It was on Christmas Eve in 2017 that I performed my Opus 06 at the Moody Church in Chicago for their Christmas Eve service. After the service, I was approached by a violist in the orchestra who said how impressed he was with the piece I had performed. He said, “We really should have you play this with our orchestra next year.” Several weeks later, I e-mailed him asking him if he remembered this invitation, saying “I’d like to get the performance on my calendar.” He replied, “That would be great — go ahead and put it on your calendar for December 8, 2018.” In a subsequent correspondence, I asked, “Well, while we’re at it, maybe I could write a concerto for hammered dulcimer and orchestra and add a little bit more “HD” to the concert.” He replied that would be fantastic! And thus began the creation of my Opus 07.
Christmas Concerto for Hammered Dulcimer, Strings & Percussion is a unique suite of four beloved Christmas Carols. Each movement is named for a different aspect of God’s relationship with us: Father, Son, Spirit, and Savior:
I. God (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen)
II. Son (Lullay my Liking)
III. Spirit (Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming)
IV. Savior (Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel)
It was my idea to create four movements featuring carols that are very special to me. These four seemed to tie together the Christmas theme, as well as introduce the audience to two carols they likely seldom, if ever, had heard. I opened and closed with well-known carols. The two middle carols were intended to stretch the audiences’ knowledge of what a traditional Christmas Carol is.
Opus 07 was my very first commission for the Lake County Symphony Orchestra as their Composer in Residence. I hope you enjoy Christmas Concerto for Hammered Dulcimer, Strings, and Percussion.
- Hammered Dulcimer: 19/16
- Strings: 8-8-4-3-2
- Percussion: four players (non-dedicated tympanist)
- Running time: Approximately 20 minutes.
Composed for the Lake County Symphony Orchestra, Greater Chicago
Ron Arden – Artistic Director
Dedicated to Anthony Allo, my high school band director & mentor in the 1970s.
With very special thanks to Ron Arden, Joshua Messick, Josh Williamson,
and Keith Moss for their immeasurable help in producing this score.