Works suitable for high school final exams

Many of my works have been regularly performed for final year high school or university/college recitals. Often such recitals have strict requirements as to the length of the works that may be performed (this is currently the case with the HSC in NSW, the VCE in Victoria, as well as matriculation exams in other Australian states).

The following is a list of works from my catalogue that may be suitable for such exams.

This list is a suggestion only. I can’t count the number of times that ‘professional’ musicians have told me that a piece is too difficult to play, only to find five years later that students at school are performing it extremely well.

>Please note: often I am asked to recommend further cuts to a work if it is too long for a particular examination requirement. Generally I don’t mind a few cuts. It’s best if the player decides for themselves the best place to cut, and then they may contact me if they are unsure whether it will work or not.

of Work
Instrumentation Notes
Basement Art Guru and other pieces Solo violin 4 mvts, each may be played separately.
Repetepetition not too difficult (grade 7?), others more challenging.
Song of Life Solo violin Slow tempo, requires a singing tone. Chords but not too difficult.
Little Chrissietina’s Magic Fantasy 2 violins or violin + piano Quite difficult but a very popular work. Shows off each of the performers very well, particularly if there are great ensemble skills on show.
“Grand Final Day” from Violin Concerto Vioin and piano reduction Difficult but showy and rewarding. Students have won eisteddfods with this piece.
Baroquerie violin and piano or violin and harpsichord Each of the 3 mvt.s may be played independently.
FourScore four violins Difficulty = between grade 6 and above.
Piano Trio violin, cello, piano The 3rd mvt. is quite showy but not wildly difficult for the violin and cello.  The first mvt. is very difficult for the pianist.  The 2nd mvt. is slow and beautiful, with a melodic role at some stage for each of the performers.
techno logic string quartet with optional electronics The 1st mvt. of this piece features the cellist in a soloistic role.  Mvts. 2, 3 and 4 are fast, very rhythmic and very much inspired by techno music.  Mvt. 5 is slow and beautiful after a cello introduction.  This piece has been performed with the addition of a didjeridu and it worked very well.
Five Movements for Saxophone Quartet saxophone quartet The final movement, GameBoy Music, is the most suited for a final performance.  It requires very good players, particularly for the melodic soprano saxophone part.
Night Pieces oboe and piano, or soprano saxophone and piano Two movements.  The first movement is short (2 minutes or so) and so the second movement, “Night Dance” is probably most suitable for this purpose.  It utilizes quarter tones in an ornamental way so would stand out in a larger programme.
By Jingoes oboe and piano Quite easy for all concerned.  Duration is about 2 1/2 minutes.
GameBoy Music clarinet in Bb and piano Virtuosic for the clarinet player. The piano accompaniment isn’t particularly simple either.
Siegfried Interlude No. 2 clarinet in Bb and piano or soprano sax and piano 3 minute duration.  Reasonably challenging for the performers.
Nintendo Music clarinet in A and piano Some challenging parts for both the clarinet and piano parts, particularly in the ‘boss’ section. The work follows the structures of a typical NES platform game, so you’d want to ensure that the examiners could follow what is going on.
In Search of Ecstasy alto saxophone and piano or tenor saxophone and piano Especially written for this level of performance. Alternates between slow, serene sections and fast, loud, techno-esque material.
Ignition: Positive Trumpet in C and piano or alto saxophone and piano Written for this level of performance.  The slow opening introduction may be easily cut for time reasons. The rest of the work is informed by techno music styles.
Jungle Fever Tenor saxophone and piano or cello and piano Not as hyperactive as many of my other works, being slightly more introspective in places. Challenging for the performers, particularly the pianist who has to jump around in the left hand a bit. 
Love Serenade Bassoon and piano or cello and piano At 8 minutes, it may be a little long for the syllabus requirements of many music exams, but if the performer is expressive with a beautiful tone, this piece will come across very well.
Granny Town French horn and piano or alto saxophone and piano or tenor saxophone and piano. Not too difficult at all for the instrumental soloists.
Yandarra Double bass and piano Some cuts will be required but double bassists have told me that it’s a very effective work for their instrument and comes across well.  Challenging for the bassist.
AK-47 Solo piano with optional electronic bass drum This work is very virtuosic, requiring fingers of steel and strong arms. However it is usually stunning in performance.
Moments of Plastic Jubilation Solo piano A difficult piece in some places but very rhythmic and based upon a strong sense of fun.  If it lasts more than 5 minutes performance time, you’re playing it too slow.  Cuts should not be needed in this piece.
Plastic Jubilation Piano with CD backing track The first mvt. fits very much into the time frame.  Based upon Moments of Plastic Jubilation but not quite as technically difficult, much practice is needed to co-ordinate exactly with the CD in performance.
Mechanically Speaking Solo piano A strong sense of rhythm will enable a very effective performance of this piece.
Silent Movie Solo piano Shortish work, probably about
Grade 5 in difficulty. Somewhat informed by ragtime and pianola music, this piece has a jolly character.