It’s been a while since I’ve posted here due to looking after my little babies. Their care takes priority at this important time in their lives. But I havn’t forgotten about creativity! I am happy to say that I’ve been working on some new music projects over the past few weeks and have some exciting things in the works. Here are a couple of them:
I have launched a new educational YouTube channel for children and their parents and caregivers. It’s called “Mommy Seastar.” I have a mix of interactive projects, relaxing videos with original and public domain music, “how to” videos, and movies about different subjects all for the purpose of helping parents as they educate and play with their children and for children to enjoy learning! Just look up “Mommy Seastar” on YouTube” to find the channel.
My newest video just went up today. It’s called “Americana” and has some famous American songs for children and their parents to listen to so hopefully they can learn them and sing along! I’ve included a song of all the presidents and our National Anthem to help with memorization. There’s even a little original violin piece that I included towards the end of the video. Here is the link:
A New Symphonic Piece
I will also be starting work on a new symphonic piece for the La Verne Symphony Orchestra. It is due in February so that the orchestra can work on it in the spring semester. I am so grateful for this opportunity and am glad I have a few months to dream something up. You will be able to find this new composition and be able to downlod this and other pieces at my IMSLP composer page: https://imslp.org/wiki/Category:Rosaria,_Danielle.
Rehearsals for the La Verne Symphony Orchestra are in full swing! We’re gearing up for our 5th Anniversary season and are currently inviting new members to join. If you are a musician looking to join an exciting, dynamic ensemble, please consider joining us! You can email me, the orchestra director, at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit our Facebook page for more info: Facebook.com/lvsymphonyorchestra. You can also learn about the orchestra in our web page at DanielleRosariaViolinist.com/LVSO.
I’ve found that composing what I call “symphonic pictures” is a great source of inspiration. They are single movement pieces that bring to mind a certain place or idea. I’ve composed a number of them already. I want to share highlights from the series with you here.
The first three symphonic pictures are depictions of America. With these three pieces, I set out to create a very American sound with music that is accessible to community, high school, and college orchestras but also has enough depth to be performed by professional musicians. These pieces grew in scope along with our La Verne Symphony Orchestra. It is my mission through these pieces to make quality music accessible to amateurs and professionals alike, a very American idea to begin with.
“Symphonic Picture No. 1: New Frontier” was written for and first performed by the La Verne Symphony Orchestra, a university and community ensemble that seeks to bring people together through the power of music.
I drew inspiration from the composers Antonín Dvořák and Aaron Copland as well as the natural surroundings of my native Southern California. I sought to have a very American sound within symphonic tradition of composers like Dvořák and Copland. I feel this is a great place for me to start as I begin to develop my own symphonic language.
“New Frontier” was premiered by the La Verne Symphony Orchestra in November, 2013 at the University of La Verne.
I find that the natural beauty of America provides endless possibilities for musical inspiration. “Symphonic Picture No. 2: The American West” is also written in the symphonic tradition of Aaron Copland. I like to experiment with putting melodies and harmonies together to see what colors happen when things come together. I imagine places I’ve seen in person: the forest, the running stream, the night sky, the beauty of the American outdoors.
“Symphonic Picture No. 2: The American West” had its successful premier performance in December, 2015 with the La Verne Symphony Orchestra. I had the privilege to conduct the piece and witness a childhood dream of composing and conducting symphonic music become a reality.
“Symphonic Picture No. 3: Journey Across America” is inspired by the beauty and industry of America as well as by the struggles and victories of its people. One can think of the history of America while listening and move through time as well as across the continent in one’s imagination. I am particularly proud of this piece and look forward to the day when it will be performed by a live symphony.
“Symphonic Picture No. 7: Dona Nobis Pacem” is my newest symphonic picture. As the titles says, it is a prayer for peace. Our world today is in great need of peace and understanding between people. Music is one way we can come together to work and create something beautiful. The music is hopeful and passes the simple melody from one unique instrumental voice to the other.
This piece will be premiered by the La Verne Symphony Orchestra in April, 2017.
I am thrilled to be able to share this video with you! Our La Verne Symphony Orchestra successfully performed this masterpiece by Viennese composer Franz Schubert at our “Music of the Romantics” concert. We’re looking forward to the spring when we’ll study Shostakovitch’s “Piano Concerto No. 2” with Caelin Eager as our soloist. Please visit our LVSO page (https://daniellerosariaviolinist.com/lvso/) if you are interested in joining us or attending our concerts.
I am very excited to show you phase one of the second part of my symphony. This part is much longer than part I, 31:31 as opposed to the 8 or so minutes of the first part. That’s because I had a lot of the story to tell in this second part. The movements are as follows:
1)The Quest For Good
2)The Glory of Logres
3) The Holy Grail, “Agnus Dei” by William Byrd
4) Tryptich: 4a. Guinevere Goes A’Maying 4b. Lancelot Rescues Guinevere 4c. Arthur’s Lament
5)The Final Battle
6)Requiem For Arthur, The Once And Future King
7) Return To Chaos
In the file on SoundCloud, I’ve clearly labeled each movement so you know what part of the story the music is telling. I hope you enjoy listening! I am looking forward to creating the completed orchestral version.
The Legend of King Arthur is both timeless and timely…we need people to stand up for the vulnerable and helpless and for what is right in our world today. The mystery and romance of the legend offers a refreshing respite from today’s craziness and shows us how people from ages past stood up to evil and fought for good.
While researching for my first symphony, “King Arthur”, I’ve found that there is so much to explore pertaining to the legend such as the ancient legendary places in England that still exist, how Arthur is portrayed in art and literature, what was happening historically when Arthur was said to have lived, and the rich English heritage in general. There is a vast world to explore when searching for inspiration about King Arthur and his knights.
In case you are interested in setting out on a similar journey, here are some of the resources that I have found so far to start you out:
- I found a very readable version of the legend written by Roger Lancelyn Green. It took me a good year and a half to read it what with balancing family life with cultural pursuits, but it is a good clear edition. The citation is as follows:
Roger Lancelyn Green, “King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table” (London: Puffin Books), first published 1953, reissued 1994.
- English illustrator Arthur Rackham (1867 – 1939) was able to bring forth the magic of the legend in his mysterious paintings.
- Among the romantic legend sites in England, Tintagel Castle, Arthur’s birthplace, stands out with significance. It is, according to the story, where Arthur’s father Uther Pendragon came disguised as Lady Igrayne’s husband Gorlois and won her over so that she became his wife. Their son Arthur was taken away from Tintagel by Merlin soon after he was born. Merlin stole him away by night down the cliffs and Arthur’s true identity was not revealed again for many years. You can learn more about Tintagel and see what it looks like at the following link:
Part I of my symphony tells the story of the land in chaos, how Arthur became King, and the glory of his coronation and wedding day. For Part II, the movements will go something like this: 1) Quest for Good 2) The Glory of Logres 3) The Holy Grail, “Agnus Dei” by William Byrd 4) Lancelot and Guinevere 5) The Final Battle 6) Arthur, the Once and Future King. I’m hoping to have LVSO play the whole symphony once it’s complete. They premiered Part I last fall. I’ll be sharing the whole symphony with you once it’s completed. I’m hoping to have both the string orchestra and the full symphonic versions completed by the spring of 2017. In the meantime, keep up the good fight!
La Verne Symphony Orchestra, live performance, May 22, 2016
This symphonic picture is made of traditional and original Irish music. The percussion throughout is there because of the Irish bodhrán drum found in so much traditional music.
The melodies are as follows:
1. “Star of the County Down”
2. “In the Forest Fairy Ring”, original
3. “On the Rocky Road to Dublin”
4. “On the Friar’s Hill”
5. “In the Forest Fairy Ring”