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Orchestra Works


How to purchase/rent pieces published by Presser:
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  • Becoming Medusa (2007) 13’10” • full orchestra
    INSTRUMENTATION
    3333 4331 harp, piano, timpani, 3 perc, strings

    Becoming Medusa is the first movement of the Mythology Symphony, and can be programmed as a stand-alone piece.


    AUDIO

    Chicago College of the Performing Arts Orchestra; Alondra de la Parra, conductor
    Mythology Symphony • Cedille Records CDR 90000 160 • Purchase recording

    COMMISSIONER
    Detroit Symphony Orchestra

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    This is a rental item. Go to http://www.presser.com/shop/mythology-symphony.html or email rental@presser.com

    ONLINE PERUSAL SCORE
    https://issuu.com/theodorepresser/docs/garrop_becoming_medusa_issuu

    PROGRAM NOTES

    Most of us are familiar with the legend of Medusa as a hideous Gorgon with scales for skin, snakes for hair, and a gaze that turns to stone anyone who dares look into her eyes. Our first encounter of Medusa usually finds her on a deserted island with her two sisters just as Perseus arrives to cut off Medusa’s head. But what about Medusa’s origins? With some research, I unearthed several accounts of her original form. Several stories portray Medusa as a strikingly beautiful woman whose features were hideously transformed by the goddess Athena after she made the poor decision to seduce the god Poseidon in Athena’s temple. For its great dramatic appeal, it is this story of Medusa that I chose to set to music.
    Musically, Medusa is represented by a solo violin. When she first appears as a lovely woman (following a dissonant introduction indicating her final state), she is accompanied by harp, and her music is very lyrical. After Medusa is transformed, dissonance surrounds her: strings, woodwinds, and percussion represent the snakes on her head as they twist and turn around each other, while her piercing eyes are depicted by the discordant interval of a minor second. In between, we hear her sultry seduction of Poseidon and Athena’s furious reaction.
    The movement’s title has a double meaning. It suggests both Medusa’s original loveliness and her transformation. In addition to its common use to indicate a process of change, the word “becoming” also means “attractive.”
    -S.G.
  • Blurrr (2003) 4’30” • full orchestra
    INSTRUMENTATION
    3333 4331 piano, timpani, 3 perc, strings

    COMMISSIONER
    Minnesota Orchestra

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    416-41493 • $23.99 • full score (small) • click to order
    416-41493L • $41.99 • full score (large) •
    click to order
    Parts rental • click to order
    Sheetmusicplus.com
    PR.416414930 • $23.99 • full score (small) • click to order
    PR.41641493L • $41.99 • full score (large) •
    click to order

    ONLINE PERUSAL SCORE
    https://issuu.com/theodorepresser/docs/garrop_blurrr_issuu

    PROGRAM NOTES

    Blurrr was commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra as part of their outreach program to school children. In my piece Blurrr, I explored what I could do with a short, simple melody. After a brief introduction, you will hear a melody played by a solo clarinet. Every time you hear that melody after that, it will sound different from the original melody. For example, sometimes I lengthen the melody by repeating some of its notes or by adding new notes, and sometimes I shorten the melody. I also poked holes in the melody, so instead of hearing notes, you will hear silence. In addition, I occasionally added some harmony to to the melody (which means adding notes above or below the notes of the melody), so instead of hearing one note, you will hear two notes at the same time.

    I also experimented with orchestral color. Color means how I mix instruments together to create different, unique sounds. For example, a melody played by a flute and a clarinet will sound very different from a melody played by an oboe and violin. Be sure to listen to all the different instruments I use to play the melody. In addition, I have added some other interesting sounds, such as lots of trills (which are two alternating notes played very rapidly), downward glissandos in the strings, and even a police siren.
    -S.G.
  • Fates of Man, The (2009) 8’10” • full orchestra
    INSTRUMENTATION
    3333 4331 harp, piano, timpani, 3 perc, strings

    The Fates of Man is the fourth movement of the Mythology Symphony, and can be programmed as a stand-alone piece.


    AUDIO
    Chicago College of the Performing Arts Orchestra; Alondra de la Parra, conductor
    Mythology Symphony • Cedille Records CDR 90000 160 • Purchase recording

    COMMISSIONER
    Albany Symphony


    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    This is a rental item. Go to http://www.presser.com/shop/mythology-symphony.html or email rental@presser.com

    ONLINE PERUSAL SCORE
    https://issuu.com/theodorepresser/docs/garrop_the_fates_of_man_issuu

    PROGRAM NOTES
    The three Sisters of Fate were minor goddesses who served as personifications of man’s inescapable destiny. Each Sister had a particular task: Klotho spun the thread of life; Lakhesis measured the thread; and Atropos cut the thread. While a man’s actions affected various aspects of his life, the length of his mortality was predetermined. The Fates of Man portrays a man who realizes he is nearing the end of his life. He appeals to the three Sisters to give him control over his own destiny, but as they have already measured and cut his thread, they deny his request. The movement ends with the man slowly dying away.
    -S.G.
  • Inner Demons (2007) 11’30” • string orchestra

    AUDIO
    Recorded sound courtesy of the U.S. Marine Band®. Use of the recorded sound does not constitute or imply endorsement by the Department of Defense, U.S. Marine Corps or U.S. Marine Band®. The terms U.S. Marine Band® and “The President’s Own®“ are registered trademarks of the U.S. Marine Corps, used with permission.

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    416-41495 • $28.99 • full score (small) • click to order
    416-41495L • $50.99 • full score (large) •
    click to order
    Parts rental • click to order
    Sheetmusicplus.com
    PR.416414950 • $28.99 • full score (small) • click to order
    PR.41641495L • $50.99 • full score (large) •
    click to order

    ONLINE PERUSAL SCORE
    https://issuu.com/theodorepresser/docs/inner-demons-score

    COMMISSIONER
    Peter Austin and
    Music in the Loft Concert Series

    PROGRAM NOTES

    Inner Demons depicts a man as he loses his mind. This piece contains four themes: a tarantella, a demented waltz, a scherzo, and the Appalachian folk hymn “The Wayfaring Stranger”. The themes are stated quite briskly until arriving at the hymn. This theme consumes the man; it destroys his mind and he melts down. As his mind is slowly rebuilt, his thoughts become increasingly chaotic, until elements of all four themes are heard simultaneously. Inner Demons is an arrangement of the third and second movements (in this order) of my String Quartet No. 2: Demons and Angels.
    -S.G.
  • Krakatoa (2017) 20’ • solo viola, strings, percussion Enter description here.
    INSTRUMENTATION
    Solo viola, strings (suggested size: 12,10,8,6,4), timpani, 3 percussion

    Mvmt. 1: Imminent
    Mvmt 2: Eruption

    Mvmt. 3: Dormant

    VIDEO
    Michael Hall, viola, and the Bandung Philharmonic; Robert Nordling, conductor

    Krakatoa was commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for violist Michael Hall and maestro Robert Nordling, who will premiere the piece with the Bandung Philharmonic in January 2018, as well as perform it with the Baroque on Beaver Music Festival in the summer of 2018. After these premieres, the piece will be available for anyone to program.

    COMMISSIONER
    Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University

    PROGRAM NOTES

    On May 20, 1883, a cloud of ash rose six miles high above Krakatoa, a volcano nestled on an island in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra. For the next two months, the volcano rumbled and spewed occasional dust and debris into the air, giving nearby inhabitants a spectacular show. On August 26th, Krakatoa turned deadly with an enormous blast that spewed pyroclastic flows (a blend of ash, lava, and gases) and pumice (lava that mixes with water and solidifies quickly into rock), and commenced a series of eruptions. On the next day, the volcano produced four enormous eruptions over four and a half hours. These eruptions were so loud (particularly the fourth) that they could be heard 3,000 miles away, and so devastating that two-thirds of the island sank back under the sea. The effects of Krakatoa’s eruptions were staggering: they sent shock waves into the atmosphere that circled the globe at least seven times; they triggered numerous tsunamis, the highest nearly 120 feet tall, which flooded and destroyed 165 coastal villages along with their inhabitants; and they propelled tons of ash roughly fifty miles up into the atmosphere. This ash blotted out the sun in Indonesia for days; it also lowered global temperatures for several years afterwards, and produced a wide range of atmospheric colors and phenomena. At least 36,000 people tragically lost their lives that fateful day. For the next forty-four years, Krakatoa was silent below the sea. This silence ended in 1927, when fishermen spotted steam and debris rising from the island. Within a year, a new volcano began to take shape above sea level. This new volcano is named Anak Krakatau, which translates to “child of Krakatoa,” and periodically experiences small eruptions.

    Krakatoa for solo viola, strings, and percussion follows the path of the volcano’s four main eruptions. In the first movement, Imminent, the violist uneasily plays as the orchestra (representing the volcano) shows ever-increasing signs of awakening. The orchestra bursts forth into the second movement, Eruption, where it proceeds through four eruptions that get progressively more cataclysmic. After the final and most violent eruption, the violist plays a cadenza that eases the volcano into the third movement, Dormant. In this final movement, the volcano slumbers, with a hint of Anak Krakatau forming under the sea. The movement ends peacefully with an array of string harmonics, representing the intense and brilliantly colored sunsets generated by Krakatoa’s ash in the earth’s atmosphere.

    -S.G.
  • Lovely Sirens, The (2010) 5’30” • full orchestra Enter description here.
    INSTRUMENTATION
    3333 4331 harp, piano, timpani, 3 perc, strings

    The Lovely Sirens is the third movement of the Mythology Symphony, and can be programmed as a stand-alone piece.


    AUDIO
    Chicago College of the Performing Arts Orchestra; Alondra de la Parra, conductor
    Mythology Symphony • Cedille Records CDR 90000 160 • Purchase recording

    COMMISSIONER
    Albany Symphony

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    This is a rental item. Go to http://www.presser.com/shop/mythology-symphony.html or email rental@presser.com

    ONLINE PERUSAL SCORE
    https://issuu.com/theodorepresser/docs/garrop_the_lovely_sirens_issuu

    PROGRAM NOTES
    The Sirens were sea nymphs, usually pictured as part woman and part bird, who lived on a secluded island surrounded by rocks. Their enchanting song was irresistible to passing sailors, who were lured to their deaths as their ships were destroyed upon the rocks. The Lovely Sirens presents three ideas: the Sirens’ beautiful song, an unfortunate group of sailors whose course takes them near the island, and the disaster that befalls the sailors. The sailors’ peril is represented by the Morse code S.O.S. signal (three dots, three dashes, and three dots—represented musically by short and long rhythms). The S.O.S. signal grows increasingly more insistent and distressed as it becomes obvious that the sailors, smitten with the voices of the Sirens, are headed for their demise.
    -S.G.
  • Mythology Symphony (2007-2013) 40’ • full orchestra Enter description here.
    INSTRUMENTATION
    3333 4331 harp, piano, timpani, 3 perc, strings

    Movement 1:
    Becoming Medusa
    Movement 2:
    Penelope Waits
    Movement 3:
    The Lovely Sirens

    Movement 4:
    The Fates of Man
    Movement 5:
    Pandora Undone


    AUDIO
    Chicago College of the Performing Arts Orchestra; Alondra de la Parra, conductor
    Mythology Symphony • Cedille Records CDR 90000 160 • Purchase recording

    COMMISSIONERS
    Detroit Symphony, Albany Symphony, and the Chicago College of the Performing Arts

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    This is a rental item. Go to http://www.presser.com/shop/mythology-symphony.html or email rental@presser.com

    ONLINE PERUSAL SCORE
    https://issuu.com/theodorepresser/docs/garrop_mythology_symphony_issuu


    PROGRAM NOTES
    The Mythology Symphony was progressively written over several years, starting with a commission in 2007 by the Detroit Symphony for Becoming Medusa. The Albany Symphony followed in 2009 with commissions for The Lovely Sirens and The Fates of Man. The Symphony was completed when the Chicago College of Performing Arts of Roosevelt University commissioned Penelope Waits and Pandora Undone. The entire symphony received its world premiere by the Chicago College of Performing Arts Orchestra in January of 2015 under the baton of Alondra de la Parra.

    All program notes are written by the composer.

    MOVEMENTS (click on each title for program notes and a perusal score)
  • Pandora Undone (2013) 7’20” • full orchestra Enter description here.
    INSTRUMENTATION
    3333 4331 harp, piano, timpani, 3 perc, strings

    Pandora Undone is the fifth movement of the Mythology Symphony, and can be programmed as a stand-alone piece.


    AUDIO
    Chicago College of the Performing Arts Orchestra; Alondra de la Parra, conductor
    Mythology Symphony • Cedille Records CDR 90000 160 • Purchase recording

    COMMISSIONER
    Chicago College of the Performing Arts

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    This is a rental item. Go to http://www.presser.com/shop/mythology-symphony.html or email rental@presser.com

    ONLINE PERUSAL SCORE
    https://issuu.com/theodorepresser/docs/garrop_pandora_undone_issuu

    PROGRAM NOTES

    This movement is, in turns, both lighthearted and serious. The music depicts a young, naïve Pandora who, while dancing around her house, spies a mysterious box. She tries to resist opening it, but her curiosity ultimately gets the best of her. When she cracks the lid open and looks inside, all evils escape into the world. Dismayed by what she has done, she looks inside the box once more. She discovers hope still in the box and releases it to temper the escaped evils and assuage mankind's new burden.
    -S.G.
  • Penelope Waits (2013) 5’50” • chamber orchestra Enter description here.
    INSTRUMENTATION
    2222 2110 harp, timpani, 2 perc, strings

    Penelope Waits is the second movement of the Mythology Symphony, and can be programmed as a stand-alone piece.


    AUDIO
    Chicago College of the Performing Arts Orchestra; Alondra de la Parra, conductor
    Mythology Symphony • Cedille Records CDR 90000 160 • Purchase recording

    COMMISSIONER
    Chicago College of the Performing Arts

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    This is a rental item. Go to http://www.presser.com/shop/mythology-symphony.html or email rental@presser.com

    ONLINE PERUSAL SCORE
    https://issuu.com/theodorepresser/docs/garrop_penelope_waits_issuu

    PROGRAM NOTES
    This quiet movement represents Queen Penelope, the faithful wife of Odysseus, as she patiently waits twenty years for her husband's return from fighting the Trojan Wars. Penelope herself is represented as an oboe. She is accompanied by a chamber orchestra (rather than the entire ensemble) as she keeps at bay the suitors who wish to marry her and inherit her riches.
    -S.G.
  • Shadow (2001) 9’ • chamber orchestra Enter description here.
    INSTRUMENTATION
    2222  2110 pno, timp, 1 perc, strings



    AUDIO
    Chicago College of the Performing Arts Orchestra; Markand Thakar, conductor
    Mythology Symphony • Cedille Records CDR 90000 160 • Purchase recording

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    416-41265 • $24.95 • full score (small) • click to order
    416-41265L • $46.95 • full score (large) •
    click to order
    Parts rental • click to order
    Sheetmusicplus.com
    PR.416412650 • $24.95 • full score (small) • click to order
    PR.41641265L • $46.95 • full score (large) •
    click to order

    ONLINE PERUSAL SCORE
    https://issuu.com/theodorepresser/docs/shadow

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Shadow is a chronicle of my stay at the Yaddo artist colony in New York in summer 2001. Upon arriving, I met several visual artists and photographers whose work sparked my imagination. One artist used ordinary safety pins to create wall hangings and tree snakes; a painter studied a scene of nature and then painted it from memory so the final painting would contain bright blues, pinks, and greens not in Nature’s original. Since I wanted to explore ways to break out of my current composing methods, I spent time taking photographs of particular items — a statue’s reflection in the ripples of a fountain and small parts of stained glass window — to shift my mind into new directions. When pieced together on my studio wall, these pictures formed a collage of jagged bits of color and motion. To me, these suggested overlapping lines of counterpoint, shifting textures, and intersecting blocks of music. I also felt the need to write the piece out of order; parts of the piece got developed for a month or two, then a part that comes earlier would be worked out, then I would skip ahead to what I thought would be the end, and then go back to parts already developed to pull the music further along.
    The title is derived from a Yaddo story. Over a century ago, the Trask family bought the property that would later become Yaddo. When Mrs. Trask asked her four-year-old daughter what they should name the place, she replied Yaddo, because it rhymes with shadow. To the little girl, the word shadow represented death. Death constantly surrounded the Trask family, who ultimately lost all four children during their infancy or early childhood. As death surrounds us in unexpected ways throughout our lives, I could not escape learning of an old friend’s demise while at Yaddo. This experience shaded what I had originally planned to be a light, colorful work into something much darker.
    -S.G.
  • Thunderwalker (1999) 12’ • chamber orchestra Enter description here.
    INSTRUMENTATION
    2222  2120 pno, timp, 2 perc, strings

    Movement 1:
    Ritual
    Movement 2:
    Invoking the Gods
    Movement 3:
    Summoned


    AUDIO
    Chicago College of the Performing Arts Orchestra; Markand Thakar, conductor
    Mythology Symphony • Cedille Records CDR 90000 160 • Purchase recording

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    416-41494 • $42.99 • full score (small) • click to order
    416-41494L • $76.95 • full score (large) • click to order
    Parts rental • click to order
    Sheetmusicplus.com
    PR.416414940 • $42.99 • full score (small) • click to order
    416-41494L • $76.95 • full score (large) • click to order

    ONLINE PERUSAL SCORE
    https://issuu.com/theodorepresser/docs/garrop_thunderwalker_issuu

    PROGRAM NOTES

    Thunderwalker is built on two overlapping structures. The first encompasses the form of each movement: the first movement is a fugue, the second a ground bass (passacaglia), the third a scherzo-trio. The second derives from what the title suggested to me. I see a thunderwalker as a huge, god-like figure who lives in the sky and whose footsteps fall loudly among the clouds. If I were a member of a pre-modern earth society and wanted to get the god-like figure’s attention, I would go through a ritual cleansing ceremony (movement 1), then invoke him over and over again (movement 2) until I had successfully summoned him (movement 3).

    The two structures complement each other: a fugue is a ritual of sorts: it follows a strict set of procedures, much like what one might do in a cleansing ceremony. Passacaglias, by their very nature, repeat themselves endlessly, like one lost in chanting invocations. This particular passacaglia is interrupted after each repetitive cycle by chaotic, grumbling noises, suggesting the god awakening in the skies. The character of a scherzo-trio can range from light and quick to sinister or macabre. I imagine that if a god were summoned down to earth, he would appear good to some and sinister to others, and he would move swiftly about the earth’s surface.

    The entire work is spun from the opening fugue motive. The first movement focuses on developing the fugue materials, particularly a minor third–tritone interval pattern. The second movement takes a nine-note pitch pattern that was introduced in the first movement — a repeating interval pattern of two minor seconds followed by a major second — and turns it into a nine-chord pattern (each statement of this pattern equals one complete cycle of the passacaglia). Finally, the third movement mutates the nine-note pitch pattern into an eight-note pattern of alternating minor and major seconds known as the octatonic scale.
    -S.G.