Archive for September, 2005

Writing choral music for young choruses has become an important part of my life.In times when our young people have visions of their recent past in history, as well as thoughts of the future, ‘A Different Kind of Hero’ is a feel-good song that reminds everyone that everyday people are heroes in their own special way. It is arranged for 3 parts mixed voices and piano, and is currently available through Helene Blue Musique Ltd., pending publication (or by email to me at sharpnat@aol.com).

For some unknown reason, I feel very inclined to do my best writing in September of each year–no clue why–it just happens–perhaps because the children are back at school, and I feel the urge to write music for them to sing!!

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I’m in Muncie, Indiana, with the wonderful Muncie Symphony Orchestra and conductor Kirk Trevor (with whom I’ve worked together in Knoxville). We agreed on ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ and Ellington’s ‘New World A-Comin’. I’ve only known the Maurice Peress orchestration, available through Schirmer, so when I met Kirk today to go over the score, he showed me another version–Jeff Tyzik’s arrangement–uh oh–now what! The music is different for each–and I really enjoyed browsing through the Tyzik arrangement (also through Schirmer). However, how does one perform either one? I had only one hour to make a single arrangement–and it worked–it is merged and it actually sounds quite nice. I was afraid we’d have to ditch the piece, but with tacets here and tacets there, and me adding the melody when the orchestra doesn’t have it–well, it worked somehow–and sounds beautiful. Wouldn’t it be kinda neat to be able to go online to a publisher or rental site and download and print out parts–especially in a situation like this??

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Any choral folk out there??

Several inquiries have come in this season about Hanukah music, since there isn’t a large repertoire in that genre–and I thought, why not write something for both Hanukah and Christmas? It was very challenging, but fun to write this past weekend. For some reason, I find it very peaceful to write new music on 9-11. It cleanses my soul, and, hopefully, something good comes from it. Please feel free to email me if you’d like a copy at sharpnat@aol.com. It’s simple 2-parts mixed voices with a pianistic piano part, and the main theme for the verses is based on ‘Rock of Ages’. I’m happy to share it with everyone before it gets submitted for potential publication, should you still be seeking out holiday music.

Here’s the press release about the piece:

Jeffrey Biegel Pens ‘Ho Ho Hanukah, Ho Ho Christmas!’
By Naturally Sharp, Inc.
September 12, 2005

Pianist/composer Jeffrey Biegel has added a delightful choral work for the holiday season programming. Since his music has sold over 6,000 copies in a six-month period, Jeffrey Biegel has been asked to combine the holidays of Hanukah and Christmas in a uniting song of seasonal charm. Scored for two-parts mixed voices and a challenging piano accompaniment, Mr. Biegel bases the main theme of ‘Ho Ho Hanukah, Ho Ho Christmas!’ on the well known Hanukah song, ‘Rock of Ages’. With sleigh bells and a spirited chorus section, ‘Ho Ho Hanukah, Ho Ho Christmas!’ is sure to become a standard amongst young choruses throughout the US and abroad.

Other holiday choral works by Mr. Biegel include an SATB a cappella arrangement of ‘The Christmas Song’ (“Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire…”), an SATB divisi a cappella arrangement of ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’, available through the Hal Leonard Corporation and the http://www.jwpepper.com website, and ‘Christmas In A Minute’ for SATB/piano, based on Chopin’s ‘Minute Waltz’, also available through the Hal Leonard Corporation and the http://www.jwpepper.com website. For information regarding music not available through http://www.jwpepper.com, such as ‘Ho Ho Hanukah, Ho Ho Christmas!’ and ‘The Christmas Song’, please contact Helene Blue Musique at 1-212-724-5900 or via email at helenebluemusic@mindspring.com.

Due in October, his solo piano arrangements of ‘The Best of Josh Groban’ will be released by PianoDisc, and he includes in the 2005-06 season the World Premiere of Lowell Liebermann’s ‘Concerto no. 3′ with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, a South American debut recital in the Teatro Municipal in Santiago, Chile, plus performances throughout the US. For more information, please visit Mr. Biegel’s website at http://www.cyberecital.com.

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I was so happy to reach my friend, Dan Weilbaecher, who teaches at Tulane and runs the piano competition for the New Orleans Musical Arts Society. He is with friends in Lafayette–where conductor Xiao-Lu Li also said all is well. And when Carlos Miguel Prieto, new music director of the Louisiana Philharmonic, replied from Spain that he was safe and that the LPO staff were safe, I had a warm sense of relief.

If there are orchestras out there or schools needing adjunct teachers, this is perhaps the best time to post these opportunities for any LPO staff and musicians to read, as they are now in a position to seek out and find interim employment. There are web sites that offer this such as www.myauditions.com and Drew McManus’ Adaptistration at: http://www.artsjournal.com/adaptistration/archives/2005/08/important_infor.html.

Perhaps someday in the coming times that they will all be able to return to a rebuilt city they called home. Our prayers continue to go out to everyone afflicted by this horrific disaster and those whose lives perished from it.

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