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The Blacksmith

By English Folk Song

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Orchestra String Orchestra - Grade 3
Composed by English Folk Song. Arranged by Sean O'Loughlin. SWS FS. Carl Fischer Concert String Orchestra Series. Score and Parts. With Standard notation. Carl Fischer Music #CAS47. Published by Carl Fischer Music (CF.CAS47).

Item Number: CF.CAS47

ISBN 9780825867170. 8.5 x 11 inches. Key: D major.

An English folk song aggressively arranged by Sean O'Loughlin. Pointed rhythms, angular lines and contemporary harmonies are the highlight of this arrangement, exemplifying the compositional signature for which Sean's music has become so popular!.
The Blacksmith is an old English folk song that I first encountered through a singer named Aoife O'Donovan. She was performing with the Boston Pops Orchestra, and I was fortunate to be hired to orchestrate the song for her. A blacksmith was a popular hero in many folk songs of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It was usually because of their characteristic physique and reputation for ardor and staying power. Musically, the melody is rather haunting, although the meter is a little strange. The arrangement is written in time throughout, despite the fact that the melody often ends on beat 3 of the third measure of the phrase. This arrangement begins with a slow and ominous presentation of the melody. You may consider having a solo first Violin from mm.1-13 if you have a player you want to feature. They should return to tutti at m. 14. This ominous opening leads right into an energetic fast section. Melody fragments are used as a transition to a fast presentation of the melody. Keep the pizzicato crisp in the cellos and basses to sustain the forward motion. Bring out mm. 24 and 28 as a response to the melody. The first violins take over at m. 37. Again, keep the pizzicato crisp in the rest of the ensemble. Bring out the accents in the transition passage between mm. 52-56 to drive into the presentation by the cellos and basses. After playing around with melody fragments, a full presentation returns at m. 75. Sustain this energy through m. 89, then pull back a bit at m. 90. An echo of the melody follows in the pizzicato cellos and basses. A crescendo to forte ends the piece triumphantly.

About Carl Fischer Concert String Orchestra Series

This series of pieces (Grade 3 and higher) is designed for advancing ensembles. The pieces in this series are characterized by:

  • Expanded use of rhythms, ranges and keys but technical demands are still carefully considered
  • More comprehensive bowing techniques
  • Viola T.C. included
  • Careful selection of keys and degree of difficulty for advancing musicians

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