Conjunction: an interactive introduction to the orchestra


An interactive introduction to the orchestra

Bar 243

Conjunction is an educational tool, as well as a 16 minute work for symphony orchestra and school choir. It's different from A young person's guide and Peter and the Wolf because, in Conjunction, the students sing with the orchestra, and this means that they have to rehearse the piece beforehand, usually in class with their music teacher, accompanied by an orchestral recording.

The words are about the instruments and orchestral techniques. In rehearsing it, students sing about violins then hear violins, they sing about violas then hear violas, and so on for all the instruments. They can hardly avoid learning the names and sounds of the instruments. There is almost no homophonic part singing, and most vocal entries are preceded by the same phrase in the orchestra. As a result, it may be performed by the whole music class, rather than a specialist choir. It is aimed at children of ages 10-15. The piece was commissioned by the University of New South Wales Orchestra who play on the clips below, and written by Joe Wolfe. Colin Piper conducts and Lanneke Jones sings. Recording engineer: Emery Schubert.

To play the mp3 files below, you may need to download a reader such as RealPlayer

Short samples from Conjunction (~300 kbytes each):
MPEG Audio Layer-3 56k Introduction; MPEG Audio Layer-3 56k Violin-viola; MPEG Audio Layer-3 56k Colours-blue; MPEG Audio Layer-3 56k Flutes;
MPEG Audio Layer-3 56k Bassoons; MPEG Audio Layer-3 56k Tuba; MPEG Audio Layer-3 56k Paradiddle; MPEG Audio Layer-3 56k Finale.

Download Conjunction in movements
MPEG Audio Layer-3 56k . . . Introduction (1200 kbyte) introduces the choir and the orchestra.
MPEG Audio Layer-3 56k . . . Strings (2300 kbyte) introduces that family.
MPEG Audio Layer-3 56k . . . Colours (1200 kbyte) has some combinations of orchestral colours, and room for some choir choreography.
MPEG Audio Layer-3 56k . . . Winds (1800 kbyte) introduces the woodwinds.
MPEG Audio Layer-3 56k . . . Brass (1200 kbyte) introduces the horns and brass.
MPEG Audio Layer-3 56k . . . Percussion (1200 kbyte) includes both the orchestral percussion and body percussion from the choir.
MPEG Audio Layer-3 56k . . . Finale. (850 kbyte)

MPEG Audio Layer-3 56k . . . Conjunction in a single large file (9700 kbyte)

A set of printed educational material for teachers is available for the teachers involved. This explains how the instruments work, how they and their families fit together, some of their peculiarities, and how they are used in orchestration and in musical structure. All are introduced in the context of this piece. So it makes life easy for teachers.

The tunes are catchy, syncopated and rhythmic. There are some jokes and some competitions between the instrumentalists and the singers. So it makes life fun for the singers.

For an amateur orchestra performing the work, the main interest is that a big choir brings a big audience, and a big audience can help an orchestra financially.

Conjunction is available as:

* fl, fl&picc, picc, 2 ob, c.a., 2 cl, bcl, alt.sax, 2 bsn, 4 hn, 3 tpt, 2 trom, b.trom., tba, timp, 4 perc, strings.

Bar 243

Bar 243 of this piece was recycled as the Theme Music for the MOOC: Mechanics, Particles to Planets.
About the composer. Joe Wolfe started writing music in the seventies and has since written sporadically for jazz and fusion groups, including incidental music for plays and films. He has written several other orchestral works: His most recent work is "Circle of Fourths", a 5 minute work that uses the circle as both melodic and harmonic device. His Trumpet concerto was written for Anthony Henrichs. "Sydney Sketches" is a set of tone poems, each of which is based in different Sydney location at a different time of day.; "The Stairway Suite" is a set of orchestral variations on the pop song "Stairway to Heaven" in the styles of Schubert, Holst, Glen Miller, Mahler, Bizet and Beethoven. There is an overture to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the UNSW Orchestra. His quartet for flute, saxophone, bassoon and cello has been played in concerts on six continents: its sheet music is available as shareware.

Joe Wolfe / /61-2-9385 4954 (UT+10,+11 Oct-Mar)

Another educational package: