Patapan: Traditional Burgundian Carol.
in my capacity as the director of our school's string program, I have string orchestras in all three division levels: lower, middle and upper school. When AMT asked me to review Patapan, I thought I would try a little experiment. I had my grade five through six upper school ensemble play it first. They read it at tempo, at sight and were very complimentary about the arrangement. Next, my grade two through three middle school ensemble sight read it at mm=80 one time and then played it through at tempo the second time, including the piano part. The best test was my grade one lower school ensemble. We were able to play this almost to performance caliber within thirty minutes.
What was so nice about this arrangement was it sounded good at all three levels. This shows the mark of a fine arranger: playability and melodic accessibility. All the parts are right in the middle of the staff in first position. The piano part, in particular, was easily playable for the strong beginner with at least a few years of study. I find this very attractive. Parents are recognizing the benefits of piano study for cognitive development and starting children at an early age. My school is a grade three through twelve private boys' school, and I have many lower school string students who play piano. It's always a fun incentive to choose one of them to play a "solo" part with the group, and they work hard to be chosen. The optional percussion parts also are quite easy and could lead to another fun incentive by "recruiting" some beginning band or general music students to play.
String ensemble directors always are looking for good, new, fun music to play, especially during the Christmas and Hanukkah holiday season. With its soothing, chant-like melody, Patapan offers something a little different from the traditional Christmas carol arrangements offered by other fine publishers. Reviewed by Paul Scimonelli, Bethesda, Maryland.
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|Publication:||American Music Teacher|
|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Apr 1, 2004|
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