The Shepherds Boy

The Shepherd’s Boy has been composed on request of ensemble Triomotion (Flute, Marimba and Vibraphone). The magical sound if this ensemble inspired me to write enchanting music. A fairy tale: ‘The Shepherd’s boy’ (Grimm brothers), inspired this composition. You hear the stars, water rising and the little bird flying around Diamond Mountain. Later I was asked to arrange the music for woodwind ensemble, that’s the music you hear with the video of sand-artist I. Boie.

The Shepherd-boy by Grimm, a little different. Music and Video.

The Shepherds’ Boy, TrioMotion, premiere Staatstheater Kassel 24 feb 2020.

Arrangement for Woodwind Quintet in C min

To learn more about the effect of orchestration on a composition, I started the experiment to write different orchestrations of this composition. I notice that the composition changes, new lines and ideas emerge while orchestrating differently. So, it’s not so much arranging, it’s really composing new orchestrations.

Below the story with a Belgium narrator:

De Herdersjongen, vrij naar Grimm met Nederlandse vertelstem.

The Shephers boy, Ensemble Pentason
Ensemble Pentason, Kassel,: Constanze Betzl (Flöte), Judith Gerdes (Oboe), Britta Jones (Klarinette), Jörg Partzsch (Fagott), Endre Todt (Horn)

Score and Parts (PDF):

Below: my learning environment on form, orchestration and words

Words, music and orchestration

To learn more about orchestration and the use of words in a composition, I rewrote part of the composition “Shepherd’s Boy’ for different orchestrations.

For example: after the words ‘he drank water from the river’, a crescendo with a lot of woodwinds just doesn’t make sense. I find that words have a very strong influence, I decided to have solo Vibraphone there when available.

Arrangement for Woodwind Quintet and Vibraphone/percussion

Te following experiments in orchestration and words are done to get more insight in the effects of adding instruments or words.

First: Just a small change in orchestration, adding 1 percussionist playing vibraphone.

Arrangement for WW5, (Vibraphone/percussion) and Strings

Adding strings to the woodwinds and percussionist, provides a very different feel. Strings have a lot of options that woodwinds have not. They add a sense of melancholy. A new melody in the bass developed using celli, because of the melancholic effect of the instrument.

Arrangement for Woodwind Quintet, Vibraphone/percussion and Voice

Adding a story teller voice to the orchestration woodwind5 with 1 percussionist.

Arrangement for WW5, Strings, Vibraphone/percussion and Soprano.

The Shepherd’s Boy (Grimm)

Once upon a time, there was a shepherd boy, whose fame spread far and wide because of the wise answers which he gave to every question. The King of the country heard of it likewise, but did not believe it, and sent for the boy.

Then the King said to him: “If thou canst give me an answer to three questions which I will ask thee, I will look on thee as my own child, and thou shall dwell with me in my royal palace.”

The boy said: “What are the three questions?”

My favorite book when I was a child ….

The King said: “The first is, how many drops of water are there in the ocean?”

The shepherd boy answered: “Lord King, if you will have all the rivers on earth dammed up so that not a single drop runs from them into the sea until I have counted it, I will tell you how many drops there are in the sea.”

The King said: “The next question is, how many stars are there in the sky?”

The shepherd boy said: “Give me a great sheet of white paper,” and then he made so many fine points on it with a pen that they could scarcely be seen, and it was all but impossible to count them; any one who looked at them would have lost his sight. Then he said: “There are as many stars in the sky as there are points on the paper; just count them.” But no one was able to do it.

The King said: “The third question is, how many seconds of time are there in eternity.”

Then said the shepherd boy: “In Lower Pomerania is the Diamond Mountain, which is two miles and a half high, two miles and a half wide, and two miles and a half in depth; every hundred years a little bird comes and sharpens its beak on it, and when the whole mountain is worn away by this, then the first second of eternity will be over.”

The King said: “Thou hast answered the three questions like a wise man, and shalt henceforth dwell with me in my royal palace, and I will regard thee as my own child.”

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