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House of Untold Horrors (for Narration and String Orchestra)

By Lauren Bernofsky

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String orchestra - Grade 1
Composed by Lauren Bernofsky (1967-). Orchestra. FJH Beginning Strings. Halloween. Score and set of parts. Duration 7 minutes.

Item Number: FJ.ST6192


One of the most interesting and inventive novelty pieces in years! This work uses narrator to tell the horrific yet comical story of Willoughbus Wallaby and his encounter with a ghostly house and its resident kitty. Using a whirlwind of fun, achievable effects (you will be stunned by the incredible sounds your orchestra will be able to make), this piece is ideal for orchestras with some students who are not yet able to use their bow (or in some cases, don't even know fingerings yet!). In addition, many effects reinforce pedagogical concepts while students have fun. Sure to be one of the highlights of your next program, regardless of what time of year you perform it!
I am not only a composer but a music mom. At the time I wrote this piece, my son, Nicholas, was seven and studying the cello at the Indiana University String Academy. When his teacher Cara Miller asked me to write a piece for the annual cello Halloween concert, I happily agreed - I'm always looking for ways to make music-making fun. Cara and I wanted a piece that the kids would have a great time playing. I later arranged the work for string orchestra. I thought that having an actual story would be a fun basis for the piece. And it's not really a scary story - well, not until the very end, but by then it's just funny. The story of course justifies the many unusual sound effects called for in the piece, which will broaden students' palette of sounds that they know how to produce on their instruments. And these sound effects, strange as they may seem, also have pedagogical value. For instance, the rain sound effect, made by tapping fingers on the tops of the instruments, actually serves to develop strong curved fingers in both hands. Two of the sound effects, the scuttling rats and the scream, were invented by Nicholas!

About FJH Beginning Strings

Appropriate for first year string students. All instruments stay in first position, and optional third violin (viola) parts and piano are included to aid in rehearsal and performance situations. Grade 1 - 1.5