Sky Horse by Daniel Daly

January 27, 2021  |   Posted In

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Sky Horse By Daniel Daly

Duration: 5 minutes
Grade Level: 5

While composing Sky Horse: for string orchestra, my goal was to give the performers something to dig in to. The result is a very fast piece with abundant bow strokes and syncopations, and a mixture of strong, tutti playing and lyrical counterpoint.

Formally, the piece is a rondo, a classical genre in which an ear-catching theme keeps coming back after episodes of contrasting music. My primary theme features the entire orchestra playing together in octaves as the contrabasses let fly triple stops at full volume. After this, a joyous and song-like melody emerges in the second violin, and is soon taken up by the firsts. The remaining instrumentalists dip in and out of the conversation with gestures that shimmer and tease.

The piece’s most contrasting episode occurs at the structural midpoint, and is a dance reminiscent of Piazzolla—an early contributor to my love of music! After that, it’s back to the races as the primary theme sounds in a new key.

The title, Sky Horse, is the result of free association. As I listened to the music, the image that arose in my mind was a horse – winged, muscled, and armored – racing through the air, exuding boldness and bravura. I hope that each ensemble that performs Sky Horse experiences similar joy, strength, and confidence while playing the music.

The work was premiered in 2019 by the award-winning South Salem High School String Orchestra, of Oregon, under the direction of Damian Berdakin.

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Additional information

Weight 0.1 lbs
Dimensions 0.004 × 11 × 17 in

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