Dedicated to the child victims of the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14th, 2012, this tone poem attempts to inspire peace through introspection. A gentle lilting melody, slowly growing in intensity, depicts the ascension of 20 Tiny Angels. The 7/4 time signature and modal harmony gives an impression of otherworldliness on which the melody floats. This piece features an improvised solo section supported by true modal harmony, creating a beautiful complexity of colors and shades.
As the name implies, this latin-fusion piece is written in the mid-tempo 88 BPM and combines intricately interlocking lines with heavy funk riffs. This tune highlights the technical flexibility of the ensemble while maintaining a solid groove. A modal solo section gives the improvising soloists in your ensemble a chance to shine.
Alba, a solemn, yet somewhat uplifting song, begins with a simple melody and floating chords that delay a resolution. The “B” sections serves as a disconnect that resolves back into the beginning melody. The solo section is simple and open to interpretation stylistically. The “B” section disconnects from the solos and this time drives us into an uplifting jam at the end. Alba can be heard on the Dave Longfellow’s self-titled 2009 release.
"Alone Within You" uses quotes from Debussy's Nocturnes to express a developing relationship between a young woman and an old boy. The piece traverses the emotional distance from passion, to resistance and fear, and finally back to passion. In the end, despite many attempts, the relationship never quite comes to a clean ending.
Like the other pieces in the DLE Series, this one requires a developed rhythmic maturity in order for all the parts to interlock. This piece includes a rock/funk solo section.
A funk-infused tune for steel band based loosely in the tonal framework of D major. The back line lays down a solid groove while the melody in the tenors weaves nimbly in and out of the key. A gradually intensifying jam capped off with a final push to the end complete the tune nicely.
“Bananas for Anna” showcases the more aggressive side of the DLE in this up-tempo songo. With the addition of an electric bass, we could really start to “lay in” to our latin repertoire. So, I wrote “Büf” (as the band later aptly referred to it) with a driving bass, complex melody, and montuno break-down in mind. To assure never a dull moment, our drummer, John James, incorporates the left-foot clave technique throughout the montuno sections.
This beautiful aria is often erroneously attributed to J.S. Bach due to its inclusion in the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach, but was most likely written by the German composer Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel. Commonly heard as an organ solo or vocal with organ accompaniment at weddings and other religious occasions, it translates perfectly to a 4-part steel pan ensemble. This is a short and sweet addition to your classical repertoire.
This piece is simply constructed from two contrasting sections. The first section is lyrical, harmonically ambiguous, and smoothly textured. The second has a repetitive melodic figure, straight-forward chord progression, and idiomatic strumming patterns. The two sections are connected by a brief but challenging “wind-down” phrase in the melody and drum set parts, and are combined in different proportions in each of the three macroscopic structures of the piece as a whole. The central structure allows plenty of room for exploration by a featured improviser.
Old meets new as the only acoustic instrument family invented in the 20th century realizes one of the great works of the Italian Renaissance. Originally composed in the late 16th century for brass choir, this piece divides the ensemble in half and pits one choir against another in a call and response style known as antiphon. With 10 distinct parts, this piece places emphasis on individual musicianship within the larger ensemble.
This is a fun, high-energy calypso that will have the audience up on their feet! I composed “Carpe Diem” during the time I had the Sons Of Steel steel band. It was written with performance in mind with lots of room for cool choreography, which the “Sons” were known for during our live concerts.
This lively calypso packs a punch! Through great voicing and effective stops, this danceable melody will please your audience. This piece was commissioned specifically for beginning bands, and is a perfect choice for middle and high school steel bands!
One of Debussy's more recognizable and crowd-pleasing pieces, this arrangement is a challenging piece to perform not for its technical requirements, but more for its expressive demands (dynamics and tempo) and the ability for the ensemble to listen to one another. A conductor is recommended, but not absolutely necessary. It is also recommended to have a middle pan section that can accommodate the sweeping arpeggios found in the quadrophonic part. Most 4-pan configurations can accommodate this role.
Tracy’s most popular and performed composition to date, “Dain Brammage” sounds just like the name implies. This is steelpan at it’s heaviest and most fun! This one is unapologetically loud, heavy, in your face and is always a crowd favorite!
This explosive show stopper from Saint-Saëns' grand opera makes an excellent concert finale or competition piece for the advanced ensemble. Divided sections demand independence from the individual players while rendering a more accurate depiction of the composer's original timbral landscape than otherwise possible. A full complement of orchestral percussion makes this piece a memorable experience for performers and audience members alike.
This Spanish-tinged calypso from a forthcoming suite chronicling the adventures of Cervantes' Don Quixote is ideal for the intermediate to advanced ensemble. Caribbean syncopation coupled with traditional Iberian harmonies paint a picture of the heroic knight-errant in an epic struggle for his life and sanity.
El Sueño is a work about the surrealist nature of a dream – toying with expectations. In this case, it is the expectation of what will come next given the particular genre of music. Sometimes a new section is immediately recognized, while other times the music morphs into the new material.
This piece is built on a moderate tempo 2-3 son clave groove. The first melodic section greatly contrasts the rest of the piece with a diminished intensity that grows through the later sections. Toward the end, a vamp opens up the opportunity for soloists.
The title Endymion & Diana is derived from characters of Roman mythology. This work is a chamber piece and should be played with neither percussive accompaniment nor doubling of parts. Because of this, this piece requires each player to navigate various rhythmic and dynamic complexities. This piece serves as a great recital piece or contrast piece during a concert.
Schubert's most famous art song based on Goethe's eerie text comes to life in this bomb arrangement. The drama between the father, boy, and earl king unfolds true to Schubert's original, with each character portrayed in a different register. Tension between the boy and the Erlking builds to a climax with a minor jam section perfect for a talented drumset or timbales player. But in the end, the child "war tot!"
Expiration Dating opens with a series of bell-tones in ascending perfect fourths. This leads to a light introductory groove in an A Major tonality, with horn-style hits in the inner parts. The primary, D Major melody of the piece is accompanied by rolling figures in the inner parts, a montuno-like bass line, and a highly linear drum set figure. After a return to the A Major and D Major sections for an improvised solo, the melody is repeated. The piece ends with an elaboration on the main theme of the melody and open vamp in the context of a B Minor turnaround.
This tune was originally commisioned for a Canadian/Caribbean Film called “Finder of Lost Children.” The first part of the piece is rather happy going with a chorus that plays with phrasing the same melody on and off the beat. But then—as in many families—once you scratch the surface, there are often hidden secrets. The middle part of the piece becomes a bit darker and more dramatic. Finally, the last part is a return to the main theme in order to, as a family member might say, “keep up the appearances.”
Written in a free, romantic style, this piece allows the soloist to show off both the emotional depth and the technical potential of the cello pan. The piece starts in a slow rubato and gradually builds in intensity throughout the work, reaching an emotional height in the final bars. This piece is ideal concert material for the intermediate to advanced soloist.
From Tchaikovsky's collection of piano music for children, these simple trios are ideal for the beginner's first foray into chamber ensemble playing. Included in this collection are No. 4 "Mama", No. 5 "March of the Wooden Soldiers", No. 6 "The Sick Doll" and No.15 "Italian Song."