Today I started scoring the Bourree Fantasque excerpt for strings for the 50th Anniversary re-release of Professional Orchestration: A Practical Handbook by Joseph Wagner. Here’s a screen shot of it:

Bourree Fantasque. Listen to the MP3, then download the free brochure.
For the first six and a half bars, the melody falls into the range allowing for Vlns 1 + Vlns 2 + Violas + Cellos. This is a big sound used effectively by Holst in The Planets and Bizet in his L’Arlesienne Suites (see Professional Orchestration 2A for both examples under the String Unisons section). However, at bars 7-8, the unison can only continue with Violas + Cellos since the low F is not playable by the violins.

For fun, I tested Vlns 1 + Vlns 2 + Violas + Cellos on these opening bars using the EastWest QLSO Platinum with the new PLAY player. I used a spiccato “round robin” program to handle the repeated notes.

What a glorious sound!

But the “trouble” begins on bars 6-7 where the violins must drop out. Even with a sampled library playing the lines, you go from power to drop off to full ensemble. And it’s noticeable. The ear is immediately drawn to it.

Is the drop out intentional? Or is the orchestrator a complete boob?

Choices!

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