String Orchestra Compositions
This piece cranks right from the start! Even your youngest players will sound full and strong on this well-written piece from composer Larry Clark. The work is set in E minor (but without any C naturals on the A string) with simple rhythms no more difficult than two repeated eighth notes. You will hear some biting dissonances and angular interjections to the flowing main theme. It is dramatic music for very beginning string students. They will want to play it again and again.
Aspirations is written for the youngest and least experienced of musicians, who have only had a short time on their instruments. This piece uses minimal material, including no more than two repeated eighth notes as the most difficult rhythm. It contains bold fanfare gestures, marcato melodic material, and a contrasting legato theme. Every section of the ensemble is featured in this surprisingly sophisticated, yet very attainable piece.
Chronicles is a bold fanfare piece from popular composer Larry Clark. Its majestic, strong style will make even the youngest of string players sound great. Simple three-part writing and contemporary harmonies make this piece a winner, and every section of the orchestra gets a chance to play some of the important melodic material.
A fanfare-like piece that makes even the youngest of players sound far more advanced than they are. The technical demands are very limited, but the music is bold and exciting for the players and audience alike. Another winner from Larry Clark!
Written for beginning string students, Larry Clark's Contemplation contains basic compositional techniques that students will be able to identify and learn from. It begins with a rich, melodic opening which highlights students' musicianship. This is then contrasted by the frolicking, uptempo section, which is a variation on the original musical material.
A strong, bold piece built on fanfare gestures, this piece for very beginning strings uses techniques within the grasp of students with as little as ten weeks of study on an instrument.
Subatomic is written for the youngest of string students. It uses only the first 6 notes of the D scale, with no more difficult rhythm than two repeated eighth notes. Plus, there are no long sustained notes, which can often be challenging for young players. What is amazing is how exciting this piece is, despite limited technical resources! Composer Larry Clark continues to find new and creative ways to stimulate beginning students, providing them an opportunity for early musical success. This is a winner!
A bold fanfare composition for the youngest of students. Larry Clark has a knack for writing music that sounds more sophisticated than it is technically to play. There are no faster rhythms than quarter notes in Supernova, but it will make your beginners sound great!
As the title implies, the piece uses a lot of echo effects throughout. Based on the interval of a descending perfect fifth, Angel Echoes begins with a lush statement of the subtle "angel" theme, which is used throughout the piece and ultimately as the climactic material later in the work. Larry Clark uses the elements that have made his music so popular in this remarkable new work for developing ensembles.
Orchestras who had the great experience of playing Larry Clark’s popular Shockwave can now move on to part two: Aftershock. While a bit more difficult than its predecessor, it maintains the bold, exciting, and aggressive qualities that made Shockwave such a sparkler.
Expressive playing, some simple counterpoint, and a touch of pizzicato characterize this contemporary sounding but accessible piece in two contrasting sections, slow and lively.
In every great story there is always an antagonist, the character of opposing force who is central to the success of the story. Larry Clark has applied this concept to music in a new string orchestra piece, fascinating in sound and an excellent cross-curricular tie with English classes, musically illustrating the structure of a good story. This piece is aggressive and at times, purposely antagonizing. Designed with the youngest of players in mind, it works on simple repeated eighth note patterns as the foundation for the melodic material. As is typical in a Larry Clark piece, interesting parts are provided for all instruments, and everyone gets to play the melody.
A slice of Americana for young players, this new piece by Larry Clark features a pizzicato component as well as a spotlight on the cello section. This lush and reserved composition has all of the aspects that you have come to love in his works.
This transcription of a best-selling band work comes across very well for strings! The bold parallel harmonies, effective counterpoint and dramatic grand pauses, all come together as powerful string music. It's ideal for making a big impression at the easy level, or to pull together quickly for an encore
From the pen of Larry Clark, noted educational composer, comes this delightful work for young players. The piece features a stately feel typical of the Old West with smart tempo variations and a strong lyrical melody all based on D major patterns.
This piece features bold contemporary harmonies with simple rhythms and a light and uplifting feel that is sure to keep the interest of your students. All of the melodic and harmonic structures are based on the first 6 notes from the D Major scale giving the beginning student a manageable tonal and technical framework. Sure to be a hit at concerts or festivals!
This engaging original work is very effective, and has the flavor of another era while remaining contemporary. Bright tonalities give it a real country dance appeal, and underlying rhythms add pulse. An exceptional work!
Here’s another classic Larry Clark work for string orchestra, containing all of the musical traits that have made his music so popular, such as strong melodic content and a fresh harmonic perspective. This would be a strong choice for festival performance to make a developing string group sound its best.
Titled by the students of J. T. Lambert Middle School in East Stroudsburg, PA, which commissioned the original version for band, this brilliant, heavily accented piece emphasizes rhythmic alertness and attention to dynamic contrasts. Bold fanfare writing alternates with lyrical writing of considerable warmth and the spiccato style of playing is introduced.
Epic is an intense composition for the developing string orchestra that is sweeping and catchy--all of the thumbprints that have made Larry Clark's music so popular for young groups. Epic has a contagious melody that the students will want to play again and again.
In Greek, the word ethos is used to describe the character and guiding beliefs or ideals that distinguish a community, nation or idea. The Greeks also used this word to refer to the power of music to influence the listener's emotions, behaviors, and morals--a strong statement for the power of music. Larry Clark's dynamic new composition in a distinctive American style will have a positive effect on your students' musical ethos.
Expectations is dedicated to Larry Clark's young son. It was written with thoughts of his playful nature, which can be heard throughout the piece, while the lush, emotional opening depicts the composer's awe at being a parent to a wonderful little boy. This touching piece will stretch the musicianship of young string students, but it will be worth the journey.
Written to sound like background music for a fairytale cartoon, Larry Clark delivers again with a tuneful musical narrative that students will love. Fable has an energetic and upbeat main theme, followed by a beautiful and cinematic slower theme. This would be a perfect piece with which to showcase your orchestra at a contest or festival performance.
Fascination is a tuneful work that gives every section in the orchestra an important part to play. This piece will be good for teaching spiccato bowing techniques with your students. Typical of composer Larry Clark, Fascination is well-scored with moments of lush harmonies. Students will want to play this one again and again!
This uplifting piece inspires young players to reach new levels in their playing. Strong melodic intervals of fourths and fifths contrast against lyrical lines, and cellos and basses have an important melodic role. This music sounds rich and full without ever getting difficult. This is a perfect showpiece for developing groups for concerts or festivals.
This outstanding original from Larry Clark can be played any time of year! A vigorous theme moves through all the sections and violas combine with second violins for prominent solo passages. A section in minor adds to the drama as strong rhythmic chords give way to a subdued tremolo in the first violins, reminiscent of Vivaldi's "Winter" This music reaches a level of intensity your players and audience will love.
Phantom Echo is a delightful piece that uses sempre pizzicato and several echo effects to highlight the beginning string group. There are plenty of opportunities for all sections of the ensemble to be featured in this refreshing piece from popular composer Larry Clark.
Larry Clark likes to base some of his pieces for student musicians on strong values, like the pursuit of knowledge! This piece's strong, uplifting theme evokes this quest for learning.
This piece should depict images of kings and castles, knight and horses, dragons and damsels in distress. Itáis a bold and aggressive piece throughout, but a contrasting lush secondary theme for variety. Typical of why Larry's music is so popular are his signature forceful figures, and strong melodic content that will stimulate students to practice it over and over again.
A Bobber is an old Scotts term for a dance. This original piece by ever popular composer Larry Clark hs all of the characteristics found in Scottish music. A lighthearted melody that is presented over accompaniment figures intended to emulate the sound of bagpipes. Another winner from Larry!
Larry Clark delivers yet again with an energetic and aggressive piece that your students will want to play over and over. The sound is bold, brash and confident, which is exactly how your groups will feel when they perform this piece.
What a bright and uplifting piece for groups at this level! Representing the human spirit, freedom and striving for excellence, "The Torch Burns Bright" is written with a modern harmonic structure that really sounds up-to-date. The parts should be easy enough to master, allowing you ample time to work on interpretation and musicality. A real winner!
Grade 2 to 2.5
A capriccio is a freely composed instrumental piece. It probably will remind you of the word capricious, which means “given to sudden and unaccountable changes of mood or behavior.” The piece is tuneful and light, but with a nice shift to the relative minor before returning to the light-hearted theme for a dramatic conclusion.
This is exhilarating! This sparkling work is sure to help your students gain a light, controlled bouncing bow. From there, the music takes over with dynamic contrasts, varying textures and marvelous melodic lines!
Dance of the Harlequins is a lively work that uses the harmonic progression of the famous Pachelbel Canon as its foundation. Larry Clark uses this line as a jumping-off point to create an ingenuous work that shows the many moods of the Harlequin clown, from joyous to melodramatic.
Dream Engine has all of the compositional thumb prints that have made the music of Larry Clark so popular for string orchestras. It is a concert overture in classic ABA form. The opening section has a tuneful melody over spiccato accompaniments that weaves throughout the ensemble. The middle B section is slow, lyrical, lush, and beautiful as a contrast to the lighter A section. Another piece from Larry Clark to showcase your ensemble at contest/festival.
With this piece, have fun and teach your students to play in a truly American style. All of the spirit and flavor of the mountain music style are present in this delightful original from composer Larry Clark. It even includes an open section where you can highlight your best players, by way of improvised solos or the provided written solo.
Your audience will still be humming this memorable and uplifting tune on their way home! It's the essence of a glider floating freely on the wind. With its soaring melodic lines, strong rhythmic pulse, and easy playability, this tune is sure to become a favorite with your young orchestra players.
This is an original piece by Larry Clark in a classical style, evoking the majestic stateliness of kings and queens. Gallant has all of the trademark Larry Clark touches: singable melodies, rhythmic verve, playability, and musical interest for all of the instruments in the orchestra. A welcome addition to the school string orchestra repertoire.
Larry Clark returns to the popular style and sound of an earlier favorite, Crystal Moon, and gives us Harvest Moon, written for an easier level. This piece has the trademarks that Larry has has become known for: great melodies, fresh harmonies, interesting rhythms and an abundance of musical flavor. The delightful spiccato style of writing will help you to teach this important bowing technique to your students. Another exceptional work from Larry Clark!
A heartfelt piece that is dedicated to the memory of a lost student, the music is both emotional and beautiful. It is meant to depict the life of the person lost, not the sadness. In typical Larry Clark fashion, the piece has memorable melodies, interesting lush harmonies and is well-scored. This will be a great vehicle to improve the musicianship of your students.
Kinetic energy is the energy of constant motion. This Larry Clark composition displays the vitality and drive typical of his style. It has a memorable principal melody in the Lydian mode and a hauntingly beautiful middle section that will not soon be forgotten. The contrasts in style and texture, within the framework of nearly continuous eighth note motion, will serve to keep young players on their toes.
The title, Live On, by Larry Clark, is taken from Chrissie Pinney's poem about grief and loss. The piece is meant to depict the personality of Linda Mann, to whom it is dedicated. The opening is poignant and pensive, followed by a whimsical theme which alludes to happy thoughts of a life well-lived. The piece builds to a triumphant conclusion based on an augmented version of the theme.
Think of a magnificent entrance to a city or castle, such as the fictitious Camelot. This is the impression composer Larry Clark is trying to convey with this strong, new piece for strings. Based upon intervals of fifths and fourths, the main melodic material is confident yet joyful, contrasted with a lush B section and a robust C section in a minor key. It is sophisticated music for young groups, but still something they will love to play. This piece is good example of why Larry's music is so popular year after year.
This is the one the audience will be talking about after the concert! This piece is built upon a few simple but very effective musical ideas, then infused with an energy and excitement that sets it apart. As the title Quintus suggests, you'll hear that open-fifth harmony that is so powerful, but there's more to it than that. There's a modal aspect, a light spiccato accompaniment, and a lyrical middle section. This may be the highlight of your concert or festival!
A stunning and heart-wrenching composition based on the Jewish folk song Shlof, Mayn Kind. You can hear the emotional content pour out of this piece written in memory of an outstanding orchestra director. The piece beginnings with original material to set the tone, followed by a violin solo on the song. It them develops through a variety of different harmonic presentation before building to a nice key change and climatic moment. The piece ends as it began, but with a more hopeful tone. An amazing piece.
Larry Clark does it again with this tuneful new "feel good" piece. You and your students will walk away humming this tune. There is even a nice contrasting lyrical middle section in the relative minor to break up the piece.
Swan Dancing draws inspiration from the multitude of swans inhabiting the lake near the offices of Excelcia Music Publishing. Composer Larry Clark draws on these iconic birds to write a delightful, uplifting piece for string orchestra. With a nice lyrical B theme that shows off the musicianship of your orchestra, students and audiences alike will walk away humming this memorable melody. Swan Dancing is a joyful selection for any orchestral concert.
Your young string players will have lots of fun playing Swords of Evolution while working on their intonation and rhythm. With the use of gentle dissonance, tempo changes and solo opportunities, Clark has created a challenging work that will surely become a contest/festival favorite.
Here's a real showpiece for your advancing string groups. This fast-paced original melody has a dorian flavor melody with hints of quartal harmony to give it a contemporary sound. A slow inner section gives solo opportunities to principal violinist and cellist. The return of the brisk 6/8 opening material leads to a thrilling finish!
Full Orchestra Compositions
An aggressive, stern piece that has vigorous percussion writing, Clash and Roar has been designed to work as a piece for full orchestra or string orchestra. With its rhythmic vitality and colorful harmonic language, it makes a great introduction to contemporary orchestral style and will be a great selection for showing what the ensemble can do at contest time.
This is a broad, powerful and contemporary work for orchestra! Playable by either full or string groups, "Declaration And Dance" is technically not hard at all, and incredibly full of energy. It has an open harmonic structure that sounds remarkably American and sophisticated, and will be a rewarding piece for your developing players.
This vibrant new original from Larry Clark will be a great addition to your performance! The opening fanfare in 3/4 time naturally transforms into a dance-like theme with a Celtic lilt. There's a brief slow passage in the strings which, instead of lessening the energy, builds suspense. It is finally resolved by the triumphant return of the opening fanfare leading to the resounding finish!
You will want to program this thrilling music often! As the title implies, there is dramatic tension between opposing forces in the orchestra: a light ostinato pattern opposes a heavy, aggressive melody; bursts of percussion ring out against quieter moments in the orchestra, and all these conflicting elements come together for an incredible finish! Can be performed as strings and percussion, or as a full orchestra. A contest winner!
This piece was the winner of the 2016 Texas Orchestra Directors Association Full Orchestra Composition Competition. The piece is built completely on the four notes that are first heard in the trumpets and is continually used as the basis for all of the musical language in the work. This piece explores fanfares, relative minor keys, Celtic grooves, the Dorian Mode, counterpoint, and much more all based on the four-note motif. The piece ends triumphantly with a fanfare-like return of the B theme that leads to a majestic return of the main theme and a short dramatic coda. An interesting piece for your concert full orchestra.