Ma tovu : concert band
by Malcolm Tattersall (2001)
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Library shelf no. 784.8088054/TAT 1 [Available for loan]
The theme is known in Hebrew as 'Ma Tovu' (The text translates as, 'How good are your tents, Jacob; your dwelling place Israel.') and in English as 'What a Goodly Thing' ( '... If the children of all men/Could sing together/In peace.'); no doubt other sets of words also exist. I have used both versions of the melody as well as a variant of my own.
A smoothly flowing crotchet pulse is desirable, but it must not be allowed to become too slow; the movement may be felt as a slow two-in-a-bar but never a slow four.
Instrumentation: 2 flutes (or/and oboes), 3 clarinets in B flat, 2 alto saxophones in E flat, tenor saxophone in B flat, bass clarinet (or/and baritone saxophone or/and bassoon), 2 trumpets in B flat, horn in F, trombone (or baritone), tuba, drums, suspended cymbal, glockenspiel (doubling 1st flute). (See also 'Other Info')
Duration: 2 min.
Difficulty: Easy — Primary/lower secondary student ensemble, level 1
First performance: 2001. Townsville
‘Ma Tovu’ is one of a series of works for small and perhaps poorly balanced primary or lower secondary school wind groups. The only essential parts are Flute 1, Clarinet 1, and Alto Sax 1. The other parts may all be added freely (i.e. any combination should be satisfactory) though I have assumed that the group will be stronger in upper woodwind than any other section. The non-essential parts do not simply double the essential parts but enrich the harmonies, add countermelodies and help build the dynamic shape: the more complete and balanced the band, the more effective the piece will become. All clarinets stay below the break and ranges of the other instruments are similarly limited to what might be expected of children towards the end of their first year of study. Rhythms are simple but a comparatively high level of rhythmic independence is required.
Performances of this work
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