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Sibling Revelry

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David Rakowski

David Rakowski

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General Info

Year: 2004
Duration: c. 13:11
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Piano
Publisher: C.F. Peters Corp.
Cost: Score and Parts - $266.75   |   Score Only - $100.50


1. Zipper Tango – 3:20
2. Strident – 3:41
3. Bop It – 3:09
4. Moody's Blues – 3:01


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Alto Flute
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III-IV
Euphonium I-II
Percussion I-II-III-IV

(percussion detail desired)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The composer offers the following account of how he came to transcribe four of these piano etudes in order to create Sibling Revelry:

In February [2004] I was looking for a small project to take up half a February vacation, and arranging one of my etudes for orchestra seemed like a fun way to do that. I chose Zipper Tango, my fifty-first etude, originally a tango-etude on grace notes. The sounds I was hearing for it, though -- sultry saxophone beginning, response in flutes and clarinets, etc. -- seemed more appropriate for a wind ensemble than for an orchestra.

When the arrangement was finished, I sent the score to Col. Colburn (then a mere major) for his edification and amusement. In May, Col. Colburn (still a major) suggested that the piece was too short by itself for a lot of bands to program, but as part of a suite of pieces it might be very attractive. So I raided my etude collection for the other three etudes that also take off on vernacular styles (stride piano, be-bop and 1950s rock and roll) and made arrangements of them in my spare time during a vacation on a lake in Maine. Thus the four pieces are “siblings” of the musical styles upon which they take off.

Zipper Tango was called that because the many grace note figures sounded like zippers in the default MIDI playback. I was going for the two principal feels of tango I had heard on recordings: the slow, sultry tango, and the faster, heavy-heated tango. As such, the outer sections utilize the sultry tango feel and the central section the heavy-heated feel; the sections are joined by metric modulations. The opening melody is developed in many ways, including a canon at the major seventh that closes the first section.

Strident was a response to pianist Amy Dissanayake’s request for a stride piano etude, which takes off on the piano stylings of James P. Johnson -- especially his tune Jingles. Stride is like ragtime in the bass but with a melody that swings. Strident’s form is like a march or ragtirile: an introduction, two repeated strains, a trio that is repeated, and a substantial coda. In the arrangement, each repeated strain is orchestrated differently.

Bop It was a response to a request from pianist Geoffrey Burleson for a bop etude, and at Geoff ’s suggestion, I drew my ideas from Bud Powell and Chick Corea -- fast stuff in the right hand accompanied by stabbing left-hand chords. The fast figuration in the arrangement migrates rather freely across the sections, which makes it quite a challenge to play. The form is of two “heads,” each followed by fast figuration over the harmonies of the heads.

Moody’s Blues was named after and dedicated to the writer Rick Moody, who suggested an etude on repeated chords parodying rock and roll à la Jerry Lee Lewis. Any pianist who practices this piece a lot will eventually develop a right forearm not unlike that of Popeye, and in the arrangement the repeated chords are thrown mercilessly across the woodwind sections. There are several glissandos in the original piece that sound pretty hilarious in the wind ensemble version. Like Zipper Tango, this one is in A-B-A form, with the middle section quieter and more reserved, with the repeated chords tending toward the brass.

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer