Author Topic: 2nd cello sonata (new version, old work)  (Read 1713 times)

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Michel.R.E

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2nd cello sonata (new version, old work)
« on: December 03, 2016, 09:39:41 PM »
I've had trouble getting any doublebass players interested in my sonata for that instrument.
As a friend of mine said, there are very few contrabassists that solo these days. She recommended I try making a version for cello. Well, I did. It's a bit different, that's for sure. The low pizz parts in the bass version don't have the same impact in the cello version. And of course, since the bass is tuned in 4ths and the cello in 5ths, I had to alter a number of melodic lines to tone down the fingering difficulty.

I had also decided to dramatically rewrite the ending of the bass version, so here in the cello version you get to hear the slightly more "brilliant" ending of the sonata.

so here's the 2nd cello sonata "Amaterasu", based on the Japanese myth.

Still in 6 movements, the recording is in 2 parts.

1st part of the recording
1) Amaterasu (this represents the sunrise and the journey of the sun goddess across the sky) functions as the sonata-allegro introduction of themes
2) Susano-o (the god of storm and mischief, brother to Amaterasu) functions as the first half of the scherzo
3) Sibling Rivalry, the 2nd half of the scherzo, more dissonant and rhythmically unstable.

2nd part of the recording
4) Omoikane, the Adagio movement, in the original conception ballet version this was the pas-de-deux.
5) Ama-no-uzume, is a set of three dances, progressively faster: dance of heart, dance of mind, and dance of gods.
6) Hinode (Sunrise), is the finale, a sort of passacaglia. I've added quite a few measures to the end, in the hopes that it renders that scintillating impression I want. The idea is of brilliant light, unbearable to look at.

The score is still a bit messy, some octave shifts in the cello version as compared to the bass version screwed up some of the spacing.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

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sandalwood

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Re: 2nd cello sonata (new version, old work)
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2016, 05:25:13 AM »
Thanks Michel. This also made me recall how much I had admired the original ballet music.

Listening to the ending I thought it does convey the idea of "unbearable light". Having read the program must have helped, of course :). At any rate it is a nice dramatic finale.

Is the piano a bit soft and dull in the second part of the recording?

Periwink

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Re: 2nd cello sonata (new version, old work)
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2016, 05:26:12 AM »
Awesome. The piano part is written so beautifully, the IV movement I love in particular, such a great build up. The ending is also really good, you definitely succeeded there (those bass notes in the cello starting in m.526 work really well for me).
I don't think I've heard the original bass version before, only the orchestral version. Really nice, I hope this gets a performance fast!
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Michel.R.E

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Re: 2nd cello sonata (new version, old work)
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2016, 06:33:55 AM »
thank-you both.

for the recording, yes it's quite possible that the playback of the piano is somewhat off as far as volume is concerned. I don't know why I am having so much trouble with playback in this file.

I might have to make myself a new "blank" document, and copy the music into it. This is also not the cello I wanted. I wanted to use my Gofriller Solo library, but for some odd reason when I try to change it in this file it transposes it all off by an octave. So obviously, something to do with this having originally been for doublebass (except the bass sample I used in the original recording was a pre-transposed sample, already sounding off by an octave).

I'll figure something out.

Periwink, I hope it gets a performance as well. I've been trying and trying to get the bass version performed, but with absolutely no interest coming from any of the soloists I've approached. I know more cellists, so maybe more luck in that direction.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

mjf1947

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Re: 2nd cello sonata (new version, old work)
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2016, 08:44:20 AM »
DELIGHTFUL

Michel a quick review ..... lush, lush, and more lush ........................!

What a powerful/lovely impressionistic work.

Both parts Cello and Piano so intricately and beautifully woven together.


Mark

« Last Edit: December 04, 2016, 08:46:46 AM by mjf1947 »

Michel.R.E

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Re: 2nd cello sonata (new version, old work)
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2016, 09:05:30 AM »
thank-you so much, Mark!

"impressionistic".. yes! I guess it is, isn't it.
I think I really liked mixing so many disparate elements into a single work - the atonality, the romanticism, the polyharmony, the counterpoint, the exotic modes... I think I even surprised myself with how well it seems to be all integrated. I don't think any particular element clashes with any other.

one nice thing: having a strong formal narrative to follow was - in this particular case - quite liberating.

At some point I will rewrite the ballet, starting from the sonata, but really doing more than simply orchestrating it. I think some of the passages need to be lengthened to work really well as a ballet.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2016, 04:46:55 PM by Michel.R.E »
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

RJB54

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Re: 2nd cello sonata (new version, old work)
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2016, 07:07:18 AM »
This version works well and I enjoyed it.

However, I think, for me, some aspects worked better in the Bass sonata. The low parts, as you mentioned, would have more 'presence' there, and the harmonics, in the first movement in particular, would, I think, have a more haunting effect from the bass rather than the cello.

But, then again, that's a small price to pay to have a greater possibility of getting the piece performed, of course.
Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is THE BEST.
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Michel.R.E

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Re: 2nd cello sonata (new version, old work)
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2016, 07:35:12 AM »
Robert, I completely agree with you. There IS something of that depth missing when played by a cello rather than a contrabass, particularly the pizzicato moments.

And the entire opening was designed to be played in natural harmonics, none of which are playable on the cello, so that will alter the sound of the opening considerably. There's something a little more ethereal about natural harmonics than artificial/stopped harmonics.

but as you said, if it opens doors for performances, who am I to complain. after all, I did turn a clarinet sonata into a violin sonata.


[edited to clarify the 2nd paragraph]
« Last Edit: December 08, 2016, 12:12:28 AM by Michel.R.E »
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

SethT888

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Re: 2nd cello sonata (new version, old work)
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2016, 03:33:15 PM »
Micheal, this is a beautiful work. I didn't hear the double bass version so can't compare them, but I don't detect anything missing. I really liked the way you got the cello and piano parts talking back and forth to each other in  a number of places. The rising sun chords in the opening and where they came back towards the end particularly struck me; also the 'Dance of the Mind' section. I can imagine listening to this one enough to really get to know it. It should be on a recording.
Seth
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Michel.R.E

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Re: 2nd cello sonata (new version, old work)
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2016, 04:24:00 PM »
thank-you very much Seth.

the entire 6th movement (the finale, Hinode) is an extrapolation/extension of the opening Sunrise, it was a lot of fun to write, but that ending was so painful, it took me forever to get to a point where I am now happy with it. I really needed to get that "blinding" feeling, it's not an easy effect to achieve in the context of a chamber work, particularly not one with a bass instrument.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

Michel.R.E

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Re: 2nd cello sonata (new version, old work)
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2017, 01:34:16 PM »
I've been debating turning this sonata into a trio or quartet.
There's a lot of material in the orchestral version (the full ballet) that could get used (counterpoints, secondary melodies, various effects, etc...) and it would allow me to insert those additional passages from the ballet which are absent in the sonata.

I am simply completely out of music these days. I've completely lost interest. With our own preparations for our move, trying to find a suitable house there, and the purchase of the company in Québec City, and my having to learn some basic accounting, it's just leaving me with very little interest for music.

"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

RJB54

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Re: 2nd cello sonata (new version, old work)
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2017, 08:19:05 PM »
That would be cool, but perhaps go whole hog and turn it into a concerto for cello and string orchestra?
Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is THE BEST.
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Michel.R.E

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Re: 2nd cello sonata (new version, old work)
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2017, 08:45:47 PM »
 :D

that's what I did to the 1st cello sonata!!!
I don't think this piece is as concertante as the 1st sonata, however. It's really more of a duet with material relatively equally shared by the two parts (although admittedly, some sections of the piano part are more challenging than the cello part).
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

RJB54

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Re: 2nd cello sonata (new version, old work)
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2017, 09:31:42 PM »
that's what I did to the 1st cello sonata!!!

Cool. I don't remember you posting such a version here or did I miss it somehow?
Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is THE BEST.
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Michel.R.E

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Re: 2nd cello sonata (new version, old work)
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2017, 12:20:24 AM »
I think I posted it under a slightly different title: Concertino for cello and chamber orchestra.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"