Help:Music Compositions

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How to Write an Article on a Music Composition

An article on a Music Composition provides basic factual information in narrative form. Length of article will vary considerably based on the importance, impact and consequence of the work on the Mennonite community and on those outside the denomination. Thus a work with a limited audience or impact may be described in 100 words, while a significant work that has lasting impact or controversy may approach 500 words. Brevity is best. For questions on style contact an editor or see GAMEO's Style Sheet for Authors.

Elements to be Considered

Standard description of the composition, which includes:

  • Title
  • Composer, librettist, songwriter, arranger
  • Genre
  • Performance requirements
  • Structure (movements, sections, arrangement of songs)
  • Date of premiere performance
  • Performer or performers
  • Occasion and location of premiere performance
  • Commissioning body

The above elements should describe the premiere performance of the work. Other aspects of the history of the composition, both before and after the premiere performance, could include the following:

  • Date or period of composition
  • History of composition process or commissioning process
  • Publisher; date of publication
  • Arrangements
  • Recordings, recording media (CD, vinyl, video, music streaming sites, etc.)
  • Performance and broadcast history
  • Use in other media such as film or television
  • Mennonite focus
  • Critical reception
  • Awards

Structure of the Article

Not all of the elements are required for the article but they should be considered. An article on music in non-classical genres will emphasize recordings and on-line distribution methods since premiere performances and publication may not be relevant.

Of primary importance is the impact description and this should take special note of connections related to Anabaptism or Mennonites, their Christian faith, culture or lifestyle. Background information on the use of Anabaptist / Mennonite themes by the composer, librettist or song writer should always be considered.

Example Article

Mennonite Piano Concerto.
CD Jacket

Mennonite Piano Concerto, Victor Davies, composer (born Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on 1 May 1939, BMus, Indiana). Scored for piano solo and orchestra in three movements: Sonata, Theme and Variations, and Rondo/Scherzo. Commissioned by the B. B. Fast Foundation to mark the 450th anniversary of the Mennonite faith. Premiere performance 27 October 1975 in Winnipeg by Irmgard Baerg, piano, William Baerg, conductor and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

Recorded by Irmgard Baerg, piano, and Boris Brott conducting members of the London Symphony Orchestra in 1983. The recording was used as the soundtrack for the film And When They Shall Ask (Dueck Productions, 1984). Issued as a Compact Disc recording, Campion Records, 1989. Arranged for two pianos by Suzanne Davies, Golden Toad Music, 1986.

The concerto was the brainchild of Benjamin Horch, who approached Victor Davies with the idea of creating a composition based on Mennonite Kernlieder. Davies was given a collection of tunes, from which he selected a number to use in the concerto. The first movement's two themes are based on "O Jesu, wieviel Gutes," and "Welchen Jubel, welche Freude;" the slow second movement uses "Wehrlos und Verlassen" as the basis for a set of variations; the third movement uses "Wie süss tönt Sabbatglockenklang" as the main source of inspiration, along with references to several other hymns. The work has been performed by a number of orchestras in Canada and the United States, and in North America and overseas in the two piano version. The recording has been featured on classical music radio programs in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

A notable performance occurred on 2 December 2012 when Leanne Regehr performed the piano concerto with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra on the occasion of the premiere performance of The Journey, a violin concerto by Victor Davies performed by Rosemary Siemens, a violinist born and raised in Plum Coulee, Manitoba. The violin concerto was commissioned by Elmer and Hilda Hildebrand in honor of the 50th anniversary of Golden West Radio, a broadcasting company based in Altona, Manitoba. Like the piano concerto, all three movements derive thematic material from hymns. Latin rhythms are introduced in the final movement to represent the presence of Mennonites in Central and South America.


Canadian Music Centre.

Davies, Victor. "A Non-Mennonite Writes a Mennonite Piano Concerto." In Sound in the Land: Essays on Mennonites and Music, edited by Maureen Epp and and Carol Ann Weaver. Kitchener, Ontario: Pandora Press, 2005: 95-99.

Nemerofsky, Gwenda, "Violinist's talent trumps unfocused presention." Winnipeg Free Press (3 December 2012): D3.

Additional Information

Victor Davies website.