New England Sextets
by Frank A. Wallace
three movements for guitar orchestra in six parts
Preview: a sample PDF of New England Sextets
Duration: 9 minutes; 20 pages
Difficulty level: Easy; mostly single notes, extended range for some parts
Instrumentation: 6 classical guitars
Commissioned by: John Zevos for the Timberlane Regional High School Guitar Orchestra
Written: fall, 2010
World premiere: December, 2010 by Timberlane Regional High School Guitar Orchestra
With great appreciation to Chuck Hulihan, director of the Glendale Community College Guitar Sextet
New England Sextets were originally conceived as a suite for guitar orchestra of 12 or more. It was subsequently arranged for mandolin orchestra or quartet without bass in which the guitar part takes on a larger roll and is consequently more difficult. The three movements are in contrasting styles, basically slow, fast, slow with the inner movement being a bluesy and clashing vamp and the outer two are in a contrapuntal style, each part playing single lines. Some high notes above the 12th fret.
North Branch On an irregular basis I drive to Keene NH on Rt. 9 from Antrim. It is not dramatic, like the Tetons, but it is as beautiful a drive as one could wish for. It begins at Steele Pond, periodically encounters the North Branch River on the right as it tumbles over New Hampshire’s famous granite boulders; raging in a spring thaw, timid and nearly stifled in a late summer heat wave; beautifully filling an ancient Cedar swamp and meandering through many a meadow.
Loveren Mill Off to the right, invisible to the passing car, is the site of old Loveren Mill. long gone, I imagine it’s noisy hay day. Saws filling the mill with timber that were loudly hacked into boards. Not a pretty sight for a tree hugger! Thus the noisy, bluesy chords that characterize this piece.
Monadnock Towards the end of this 30 minute trip one sees the not-so-majestic Mt. Monadnock, mysteriously the most climbed mountain in the world. For this Californian, I always thought this mere bump in the horizon was not worthy of the crown – until last August my son finally challenged me. The mountain almost won! But I made it and discovered its power. On top, it is truly a king! With a 360 degree view, bitter winds, and barren rocky nooks for cold climbers to nestle in, it deserves its reputation. My piece can be seen as a hike to the top that starts with a distant view of its rolling and lovely profile.