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Thread: Best String Orchestra Compositions?

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    Senior Member chillowack's Avatar
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    Default Best String Orchestra Compositions?

    I scanned scores of threads in this forum without finding this topic, but if it already exists, please kindly direct me to it.

    My question is: what, in your opinion, are the best compositions for string orchestra?

    Please list as many as you like, in order of your preference, and if possible, please include a few words about why you like the piece/what you like about it.

    Thanks!

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    What about this one:



    It's Mendelssohn. What more could I say? I guess you know his style, maybe even those particular pieces.

    If not - give them a listen.

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    Senior Member emiellucifuge's Avatar
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    Hi Chillowack, it seems you have taken my advice!

    The mendelssohn mentioned above is excellent, I would also recommend:

    Josef Suk's Serenade for strings
    Schuman's Fifth symphony
    (not R Schumann)

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    Senior Member chillowack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    What about this one:



    It's Mendelssohn. What more could I say? I guess you know his style, maybe even those particular pieces.

    If not - give them a listen.
    My acquaintance with Mendelssohn was insufficiently developed (though I liked what I had heard of him before). Thank you for pointing me back to him Aramis, I absolutely love his second symphony and I'm going to download the score and study it.

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    Senior Member chillowack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emiellucifuge View Post
    Hi Chillowack, it seems you have taken my advice!

    The mendelssohn mentioned above is excellent, I would also recommend:

    Josef Suk's Serenade for strings
    Schuman's Fifth symphony
    (not R Schumann)
    Yes my friend, I am currently composing my first string orchestra piece (per your suggestion!), and therefore I'm seeking great models to study.

    Thanks for these recommendations!

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    Senior Member emiellucifuge's Avatar
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    Cool Chillowack

    Bear in mind the String orchestra is not a form but a medium with which you can write anything.

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    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    For me the Mendelssohn string symphonies sound almost like baroque, which is a good thing. They are highly textured and exuberant. My vote would go to them too, except I would rank string orchestra pieces by Vaughan-Williams, especially the Tallis Fantasia, a bit higher.

    I am also rather fond of Bernstein's settings for string orchestra of the late Beethoven quartets.

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    Senior Member Tapkaara's Avatar
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    I won't say what the best are but I have two works for strings that I absolutely adore:

    Impromptu by Sibelius and Orawa by Wojciech Kilar.
    "Music is not philosophy." --Akira Ifukube

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    Schumann Cello Concerto in A minor Opus 129. It has exquisite melodic work in it, has some interesting uses of texture, excellent orchestration in general, very Romantic and poignant. Also, it has some beautiful technical work in it, uses basically every note on the Cello part, and a lot of evocative effects with the instruments. But that's just what you expect out of Schumann, he was quite the symphonic composer.

    I would definitely suggest Rostropovich's performance of the piece.
    "Your mathematics are correct, but your physics are abominable..." Einstein

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    Senior Member chillowack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tapkaara View Post
    Impromptu by Sibelius
    Tapkaara, what opus is this? It seems Sibelius composed more than one Impromptu.

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    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tapkaara View Post
    I won't say what the best are but I have two works for strings that I absolutely adore:

    Impromptu by Sibelius and Orawa by Wojciech Kilar.
    Excuse the off topic response, but I am just discovering some of Kilar's massive orchestra compositions - I think they are tone poems, but I'm not at home to look. I'm thunderstruck by them. They can make the hair stand up on my arms. (One of them is called Exodus as I recall.)

    I'll have to look into this string orchestra piece.

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    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    I also like this medium, & I created this thread a while back:

    Your favourite work for string orchestra

    & if you want a piece that has many types of stringed instruments (string orchrestra, piano, harp, harpsichord), then Frank Martin's Petite Symphonie Concertante is it...
    Contrasts and Connections in Music

    "When reason and instinct are reconciled, there will be no higher appeal" - Rameau

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    Senior Member Lukecash12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weston View Post
    Excuse the off topic response, but I am just discovering some of Kilar's massive orchestra compositions - I think they are tone poems, but I'm not at home to look. I'm thunderstruck by them. They can make the hair stand up on my arms. (One of them is called Exodus as I recall.)

    I'll have to look into this string orchestra piece.
    Aha! It came to me, and it was obvious. What of Chausson's Poeme? It's one of the best orchestral works that I know of.
    "Your mathematics are correct, but your physics are abominable..." Einstein

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    Senior Member chillowack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andre View Post
    I also like this medium, & I created this thread a while back:

    Your favourite work for string orchestra

    & if you want a piece that has many types of stringed instruments (string orchrestra, piano, harp, harpsichord), then Frank Martin's Petite Symphonie Concertante is it...
    Thanks Andre! You have found the thread I was looking for.

    I appreciate everyone's input here.

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    The 4th movement of Mahler's 5th Symphony(Adagietto) should at least get honorable mention. It is among the best music for strings of all.

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