Sandra Dackow is one of the premier arrangers of string music. Her arrangements, published by Tempo Press, include the 1812 Overture, Slava!, the Rienzi Overture, St. Anthony Chorale, Mother Ginger, and Tschaikowsky's Symphony #2. Click on the link below to ask her a question about her work.
Click here to ask Sandra Dackow. Before you ask though, browse through our past questions to see if your question has already been answered.
Question: I was in your orchestra at Interlochen this past summer, and I just wanted to tell you that you are the best conductor I've ever had! How do you do it? How did you arrange Russian Easter Overture?
Answer: Thank you for your kind words. Russian Easter will be released in print any day now; I'm glad you enjoyed it. I try to find the "essence" of a piece which I would like to arrange and try to imagine what the original composer would do if he had to write a shorter or less difficult version. Even if the arrangement is easier, it should still have structural logic and be exciting and rewarding to play.
Question: My orchestra's and I love playing your arrangements. I have a freshman orchestra that has a harpist. Do you have any arrangements that have harp parts that we could perform? They can play grade 4 and above music. Thanks
Answer: All of my full orchestra arrangements have harp parts. For string orchestra, a great piece for harp is O Mio babbino Caro (Puccini). A very easy arrangement of mine with harp is Mozart's Sleigh Ride (both a string orchestra and a full orchestra version)
Question: Next week I will be the guest conductor at a music festival and will conduct Serenade No.9 "Posthorn" (your arrangement for string orchestra). I just received the score and don't know where to start. In general when I am conducting I would get a score, some recordings and a story about the piece and the reasons why it was written but in this case I just have few lines of information at the beginning of the score I think I need a little more resources to teach it and to make it an enjoyable experience for the kids in just a one day seminar. Are there possible tricks, stories, tempos and ways to make it fun? The orchestra will have at least 150 junior string players in it.
Answer: The arrangement is of the final movement of a delightful work written to celebrate the end of final exams at the University at Salzburg. Get all of the quarter notes off the string and at the frog and use a LOT of bow for the eighth notes - exactly the opposite of what the kids will be inclined to do. Get the first violins to really scrub the eighth note passages. The piece will rush unless the eighth notes are strong and everyone is held to feeling the subdivision. Make the dynamic contrasts extreme. The first note should explode - it should sound as though it was shot out of a cannon. This is obviously a high energy piece and an energized and robust performance is the goal. I would personally spend 95% of the rehearsal getting the right hand (bowing, energy and articulation) issues in place for the piece to really work
Question: I have
three different orchestras at my school. The lowest level
Answer: The question is too long to get into in a short reply. I've writen a dissertaton on the topic which deals with arranging and writing for student orchestras in considerable detail - "Writing and Arranging for Young Orchestras" You may find it interesting. You can get it through Dissertations International in Ann Arbor (they've recently changed their name but are still in Ann Arbor) either by getting your library to borrow a copy or purchasing one .
I've given a number of clinics on the topic - if you send your address I'll send you a clinic handout.
Good luck with your work!
Question: I am looking for a recording/CD of "Allegro from the Concerto Grosso,Op.6,No.1" Thank you, Iris Haynes
Answer: There should be a number of commercial recordings available, usually a boxed set of the entire Opus 6; check with an online catalogue such as Tower or call their 800 phone number. A recording of the arrangement (a free CD) can be sent to you if you call Tempo Press at 1-866-91-TEMPO; as I have several concerto grosso arrangements, be sure to specify Composer, Opus # and concerto #
Thanks for your interest.
Question: How does one request the free sample CDs of arrangements that include easy/open string parts?
Answer: Give a call to Tempo Press at 1-866-91-TEMPO and request the CD's which include: 1812 Overture Orpheus in the Underworld William Tell I think they are on two of three separate CD's; you may want to request all five of my sample CD's while you are at it. These CD's are free and, since they are not commercial, selections can be duplicated on cassette or CD and sent home with your students for listening, practicing, etc.
Question: I am a big fan of your arrangements and love conducting them at my middle school. I am starting to prepare for next school year and would like to know what new arrangements you are planning to do that will be available.
Answer: Thank you for your interest in my arrangements. I have several new full orchestra works in the pipeline but I'm not sure they will be ready for release in the fall. It's been a busy year of traveling for me which means I get less accomplished as an arranger. The most recent arrangements I've had published include:
Mozart "Sleigh Ride: String Orchestra Grade 2
Thanks for your interest in my work. If you have not received demo CD's and sample scores, nearly all of my arrangements are available as FREE samples from Tempo Press 1-866-91-TEMPO which will be sent to you if you call.
Good luck with your work, Sandra Dackow
Question: I am a violin teacher with a studio of about 35 children and 10 adults in Kingston, Jamaica. The levels range from beginners to level 6. We have one cellist and one bassist that assist us to form a chamber ensemble. We are currently working on your 1812 Festival Edition for performance in a few weeks. This edition seemed to work well as there were easy and beginning violin parts...as well as the fact that the music was interesting enough to hold the attention of children used to reggae music...smile. What are some of your other arrangements that would work well in a third-world country ...where the emphasis is on heavy rhythms and tuneful melodies?
Answer: Thanks your for your interest in my work. I currently have three festival edition which have easier or open string parts along with regular parts, as well as optional percussion parts should you be working with a huge group. Tempo Press can send a set of FREE sample scores and CD's to you so you can evaluate them yourself and see which ones might meet your needs. Your students would probably enjoy my other festival arrangements which include the Overture to William Tell and the Overture to Orpheus in the Underworld, both tunes the parents would love as well.
Thanks, Sandra Dackow