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String orchestra/quartet

Download includes score and parts

pdf available for immediate download after purchase


One of the great mysteries of western music is why there are so many great composers whose surnames begin with B. This collection offers a historical selection of works by ‘B’ composers, from William Byrd to Béla Bartók. Most of the composers are well known, while others are not. It was a surprise to me in researching this volume, for example, that Anne Boleyn was a composer, and an exquisite song is included, supposedly written as she awaited her execution in the Tower of London.

The arrangements are designed to cater for the diverse needs of an intermediate string orchestra: the third violin part is limited to less difficult finger patterns, and there is a more advanced 1st cello part in some arrangements. The Violin 2 and 3 parts are also printed in a version for violas. Conductors are encouraged to experiment with using soloists in any sections that seem appropriate. In some pieces the disposition of the original parts has been modified to accomodate the simple finger patterns of the Violin 3, as well as to give the Violin 3 players respite from playing on the G string! However, care has been taken to preserve the original voice leading. Other pieces, such as the Hungarian Dance of Brahms, is a free arrangement of the original.

The parts are grouped in instruments to facilitate rehearsals, and so that the players can more easily swap parts from piece to piece, or even within a piece, if desired.

Sadly, there are many important B composers not included here, mainly because no works of suitable difficulty could be found. Some other important composers are still alive or relatively recent, and their music remains in copyright. Some of the most significant names include: Bizet, Berlioz, Bridgetower, Berg, Britten, Bacewicz and Boulanger.


Customers will receive links to download their digital products in the thank you page of the checkout, along with an emailed link that will last for 30 days.

    The B Book: Bach, Beethoven, Boismortier and Beyond Music by composers whose sur

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