“Did not learned men, too, hold, till within the last twenty-five years, that a flying dragon was an impossible monster?
And do we not now know that there are hundreds of them found fossil up and down the world?
People call them Pterodactyls: but that is only because they are ashamed to call them flying dragons,
after denying so long that flying dragons could exist.”
-Charles Kingsley, The Water Babies
Every ancient civilization has dragons in its lore. Most all mythology has dragons in some form or another. Mankind has had an ongoing love affair with these winged beasts since the beginning of recorded history and perhaps beyond. Real or not dragons have made our existence richer, our stories more exciting and our nightmares much more interesting. Does that not to some extent make them real?
For hundreds of thousands of years man did not rule the sky. Imagine a world with dragons in it.
"If the sky dreams it is not of birds or man made contraptions.
Surely it dreams of Dragons."
IF the music is pretty, the Dragon is Flying.
IF it is suspenseful, the Dragon is Stalking.
IF the music is scary or exciting the Dragon is attacking and chances are we are running for our lives.
In the End, you can either Run from your Dragons or you can Ride them.
Notes to the Conductor
*8 Percussionists are required, more would make it more manageable. A contra bassoon and either a
Eb contra alto or Bb contrabass clarinet are also required the woodwinds are orchestrated with that in mind.
If you have 3 bassoons and no contrabassoon, put at least 1 player on the contra part playing the lowest
transposing down an octave at all times when it is possible.*
The Tenor Drum is to be a high pitched tenor drum, either a snare with the snare o(, a timbale that isn't too aggressive or a small tenor drum like instrument. It is to be played with snare sticks at all times. At many times during the orchestration it answers the snare. The volume of the two instruments including "presence" should be the same. The Tenor drum should never be louder than the snare. The Tom-Tom should also be played with snare sticks to avoid over ring/low overtones as much as possible. If the Bass Drum is marked staccato it is to be very short/dampened. IF the staccato section does not involve a roll, use sticks instead of bass drum mallets again with the purpose of excessive over ring.
DYNAMICS are crucial.
Crescendos, decrescendos, instant drops or increases of dynamics should all be easily recognized. Short really means SHORT. Long really means LONG. If the woodwinds run across an articulation that makes a passage harder than it needs to be, change it. This is not a shrine. It is a living breathing creation. You and your band members give it life. Changing small things like articulations will not make a di(erence to the listener. This piece is expressive but it is also very aggressive. The sections involving musical & emotional discourse especially in the more contemporary sounding areas should ALL be exciting and suspenseful with extra attention to dynamics and articulations. Again, short is really short, long is really long and crescendos going from mp to F are huge and should be performed accordingly!
FF is not marked many places but if you feel an F to be a FF then by all means play FF. I encourage all conductors to make the music their own and express it accordingly. That is after all, what makes conducting an art form. The opening melody and every other time it occurs is to be legato and passionate. The half tone dissonances between the melody and the accompaniment should always be brought out. Both pitches are right and should be equal in presentation.
A grade 5 work
composed for the
Flower Mound High School Wind Symphony
Brent Biskup and Jana Harvey, Conductors.
In Memory of Alec Fentum
The recording is the 2015 Midwest Clinic Premier
performed by the Flower Mound High School Wind Symphony