Toy Chest:: https://soundcloud.com/chris-neiner/toy-chest-2015
When arranging Toy Chest for flute, clarinet, and piano, I struggled to arrange the horn and violin parts for the woodwinds. (I had decided to not alter the piano part.) Often, the horn part was too low for either the flute or the clarinet. Passages utilizing violin pizzicato and muted horn needed equivalent color ideas in the later version.
An early solution was to use the bass clarinet, but I quickly abandoned this idea in favor of using the lowest possible note on the typical Bb clarinet. There was never a good place for the clarinetist to switch between instruments and only using bass clarinet seemed like a bad idea. However, I did find the use of the piccolo to be very applicable. Color issues were solved by using slap tongue on the clarinet and pizzicato technique on the flute. Both techniques produce sharp, percussive pops by quickly articulating notes with greater use of the tongue. Opportunity seeking led me to exploit the dexterity of the clarinet with rapid descending scales at a pace not idiomatic for horn or violin.
Toy Chest was arranged specifically for my friend Samantha Tartamella. She and her ensemble will premiere the arrangement on April 24 at Bowling Green University
Music with Oliver: https://soundcloud.com/chris-neiner/music-with-oliver-ssmf-2015
Musical changes in Music for Oliver are best explained with score excerpts that show the differences quite clearly.
For exemplary arrangement models, I look to Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin for piano or chamber orchestra and Jennifer Higdon’s Fanfare Ritmico for orchestra or wind ensemble.