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Program Notes

Children’s Gallery is a song suite in five movements, each of which represents a musical portrait of young children experiencing parts of their world. The melody in each movement is simple, containing a folk song, nursery rhyme-like quality. The piece is dedicated to my three children – Megan, Spencer, and Amanda – who provided much of the inspiration and are the joys of my life.

Promenade to the Park reflects the anticipation and exuberance exhibited by children skipping and running after each other (of course with watchful parents nearby) as they make their way toward a play date at the neighborhood park. The movement utilizes a 16-measure theme, introduced by a small group of woodwinds that is augmented in its second half by an energetic interjection (a child’s cry of delight) by euphonium and bassoon. The melody is heard six times, each with varied orchestrations. The sixth version of the melody leads to a coda that signals the arrival of the children at the playground, ready for much fun.

In Capturing the Flag, two teams of children vie to be victorious in securing the other team’s flag and returning with it to their home base. Metallic percussion announces the start of each of the three rounds in the game. Bold fanfare sections alternate with lighthearted passages through a series of variations and several tempo changes that convey the determined nature and the back-and-forth tactics each team employs as the game progresses. At the end of the third round of the game, the excitement builds quickly and one team reigns as victors.

The Princess Dreams of Being a Princess conveys the scenes in which my daughters dressed up as princesses and played the monarch to an imaginary princessdom. Beginning in a quiet reverie with the melody in solo oboe, the movement utilizes the structure of A, A’, B, Coda. The second appearance of the melody is augmented by a counterline that builds to a regal B section – the princess at her most noble. The end of the movement returns to peacefulness – the princess, still in costume, has fallen asleep, exhausted from commanding her realm.

In Pirates of the Playground, children scamper on and off a swing set and jungle gym setup, commandeering an imaginary pirate ship and searching for hidden treasure. Utilizing a “pirate minor” mode (a combination of mostly Dorian and Aeolian), the movement jaunts along in 6/8. Clarinets, alto saxes, and tenor saxes launch into the 16-measure melody at the outset, augmented by a French horn and euphonium battle cry. Similar to the first movement, the melody is heard six times and finishes with buccaneer bravado.

First Bike Ride portrays the nervousness and exhilaration of a child attempting to ride a two-wheel bicycle for the first time with no help from training wheels or a parent. The movement opens with three-bar phrases and much ebb and flow in tempo – the tentativeness of the child on the bike for the first time. The second appearance of the melody brings a steadier tempo with a more involved orchestration lead that elevates to a climax – the child’s confidence grows. The middle of the movement pushes faster – like the child on the bike – with a fugue-like section of mostly seven-measure phrases and several key changes. Using counterpoint of the theme against itself, the final section ushers in a final joyous sequence – the thrill and excitement of the child in overcoming the challenge and ready for new adventures.

Instrumentation

Piccolo
Flute 1 & 2
Oboe 1 & 2
Bassoon 1 & 2
Bb Clarinet 1, 2, 3
Bb Bass Clarinet
Eb Alto Saxophone 1 & 2
Bb Tenor Saxophone
Eb Baritone Saxophone
Bb Trumpet 1, 2, 3
F Horn 1, 2, 3, 4
Trombone 1, 2, 3
Euphonium
Tuba
Piano

6 Percussion:
Timpani

 

Percussion 1:
Bells, Sleigh Bells (on stick), Tambourine (if needed, share w/Perc. 5), Z Bell (Chimes can also be used)

 

Percussion 2:
Snare Drum (share w/Perc. 4, if necessary), Xylophone (share w/Perc. 4), Chimes, Bass Drum, Triangle (use Perc. 5’s, if necessary)

 

Percussion 3:
Tambourine (share w/Perc 5, if necessary), Marimba, Bass Drum, Snare Drum (share w/Perc 3, if necessary), Mark Tree, Egg Shaker (or small Shaker)

 

Percussion 4:
Suspended Cymbal, Vibraphone, Ride Cymbal, Wood Block, Snare Drum (can use Perc 2’s or 3’s), Xylophone (use Perc. 2’s); also need bass bow for vibes

 

Percussion 5:
Temple Blocks, Small Shaker, Small Triangle (share w/Perc 5), 4 Tom toms, Suspended Cymbal, Crash Cymbals, Tambourine (can use Perc 1’s or 3’s)

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