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Works in Progress: Senior / Neige, for string orchestra
« Last post by Michel.R.E on Today at 01:47:51 PM »
This is the commissioned work for string orchestra on which I am working. It's going on tour in Italy next Spring.

Unfortunately, I can't provide a recording at this time (playback is... awkward, as you will see from the score).
I'll have to make a completely different file for some sort of faked playback. No time for that right now, I have to finish composing it, and then prepare the orchestral material.

But here's the score, I thought it might amuse you to see me take on aleatoric techniques " la Michel". The material is tonal throughout, polyharmonic in parts, mostly modal really.

It's meant to be a sort of "tone poem", a programmatic work, suggestive of certain events.

The title "Neige" means, quite literally, "snow", and as such the work describes various states of emotion and actions related to snow, mostly seen through the innocent eyes of a child.

It opens with walking through dried fallen leaves, with a grey sky that contains the promise of the first snow. There's an "alone-ness" to the opening section.

The wind picks up (harmonic glissandi and tremolo arpeggios), and leads into the first snowfall - the pizzicato passage.
The players enter one after another, on undefined rhythms in an undefined tempo. The only thing that is "defined" is the cello and bass part which is dictated, and the changes of harmony which are dictated as well.

The effect of those pizzicati is of a large sustained tonal cluster.

The snow winds down, and the crystal landscape is revealed under a bright sun, with tremolo strings and a melody in the violas and celli.

Out of the tremolo strings come Snow Angels, which begin a fugue subject. The fugue ends with a brief reverse-style recapitulation of its introduction.

The tempo speeds up, and we're heading down a hill on a toboggan, full tilt.
This passage MAY be challenging for the younger musicians in the group, although considering the solo works they are preparing for their exams there's really no reason for this to be difficult.

The last section, which I now need to compose, will be a restatement of the very opening of the work, but as an orchestral tutti, and with a more "major, tonal" harmonic feel to it. At least, that's the plan.

So the score is attached, hopefully some time soon I'll be able to include a recording of sorts. The playback as it is is really awful, and the aleatoric passages, needless to say,  are a complete non-starter.
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Chit Chat / Re: Writing, but a bit frustrated
« Last post by Michel.R.E on Yesterday at 11:52:54 AM »
now I have the first full page (3 systems) of the toboggan ride done. I'm liking it. now, the question is whether the young musicians will be able to handle it or not.
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Works in Progress: Senior / Re: The Apple Tree (w/Ron)
« Last post by Michel.R.E on Yesterday at 10:05:07 AM »
Jamie: just warn the conductor to NEVER look at the percussionist, it only encourages them.

And Terrance: somehow, I doubt you actually use brown paper saxophones as well! (I'm a literalist at heart)
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Works in Progress: Senior / Re: The Apple Tree (w/Ron)
« Last post by Jamie Kowalski on Yesterday at 09:25:43 AM »
I favour the subtle dig: "for 11 musicians, and percussion"

Ha! I'm a little worried the percussionist might take that to mean a percussion concerto.
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Works in Progress: Senior / Re: The Apple Tree (w/Ron)
« Last post by tbmartin on Yesterday at 08:54:05 AM »
I would like to point out that alignment between titles and actual numbers of musicians (percussion or otherwise) is hardly required. Starting in the mid-1980s, the Big Ten college athletic conference has had 10, 11, 12, and 14 members, yet has never changed its name. The Big 8 conference started with 8 schools, expanded to 12 and renamed itself "The Big 12" and has now shrunk to 10 and is still called the Big 12.

"Brown Paper Sax", my sax ensemble, bills itself as a quartet, yet we frequently have 5 players.

I think I'll go compose a waltz. I'm considering putting it in 5/4...
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Works in Progress: Senior / Re: The Apple Tree (w/Ron)
« Last post by Michel.R.E on Yesterday at 08:32:23 AM »
I favour the subtle dig: "for 11 musicians, and percussion"
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Works in Progress: Senior / Re: The Apple Tree (w/Ron)
« Last post by Jamie Kowalski on Yesterday at 06:44:52 AM »
Go ahead and keep the percussionist and still call it an Undectet - Percussionists aren't real musicians anyway.  (Running for cover....  ;-)  )

Well our percussionist damn well better be!  :police:

In any case, I'll settle for "dodectet." It's almost as good.
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Works in Progress: Senior / Re: The Apple Tree (w/Ron)
« Last post by tbmartin on Yesterday at 05:41:36 AM »
The orchestra is 12 players: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, 2 violins, viola, cello, bass, harp, and percussion. I just added the percussion, though part of me wanted 11 players just so I could call it an Undectet -- my new favorite word.


Go ahead and keep the percussionist and still call it an Undectet - Percussionists aren't real musicians anyway.  (Running for cover....  ;-)  )
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Works in Progress: Senior / Re: The Apple Tree (w/Ron)
« Last post by Jamie Kowalski on August 14, 2017, 04:22:38 PM »
More great advice. Thank you, Michel.
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Works in Progress: Senior / Re: The Apple Tree (w/Ron)
« Last post by Michel.R.E on August 14, 2017, 02:11:47 PM »
Jamie: one thing about writing for voice is the concept of "holes" in the orchestral texture. By leaving space within a texture for the voice, an area where no other instrument will be playing at that moment, you create a means by which the voice can sing through a denser orchestration. Also, don't forget that a trained voice CAN project quite strongly.

and don't be shy to double vocal lines with instrumental lines. often doubling in another octave is the more effective method.

(and I've been told by a number of people that oboe is NOT a good voice-doubling instrument)
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