Sheet Music available at:
Listen to "Sentimental Waltz" for Strings (4.9 MB mp3)
I wrote this "Sentimental Waltz" originally as a piece for solo piano and then orchestrated it for strings in May of 1992. We read through it with the original Octava Chamber Orchestra that year, however I didn't feel that the arrangement did the work justice so it was never performed. Since that time, it has been swimming around in my head in various forms until I finally put it to the modern equivalent of pen and paper in January 2009.
The overall structure is A-B-A. The first section is in Ab major and depicts a very Tchaikovsky-esque ballroom scene with rich harmonies that support a lilting melody. The bass line starts out as a bit of a tease but finally settles into the traditional "um" that the inner voices bounce off of with their "pa pas" that we expect in a waltz. The key signature for the middle section suggests Eb major however there is a surprising amount of chromaticism and modulations that depict the dancers getting a little woozy from a few too many spins, and a few too many trips to the punch bowl :)
Happily though, all is well as they manage to land on their feet when we cadence in C major. After this, we return to a recap of the first section with all the melodies and harmonies intact, with a few changes in the orchestration, and a little added pause before the final cadence.