Music for String Orchestra

Music for String Orchestra2017-03-10T19:54:52+00:00

Project Description

String Orchestra
17 min.

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String Orchestra of the Rockies


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Vln Vla Vcl DB

  • Violin
  • Viola
  • Cello
  • Double Bass
For wind ensembles and concertos, please use one player per part. For symphonies and concert pieces, more players may be used as desired. David’s full statement.


  1. Aria
  2. Elegy
  3. Dance 

Commissioned by

Music for String Orchestra was commissioned by the String Orchestra of the Rockies with funds from the Montana Arts Council.


March 1992

Program Note

Music for String Orchestra is in three movements:

  1. Aria
    1. This brief movement is graceful, elegant, and passionate in a quiet way. Its simple but strict AABA form allows the theme to be varied twice – the source of its emotional power.
  2. Elegy
    1. The Gospel at Colonus, a modern musical retelling of the Oedipus story, contains the line “… in the late wind of death he could not stand” – for me, a haunting and evocative image. It is written into my score about a third of the way through this movement, over a passage of sustained chords for violas and cellos. It is not to be sung or spoken, but simply parallels the felling of the musical moment. Solo viola and solo quintet are prominent features of this movement. “Elegy” is in effect a small concerto for viola.
  3. Dance
    1. In recent years, my music has never been far from the painting and poetry of my friend Richard Beale. I have set six of his poems in A Litany for Courage and the Seasons for chorus, clarinet, and vibraphone. As important to me is that his poetic spirit lies close to my musical one, and certain poems of his set off music in me. The Pines is such a poem. It is an inscription on the back of his wonderful landscape of the same name. I have never set these words – the almost got into A Litany – but their quality of exhilaration continues to inspire my instrumental music, including the present “Dance”
  • The Pines
  • Touching the pines
  • And my eyes,
  • The wind becomes
  • The outward breath
  • Of the inward smile,
  • And I am moved
  • By the now/here
  • On this day,
  • On this rocky shore
Program Note by David Maslanka

Further Reading