Daniel O'Brien


The Pleiades

InstrumentationSymphonic orchestra: 2+1/2/2+BCl/2+CBn, 4/2/3/1, timp/4 perc, hp, pf, strings (12-10-9-8-7) Percussion battery: Orchestra Bells, Xylophone, Suspended Cymbal, Piatti, Snare Drum, Bass Drum, Gong, Triangle, Mark Tree, and Anvil.
Length3 movements, total time: 7:22"
DifficultyMedium (professional)
CommentsCinematic in scope, "The Pleiades" is a dramatic work built around two contrasting themes: one heroic, the other dark and ominous. This work displays a wide range of the textures and colors in the orchestral palette through extensive orchestrational technique.
SourcesFor information on scores, parts and recordings, contact the composer directly: 3990 Sunsetridge Road, Moorpark, CA 93021-3757 Voice: 805-532-1299 - FAX: 818-782-1921 E-mail: DannyMuse@aol.com
ExtrasA CD of this work as performed by the London Symphony Orchestra is now available from ALLEGRO MUSIC's catalog. Contact the composer for more information. MIDI files of selected excerpts are available directly from the composer upon request.
HistoryThis work received its premiere performance by the London Symphony Orchestra, July of 1996, Brynmor Llewelyn Jones, Conducting. Excerpted from the liner notes of that recording:

"Inspired by the constellation of the same name, "The Pleiades" is rife with bold shifts in color and mood. Instruments and melodies serve as musical combatants vying for dominance of the heavens. "Prelude" introduces the heroic main theme. Here, majestic horns call out a melody to the ether, answered by each section of the orchestra. One by one the strings, woodwinds and horns build to a crescendo, then trail off into a stark silence.

The body of the piece begins in "First Encounter and Confrontation." At first, the winds only hint at the threat of a dark, ominous force. Then the new theme builds, punctuated by heavy percussion. A sequence of militaristic marches and eerie melodies follows, colliding and intertwining, pulling and toying with one another in an interstellar game of cat and mouse. Next is a short fugal segment in the winds, which are then joined by the strings. This segues into a melee of orchestral stabs until finally the dark theme, now a dirge, dominates the score. Heard finally in its complete form, the theme is played first by solo horns and then is engaged by the full orchestra. The work climaxes and resolves with a percussive, dissonant finale.

Darkness and a terrifying evil seem to have consumed the light. In the concluding coda, a single sustained violin line leaves us with a feeling of uncertainty and doubt. "Triumphant" reprises the main theme in an exuberant arrangement for full orchestra. Following a playful interlude, the piece builds into a bold march that brings the suite to its dramatic finale. Horns herald a hard-won triumph. There is peace and a sense that order has been restored to the heavens." - Gina Gold

ContributorDaniel O'Brien, Composer Member of the Society of Composers and Lyricists Creative Director of ALLEGRO MUSIC, a music production company in Los Angeles, California
Other

Colorado Suite

InstrumentationTwo orchestrational versions - Symphonic orchestra:
2+1/2/2+BCl/2+CBn, 4/2/3/1, timp/2 perc, strings (12-10-9-8-7) hp, hpschrd
Small "Studio" orchestra:
1121, 323, timp/2 perc, strings (8-4-4-2) hp, hpschrd
Percussion battery (same for both): Orchestra Bells, Suspended Cymbal, Piatti, Snare Drum, Wind Chimes, Mark Tree, Shaker, Tambourine and Temple Blocks.
Length4 movements, total time: 6:53"
DifficultyMedium (professional)
CommentsWritten the grand tradition of epic film scoring, this piece is evocative of the beautiful, yet untamed American west of the late 1800's.
SourcesFor information on scores, parts and recordings, contact the composer directly. Daniel O'Brien 3990 Sunsetridge Road, Moorpark, CA 93021-3757 Voice: 805-532-1299 - FAX: 818-782-1921 E-mail: DannyMuse@aol.com
ExtrasA CD of this work as performed by the London Symphony Orchestra is now available from ALLEGRO MUSIC's catalog. Contact the composer for more information. MIDI files of selected excerpts are available directly from the composer upon request.
HistoryThe seeds for this romantic work were first planted in 1993 when O'Brien was commissioned by the CBS network to create an original orchestral piece for promotional use for the hit television series, "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman."

The results were the beautifully lyric melody, "Michaela's Theme," which forms the basis for this four movement suite. The work as a whole is written in the style of the traditional American Epic Film Score, capturing the feeling of the untamed American West of the early 1870's (just after the Civil War.)

This work received its first recording in 1993 by the PCF Studio Orchestra, Los Angeles, California. More recently, it has been recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra, July of 1996, Brynmor Llewelyn Jones, Conducting.

Originally conceived for a television studio orchestra, this suite was later expanded for the concert hall, which is as it appears in this recording.

O'Brien was awarded the 1994 BMI Film Scoring Scholarship to UCLA for this work.

ContributorDaniel O'Brien, Composer Member of the Society of Composers and Lyricists Creative Director of ALLEGRO MUSIC, a music production company in Los Angeles, California
Other

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