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What a Wonderful World (Weiss/Thiele)

arranged for solo marimba
Level: Med-Advanced
Duration: 3:40
State Lists: Florida | Texas
Release Date: 2019
Product ID : TSPCS19-010
Price: $19.00
Item #: TSPCS19-010

Formats Available:
Physical Only
Why is there no download version?

Description

Alex Stopa has created a beautiful rendition of one of history’s most beloved songs. Arranged for 5-octave marimba (playable on a 4.5-octave instruments with the included substitutions), this version honors the original with grace and idiomatic nuance, sure to be a highlight on percussion recitals, weddings, church services, or anywhere one might enjoy the marimba’s expressive qualities.

Louis Armstrong’s iconic recording of What a Wonderful World is loved and recognized by all. Remarkably, this peaceful pop ballad, with its uplifting and optimistic lyrics, was composed and recorded during a tumultuous period in American history.

In 1967, the Vietnam war was raging, Martin Luther King was campaigning for civil rights amid race riots around the country, and the “Summer of Love” brought nearly 100,000 youth (‘hippies,’ as they were known) to San Francisco. These events embodied a climate of intense social and political unrest in America.

Amidst this turmoil, at an all-night recording session in Las Vegas, Louis Armstrong recorded What a Wonderful World. Juxtaposed against this political and social turbulence, What a Wonderful World, with its positive message of peace and tolerance, could appear out of place. It seems to recall a simpler time. Musicians and artists, however, have long held up a mirror to society, and it’s quite likely that composer George Weiss and lyricist Bob Thiele wrote the song after seeing how Louis Armstrong’s music helped to bring people of different races together.

Over 50 years later, Louis Armstrong’s performance of What a Wonderful World continues to resonate with listeners. The lyrics retain their poignancy and serve as an enduring reminder of benevolence and the human spirit.

This arrangement for solo marimba leads the original melody through a few unexpected twists and turns, while showcasing the mellow and warm tonal nuances of the marimba. Harmonically, it draws influence from the jazz idiom for which Louis Armstrong was famous.

This piece ships in a printed, professionally bound folio with a full color cover.

Instrumentation

5-octave Marimba*

*This piece includes options that make it playable on a 4.5-octave (low F) instrument.

Reviews

Audiences love hearing arrangements of familiar and beloved tunes on the marimba, and “What a Wonderful World” lends itself well to the bass qualities of the instrument. This arrangement allows for the full use of the range of a five-octave marimba, as well as options for a 4.5-octave instrument, making it accessible to more players.

Pedagogically, this piece contains many of the things that an intermediate to advanced percussion student would be working on: grace notes, rolls, arpeggiated chords, etc. It is a good length at just under four minutes, and allows for a lot of artistic expression and interpretation. This arrangement uses quite a few four-note block chords, which will take a skilled performer to keep this light ballad from sounding heavy. The rubato nature of the music means that each per- former could truly make this piece their own with a wide range of interpretations.

The main theme is discernible through most of the piece, and audiences will be able to identify the tune right away. As such, this piece would make a fun encore for a percussion recital.

—Marilyn K. Clark Silva
Percussive Notes 
Vol. 58, No. 2, April 2020

Description

Alex Stopa has created a beautiful rendition of one of history’s most beloved songs. Arranged for 5-octave marimba (playable on a 4.5-octave instruments with the included substitutions), this version honors the original with grace and idiomatic nuance, sure to be a highlight on percussion recitals, weddings, church services, or anywhere one might enjoy the marimba’s expressive qualities.

Louis Armstrong’s iconic recording of What a Wonderful World is loved and recognized by all. Remarkably, this peaceful pop ballad, with its uplifting and optimistic lyrics, was composed and recorded during a tumultuous period in American history.

In 1967, the Vietnam war was raging, Martin Luther King was campaigning for civil rights amid race riots around the country, and the “Summer of Love” brought nearly 100,000 youth (‘hippies,’ as they were known) to San Francisco. These events embodied a climate of intense social and political unrest in America.

Amidst this turmoil, at an all-night recording session in Las Vegas, Louis Armstrong recorded What a Wonderful World. Juxtaposed against this political and social turbulence, What a Wonderful World, with its positive message of peace and tolerance, could appear out of place. It seems to recall a simpler time. Musicians and artists, however, have long held up a mirror to society, and it’s quite likely that composer George Weiss and lyricist Bob Thiele wrote the song after seeing how Louis Armstrong’s music helped to bring people of different races together.

Over 50 years later, Louis Armstrong’s performance of What a Wonderful World continues to resonate with listeners. The lyrics retain their poignancy and serve as an enduring reminder of benevolence and the human spirit.

This arrangement for solo marimba leads the original melody through a few unexpected twists and turns, while showcasing the mellow and warm tonal nuances of the marimba. Harmonically, it draws influence from the jazz idiom for which Louis Armstrong was famous.

This piece ships in a printed, professionally bound folio with a full color cover.

Instrumentation

5-octave Marimba*

*This piece includes options that make it playable on a 4.5-octave (low F) instrument.

Reviews

Audiences love hearing arrangements of familiar and beloved tunes on the marimba, and “What a Wonderful World” lends itself well to the bass qualities of the instrument. This arrangement allows for the full use of the range of a five-octave marimba, as well as options for a 4.5-octave instrument, making it accessible to more players.

Pedagogically, this piece contains many of the things that an intermediate to advanced percussion student would be working on: grace notes, rolls, arpeggiated chords, etc. It is a good length at just under four minutes, and allows for a lot of artistic expression and interpretation. This arrangement uses quite a few four-note block chords, which will take a skilled performer to keep this light ballad from sounding heavy. The rubato nature of the music means that each per- former could truly make this piece their own with a wide range of interpretations.

The main theme is discernible through most of the piece, and audiences will be able to identify the tune right away. As such, this piece would make a fun encore for a percussion recital.

—Marilyn K. Clark Silva
Percussive Notes 
Vol. 58, No. 2, April 2020



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