
gifts 2

christmas gifts for string music lovers

Finally, if you’re searching for a present for a string player sometime next year we now have a gifts and dedications’ page where we custom write music. Find out more here:
https://www.fedorastrings.com/gifts-dedications/

Christmas Carols for String Duet

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 Christmas Carols for String Duet

Yes, it’s December and the latest addition to our online shop is a Christmas carol for string duet – Variations on a Christmas Carol – and Christmas carols for string duetthere is  both a cello duet and a violin and cello duet version.

It’s not just a carol!
If you have already heard more than enough Christmas carols this year I sympathise and can reassure you that although this new work is based on Ding Dong Merrily on High that is just the starting point, and the music has three very different variations which are not at all carol-like in mood.

Variation Form
Some wonderful music has been written in variation form: Britten’s Variations on a theme of Frank Bridge, Arensky’s Varations on a theme of Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff’s Variations on a theme of Paganini  are the first three that come to my mind. It is surprising how easy it is to totally vary the mood by changing the key, time signature, rhythm or texture. And sometimes you get miraculous melodies that are unforgettable, as below:

 

Intermediate and Advanced Violin and Cello Duet Albums

By | intermediate and advanced violin and cello duets, sheet music sales | No Comments

We are now selling four intermediate and advanced violin and cello duet albums of our best selling music divided into four categories. These are: Six Great Baroque Tunes, Six Great Romantic Tunes, Six Great Folk Songs and Six Great Broadway Songs. Each album contains six works – all complete with individual parts and score.
String duet albums

While it is true that music of different styles has different characteristics  – the different styles also have many things in common.

Why categories?

It seems to be a human need to categorise things. I once read a very funny short story by Garrison Keillor  about a journalist who obsessively wrote articles based on lists.  Our categories though are intended to offer good value. And the chance to explore some wonderful music at a bargain price.

Baroque Sheet Music Albums

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Baroque Sheet Music Albums

We are now selling our most popular selections of violin and cello duets in themed albums at a bargain price. The first is a baroque sheet music  album and contains the scores and individual parts of six great works. All of the music would be ideal to be played at a wedding.

About the arrangements

The music included in this album is: Air on a G String, Pachelbel Canon, our award winning Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, Chiome D’Oro, Charpentier’s Te Deum and Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary. This is an excellent way to get to know some wonderful repertoire from this most exciting of all periods of music.

Opera Arias arranged for Cello Duet

By | intermediate and advanced cello duet sheet music, sheet music sales

The opera arias I have recently arranged for cello duet have been a pleasure to write: SJ Music
My starting point was to look at the number of instruments in a Puccini score – an awe inspiring experience. Did Puccini immediately hear the music like this in his head or add the orchestration later? According to a friend of mine – an expert orchestrator – it was probably the former.
opera arias arranged for cello duet                                            Puccini
Overall objective
My aim with the cello duets was to ensure the tune was always clear and then try to capture the overall mood in the accompanying part, often by using cellistic special effects. In my teens I spent ages listening to recordings of great singers – and I loved the beauty of their phrasing, their rubato and the drama of it all. It’s rare to hear string music as expressively phrased as singing often is, but isn’t it worth aspiring to?

What’s Wrong with Pachelbel Canon?

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Pachelbel Canon must be the easiest orchestral piece in the world for cellists to memorise – with its 28 repetitions of the 8 note bass line.

Pachelbel’s Canon

Despite the numerous cellist jokes about this work (see below) I have always enjoyed playing it. It’s fairly short, the harmonies are beautiful and if you respond to what the other players are doing it becomes more fun.

So what is a canon?…
For me canons, passacaglias and chaconnes are extremely effective musical forms where the repeated harmonies create a tautness and sense of inevitability that can be inspiring. Some of my favourite music in this form is: Purcell’s Chaconne in G minor, Vitali’s Chaconne,  Britten’s Passacaglia from Peter Grimes and Bach’s Chaconne in D minor, played superbly  below by Heifetz:
https://youtu.be/EbX3frq3Qyo

…and why is Pachelbel’s so popular?
…  its major key and has a calm confidence that has probably helped to make it so well liked…