New Music Friday: Sunday Afternoon

Sunday Afternoon is a whimsical piece that appeals to all ages. It is a musical bonbon that recalls a bygone era when Sunday afternoon, traditionally a time for leisure, was set aside for family fun. It pays musical homage to such time-honored traditions as a relaxing drive in the family automobile, a backyard barbecue, or a bracing walk in the spring woods. Its bouncy rhythms and upbeat melodies reference the feeling of wind rushing through our hair or the laughter of family members as games are played, and memories are shared.

Sunday Afternoon is targeted at advancing beginner and intermediate string ensembles and works for young and mature players alike. All parts are placed in the lower positions, and while there are appropriate challenges throughout the piece, it is intuitively scored and suitably “playable.” It is written idiomatically for strings, with interesting parts for all players. With its lilting, infectious themes, Sunday Afternoon is spirited, fun to play, and will be a favorite with audiences and players alike.

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About Sunday Afternoon

One of the charms of this piece is the constant tug-of-war between the triplets and the straight eighth notes. It is essential to clearly distinguish between the two, as the players may fall into the trap of “swinging” the straight eighth-note passages. The dotted eighth-sixteenth note figures should be fairly relaxed in their execution, with a swing feel, rather than a clipped, rigid style.


About R. Scott Whittington

R. Scott Whittington composes for string orchestra, full orchestra, band, choir, and chamber ensembles. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, and currently resides in Hamilton, Ontario. He is a member of the Canadian League of Composers.


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