GRADE 1 & 2


  Before the Sun is a descriptive piece about a large family who lives on a country farm. The piece focuses on all the
emotional and physical events which happen before the sun rises and after it sets.  The beginning of the piece
opens with the ending hours of night. The first light from the farm house reflects off the morning dew. The family
cats and dogs gather at the back door in anticipation of breakfast scraps and affections. Parents stand in their
children's bedroom doorways, enjoying watching them sleep, waiting just an extra minute before beginning the day.

     Measure 24 begins the build up to sunrise.  The piano solo depicts the silence of not just the family, but of nature
and the world itself, like one giant entity holding its breath in a moment of respect and awe waiting to experience
the sunrise.  Measure 33 starts the first rays of light and grows into the full glory of day with measure 43. This
theme is the sun's theme.  Daytime doesn't last long and fades out into measure 54, which begins the wind down
of the day. The lullaby from 58 to 68 represents children falling asleep and exhausted parents doing likewise.
  The piece ends with a recap of the sun's theme as a promise of its return.

Notes to the Conductor:

The score has two options the performers may choose between which are to use a solo violin or not.
As the composer, I honestly enjoy both versions and do not have a preference. That being said, when
using the solo violin, it does add a considerably amount of Appalachian color.  Depending on the concert
venue, the solo violin may need to be amplified. Separation from the band physically is also key. Every note
the violin plays does not need to be heard.  Measures 1-10,  18-21,  and 30-32 must be heard. 
Measures 58-67 are not exactly solos for the violin but hearing it blended within the happenings of the band is desired.
All the rest of its measures do not have to be heard.

     The solo violin part is full of drones, reflective of bluegrass and fiddle playing. I was definitely looking for that flavor
but the foremost reason was for volume from the violin.

A good violinist can really saw out those drones making amplification unnecessary unless the venue
is less than desirable or the band can't play piano.

  The grand piano should also be up front as it plays a vital role and has a lengthy solo that would not benefit
from being banged out for volume's sake.


A grade 4 work

A work for Symphonic Band and Violin Soloist
(it is scored to perform without the violin as an option)

Composed for the
Amador Valley High School Wind Ensemble I, Pleasanton, CA
Jonathan Grantham, Conductor
"A Few Notes Among Friends"

Available Fall 2014 !