Jim Theobald

Symphony of American Folk Songs

Instrumentation2,2,2,BC,2; 2,2,1,1; Piano,Timpani, 1 or 2 Percussionists; Strings
Length18-20' (4 movements)
DifficultySome tricky rhythms, exposed winds, changing meters. It would be a handful for less experienced orchestras, but doable.
CommentsIt is an accessible piece with familiar themes: Oh Susannah!, On Top of Old Smokey, Frog Went a-Courtin' and I've Been Working on the Railroad. The audience seemed to enjoy it, as well as (most of) the orchestra.
SourcesJim Theobald jimtheob@verizon.net
HistoryCommissioned by David Bailey for the Lowell Philharmonic Orchestra. Premiered February 27, 1998 and repeated March 1, 1998
ContributorJim Theobald
OtherFrom David H. Bailey (dhbailey@ix.netcom.com): As the conductor of the orchestra that premiered this work, I can state that the audience loved it, it was a work that stretched the limits and abilities of my community orchestra, and it is MUCH, MUCH more than four cute folk songs run through a couple of times each. This is a TRUE symphony, with thematic development, musical worth and it amply repays the time spent learning it.

Jim Theobald has injected a lot of himself into this work, so it has become a much grander work than merely a medley of folk songs. It would make a great work for orchestras which tour foreign lands as an exemplar of American music for the concert stage. It ranks with all the other great works through the centuries which have been based on local folk songs expanded into concert music.

Plus Infinity

InstrumentationPiano 4 hands (required) plus any other instruments up to and including full orchestra.
LengthVariable. Minimum about 6 minutes
DifficultyLow piano and bass parts fairly difficult, other parts simple.
CommentsRated CG (conductor?s guidance suggested). For a large ensemble, this is a piece in which the conductor can be involved in determining aspects of the form. It?s a highly adventurous work which can be played by any ensemble; may not be suitable for audiences who fear contemporary music. The idea is that bass instruments may double the lower piano part in unison or at the octave. The bass part is written in 11 sections. The sections are played in order the first time through, then in any order, determined by the leader (conductor and/or bass part piano player). The right hand piano part is a series of 44 measures which can be played in any order, containing triads which can be played at any time by any treble instruments. Each instrument is free to play any of the pitches in the triad at any time, as long as the rhythmic structure of the triad?s measure is followed. This can be as predetermined or ad lib as desired. Percussion can play either with the bass or treble instruments, playing the rhythmic structures on non-pitched instruments. Anybody willing to take a risk?
SourcesThe composer: jimtheob@verizon.net
ExtrasSpecify what parts in what transpositions you wish.
HistoryBrand new.
ContributorJim Theobald

Concerto for Viola, Bass Drum, Prepared Piano and Winds (1978)

InstrumentationSolo Viola, 3 piccolos, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 Bb trumpets, F horn, trombone, tuba, prepared piano, bass drum.
Lengthca. 12 minutes, in three movements.
DifficultyDifficult for soloist, moderately difficult for ensemble.
CommentsThis is an unusual composition, in that there is a very small amount of material which is displayed in various colors. The sound is extremely unusual and the violist is required to play in an un-romantic and vehement style, a change of pace from the usual viola fare. It is certainly idiosyncratic enough to offend traditionalists and possibly to excite the adventurous.
Sourcesfrom the composer, send requests for information to: jimtheob@verizon.net
ExtrasA taped synthesizer performance is available on request.
HistoryNever performed. Written for a violist who didn't play it.
ContributorThe composer, Jim Theobald

Concerto for Flute

InstrumentationSoloist playing flute, alto flute and piccolo, Bb Clarinet, Trombone, Tuba, Electronic organ, strings, trap set.
Lengthca. 15 minutes (3 movements)
CommentsFairly accessible, in a somewhat jazzlike idiom.
SourcesFrom the composer, send requests for information to: jimtheob@verizon.net
ExtrasSynthesized tape available on request.
HistoryNever performed. Haven't found an ensemble.
ContributorThe composer, Jim Theobald

A Sordid, Undefinable Stench: Five Tableaux after H. P. Lovecraft

InstrumentationFull Orchestra: Piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, Eb clarinet, 3 Bb clarinets (1 doubles bass clarinet),2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 C trumpets, 2 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, organ, piano, 4 percussionists, strings
Length15-20 minutes (somewhat variable)
DifficultyRequires good college level and above performers familiar with contemporary music
CommentsThis is a giant. Might be useful for Halloween concert. Really over-the-top music, somewhat in the spirit of Charles Ives. Really only for adventurous groups and audiences.

5 Movements:

1. The Horror at Red Hook
2. The Colour out of Space
3. The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
4. At the Mountains of Madness
5. Innsmouth
SourcesScore is free to download from my website, http://www.jimtheobald.com. Click on Free Music and then Orchestra.
ExtrasTalk to me if you want a MIDI realization -- really does not do it justice, though.
HistoryI have been thinking about this piece for over 20 years -- it took me several years to write as well.
ContributorJim Theobald, Greatest Living Composer in History (TM)

Parallel Universes

Instrumentation2 flutes, 2 C trumpets, 2 bassoons, 2 pianos, Strings, 2 sets of percussion (pitched and non-pitched) divided into two equal-sized groups
Length8' 11"
CommentsThe idea behind the piece is that there are two orchestras, one in our universe and one in a "parallel" universe. They start out playing the same piece, but gradually diverge -- one orchestra is "evil" and the other is "good." There are opportunities for slapstick.
Sourcesscore available to download as a pdf from http://www.jimtheobald.com
click on free music, chamber orchestra
ExtrasMIDI file available on demand
HistoryYou can be the "World Premier!!!"
ContributorJim Theobald - The Greatest Living Composer in History (TM)

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