Author Topic: 5 Bagatelles - an orchestration project  (Read 1152 times)

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Jerry Engelbach

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Re: 5 Bagatelles - an orchestration project
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2018, 02:32:19 PM »
Patrick,
 
Your orchestration is beautifully complex and witty, and mostly admirably transparent.
 
There are some strange dissonances towards the end that I don't understand, almost as if it's in two different keys for a few notes.
 
Great job overall. The bagatelles are terrific project!
 
Cheers,
Jer


« Last Edit: February 08, 2018, 03:15:25 PM by Jerry Engelbach »
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Patrick O'Keefe

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Re: 5 Bagatelles - an orchestration project
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2018, 04:33:51 PM »
Thanks for your comments, Jerry.  I'm a bit worried about one of those comments, though.

There are some strange dissonances towards the end that I don't understand, almost as if it's in two different keys for a few notes.
Hmm.  If there are strange dissonances and bitonality only near the end then I'd better rework this piece.  There are supposed to be fairly strong major 7th hits throughout the piece.  OK, so major 7th chords are maybe not "strange dissonances", but dissonance is supposed to be a significant aspect of the piece.

Also, the piece is supposed to be a bit tonally ambiguous.   The middle section is pretty strongly in D; the rest is sort of G-ish but usually doesn't stay in one key for more than about one measure, and I don't think there is a clean or appropriate cadence anywhere in sight except in the last measure.   Towards the end I try to let the ambiguities bump into each other more and increase the dissonances a bit, but if you felt that only towards the end then I haven't been completely successful.

My intent when writing the original piano pieces was to use nonfunctional harmony to support a tonal center.  For #3 I sort of turned that around.  I tried using sort of functional harmony to create an ambiguous tonal center.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2018, 05:29:53 PM by Patrick O'Keefe »

Patrick O'Keefe

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Re: 5 Bagatelles - an orchestration project
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2018, 05:31:50 PM »
There are some strange dissonances towards the end that I don't understand, almost as if it's in two different keys for a few notes.
I finally spent some time going over this again and discovered what you meant.  I had some seriously wrong "wrong notes" in one of the horns.  I've rewritten a couple measures - more than just the wayward horn - to make the dissonances and bitonality more in character.  I updated the PDF and MP3 files yesterday or the day before.

The first 3 of this set are now pretty much done except that I may add some percussion.  #4 has tympani so I'll see if that or other percussion fits in the previous pieces.  (The orchestra I'm going to submit this to typically has one percussionist.  He usually plays  either tympani or other percussion but rarely both in the same piece ... for fairly obvious reasons.)

I will soon post #4.  As I said earlier, it is not the #4 whose piano version got such positive comments earlier in this thread.  The piano version is here:
https://app.box.com/s/27qc703fwo4210ppk2om0hdh4jlztyqx
This is a slow atmospheric piece.  The orchestrated version has turned darker and gloomier.  Not where I expected it to go but sometimes I have little choice.  The music tells me what it wants to be. 

Jerry Engelbach

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Re: 5 Bagatelles - an orchestration project
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2018, 03:32:33 PM »
Patrick,

Ah, yes. I'm glad I'm not the one who's crazy. The harmonies fall right into place now. Nice work.

Number 4 on piano is very, very nice. The only things that struck me as, well, a little off, were the arpeggiated C triads in bars 11 and 12 and the C# minor triad in bar 12. They seem a bit "ordinary" compared with the rest of the piece.

Cheers,
Jer
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Patrick O'Keefe

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Re: 5 Bagatelles - an orchestration project
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2018, 04:16:44 PM »
...The only things that struck me as, well, a little off, were the arpeggiated C triads in bars 11 and 12 and the C# minor triad in bar 12. They seem a bit "ordinary" compared with the rest of the piece.
Hmm.  I'll have to look into that.  I had described the original piano work as obsessively recurring bittersweet memories.  That little figure was part of the "sweet".  But sweetness has pretty much disappeared in the orchestral version.  I'll roughen that up a bit.

Jerry Engelbach

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Re: 5 Bagatelles - an orchestration project
« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2018, 10:52:43 AM »
I had described the original piano work as obsessively recurring bittersweet memories.
That's helpful to know. The C and C# minor triads sound to me more neutral than bittersweet.
 
Not that they couldn't be relief to contrast with the bittersweet, but I felt that in context their texture was bland.
 
Of course, there's my own bias as a jazz musician, used to embellishing chords with extensions and alterations and hardly, if ever, using triads.
 
Cheers,
Jer
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Patrick O'Keefe

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Re: 5 Bagatelles - an orchestration project
« Reply #21 on: February 09, 2018, 01:29:40 PM »
I had described the original piano work as obsessively recurring bittersweet memories.
That's helpful to know. The C and C# minor triads sound to me more neutral than bittersweet.
 
Not that they couldn't be relief to contrast with the bittersweet, but I felt that in context their texture was bland.
Things weren't so bland in the piano version.  That arpaggeated C chord was played against a Eb/Bb/F quintal chord; then again (rather than C# minor) against a C# minor chord.  There was plenty of dissonance in that first combination but the quintal chord (if it still exists at all) is buried.  And obviously the C# minor against C# minor is pablum.

Luckily, this work is far from complete so I can try multiple solutions. 

Patrick O'Keefe

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Re: 5 Bagatelles - an orchestration project
« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2018, 04:17:36 PM »
Somewhere along the line I managed to delete the orchestral version of #4 - both score and audio - from my online repository on Box.  I've corrected that with a new version today.  I didn't how different - how dark and dirge-like - the orchestral version was becoming.  I've lightened it quite a bit, returning some of the mood from the original piano version.

The folder on Box now contains both the piano and orchestrated versions.
https://app.box.com/s/27qc703fwo4210ppk2om0hdh4jlztyqx
(I think that's the same link I gave before.)

I've also been plugging away at #5.
https://app.box.com/s/d6b4mnweibxhfkvqi1als67bzqh650k5
It's got a long way to go but I think I know where I'm going in the orchestration. 

While the orchestration of #4 tended to be darker than the piano version, my orchestrated version of #5 tends to be much brighter and playful.  I'm going to keep it that way.

This one is becoming more of a reinterpretation instead of just an orchestration.   All (well, most) of the material from the piano version is in the orchestrated version but I've changed the rhythm and mood a bit.  I've also taken out a few measures that were in the piano version just to facilitate a page turn for the pianist.  And I've made a few other changes while writing this post.

sandalwood

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Re: 5 Bagatelles - an orchestration project
« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2018, 06:32:16 PM »
I wholeheartedly agree with an earlier remark by Jerry that "Number 4 on piano is very, very nice". It is, indeed! It is subtle and nuanced, as I hear it, while remarkably transparent  and weightless. Captivating in a manner not unlike some short French symbolist pieces.  It might even have reminded me of the tenderness and elegance of a mazurka of earlier times :)

I think you are right that the orchestrated version reflects a rather distinct atmosphere and mood. It sounds, to me, well-crafted while heavier and forceful.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2018, 06:55:06 PM by sandalwood »

Patrick O'Keefe

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Re: 5 Bagatelles - an orchestration project
« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2018, 07:18:06 PM »
Thank you for the kind words.  I do think the piano version is sort of "subtle and nuanced" - at least as subtle and nuanced as I get.  The orchestral version seems, uhm, more emphatic, maybe.  I'm going with it, but I'm not sure the subtlety is there any more.  Maybe I should cut back on the climaxes - the piece really doesn't need any tutti.

This piece is as close as I've gotten (and am likely to get) to minimalism.  It has 5 or 6 motifs that weave in and out among each other.  Only one undergoes any kind of thematic development; they others just get repeated with different transpositions.  I rarely have a program or image in mind when I compose, but the pianist I work with wanted a description to guide her.  I told her to envision fragments of bitter-sweet memories obsessively recurring, intertwining.  I think that describes the piano version.  The orchestral version has more of a story line ... but I don't know what that story is.

Patrick O'Keefe

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Re: 5 Bagatelles - an orchestration project
« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2018, 04:58:00 PM »
All previous links in this thread are now obsolete and will probably not work soon.  Here is a new link.
https://app.box.com/s/bzqohzuw9j4hufge0ef5f5u3sgyqc6zo
It goes to a folder called "Five Short Pieces".  There is still some historical relationship between the 5 orchestral pieces and the 5 piano pieces but that relationship has gotten pretty tenuous.  These are now orchestral pieces in their own right.

I'm now into score cleanup mode but I'm sure I'll make more compositional changes before I'm done.  I'm also thinking about "program notes" - some sort of meaningful description of these pieces.  And I've added meaningless titles to them:
  • Introductory Comments
  • Daydreams
  • Indecisive Waltz
  • Unwelcome Memories
  • Games

Update:
I'm changing the name of #3 to "Uncertain Waltz" but won't upload a new version to just reflect that change.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2018, 11:43:07 AM by Patrick O'Keefe »

Patrick O'Keefe

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Re: 5 Bagatelles - an orchestration project
« Reply #26 on: May 11, 2018, 11:18:44 AM »
I think I'm pretty much done with this now.  The folder pointed to by the link in my previous post now contains a PDF and MP3 file for each individual piece plus an PDF and MP3 file for the combined work.

I've rewritten #2 to make it easier to count for both conductor and performers.  It is now limited it to very standard meters - 3/4 and 4/4.  The piece still has some of the indefinite rhythmic feeling of the earlier versions (It had better.  That's it's whole purpose in life!) but should be fairly easy to conduct and perform.   I've also reworked the contrabass line in #2.  It is almost always playing under a 6 note quartal chord.  Do I double one of the 6 notes?  Do I add a (not well heard) 7th note?  Do I double something in the "melodic" material?  I think I did not always make wise choices so I've changed some of those choices.

I've made some other small changes to  other pieces.  (I can't listen to or look at a piece without finding something to change.)

Now I'm looking for a chamber orchestra that might want to give it a try.

Update:
As of May 19, 2018 The link in the first posting of this thread now contains only the original piano works.
For the orchestral versions see Five Short Pieces at
https://app.box.com/s/bzqohzuw9j4hufge0ef5f5u3sgyqc6zo
« Last Edit: May 19, 2018, 02:05:03 PM by Patrick O'Keefe »