Author Topic: Chamber_Symphony_02  (Read 171 times)

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RJB54

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Chamber_Symphony_02
« on: November 25, 2017, 12:10:58 PM »
I would like to present my Chamber Symphony #2

Update 12/10/17
The Mvt II audio file has been added and the score and Mvt I audio files have been updated. I will discuss below.

Score=https://app.box.com/s/sybxr5nnv0xvvjtaaf0a7sa1j04sorbz
Audio:
    Movement I=https://app.box.com/s/lx02up1l3cimljgmcooebs9q4g6osna9
    Movement II=https://app.box.com/s/imxu9u5bly4651uaouw4wz0fezgaide1

Only the first movement so far.

This piece is serial with the, by now, standard (for me) interval cycle interpolations between serial pitches.

The first movement is a standard sonata form with what at first might seem to be an overly long slow introduction. However, the length of this introduction is due to the fact that, in actuality, it is the exposition, as it were, for the entire composition. During the course of the intro five main motives are introduced. These five motives are used to generate the vast majority of the melodic content of all of the movements.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2017, 12:05:50 PM by RJB54 »
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.
Frank Zappa

Michel.R.E

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Re: Chamber_Symphony_02
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2017, 12:51:56 PM »
I liked it. It has some great moments in it. You now I'm not a huge fan of serialism, but this transcends the technique, as all of your works do.

a few questions and comments:

What are those articulations over the string notes in the first few pages?

I'm presuming the string section is written with the intention of having 5 solo players rather than sections?
if so, be careful, you have a couple of spots with impossible double-stops in the viola (mm79, and again at 131), and potentially uncomfortable ones in viola and cello.

I really liked the sound of the wind quintet alone in the first few pages, and sort of missed not getting to hear that again in a more sustained manner.
Speaking of woodwinds, I really liked the effect of the flute and clarinet doubling each other octaves apart. It's very Schostakowitch-ian.

There are a few places I think you could have had the 1st and 2nd violins doubling each other, rather than leaving the 2nd violins out completely (toward the coda at the end).

Otherwise, great stuff! look forward to hearing the next movement.
"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: Chamber_Symphony_02
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2017, 01:11:43 PM »
Michel, Thanks.

I will take your comments under advisement when I start the revisions. Its been quite a while since I've written anything for this in- between type of ensemble, not chamber and not full orchestra and I thought that some of the balances might occasionally might need to be tweaked.

I guess I'll need to put in a key page to explain those markings.

They are marks that, as far as I know, were created by Schoenberg to indicate a rhythmic pulse different from the normal pulse of the prevailing meter. The tilted wedge indicates that the beat should be performed as if it were a downbeat while the parenthesis laying an its back ( :)) indicates that the beat should be performed as if it were an upbeat.

It is a way of indicating shifting submeters for individual players without actually changing the meter for anybody.

For example, the markings in the Violin II part in bars 2 & 3 tell the player to treat the notes as if the music in their part had been notated as 5/8, 2/8, 2/8, 7/8 placing the rhythmic 'downbeat' emphasis on beats 6 and 8 of the prevailing meter.

In the Cello in bar 5 the marking tells the player to treat the notes as if they were notated as 1/8, 3/8, 4/8.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2017, 01:16:28 PM by RJB54 »
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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mjf1947

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Re: Chamber_Symphony_02
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2017, 04:31:22 PM »
What can I say ..... Music to my ends .... Very lyrical, interesting harmonies, exciting rhythms, great orchestration and pairing of instruments ... with lots of wit! 

Absolutely delightful!

The work is very accessible to the listener.

Mark

RJB54

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Re: Chamber_Symphony_02
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2017, 05:37:53 PM »
Mark, thanks a lot.

The fact that you find it 'lyrical' is quite pleasing to me as, as I have said elsewhere, I don't feel that I am all that good at expressive, melodic, type of writing. Its doubly gratifying because most people don't exactly associate 'lyrical' with 'serial'.
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.
Frank Zappa

RJB54

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Re: Chamber_Symphony_02
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2017, 05:40:53 PM »
Michel,

I checked those doublestops and you're right, I made a mistake there. I'm a woodwind player so I think in treble and bass clef and sometime make mental errors when dealing with the alto clef. Even now, when I was trying to find the mistake you were referring to in bar 79 I initially couldn't see it because I kept seeing the pitches as F# and G# rather than E# and F#.

Regarding the mistake at bar 131, it turned out to be a transposition error that I didn't catch. That passage had been transposed from an earlier version which had been in a different 'key' and I made a transposition error on that pitch collection.

Both of these errors will be fixed in the next version.
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.
Frank Zappa

Jerry Engelbach

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Re: Chamber_Symphony_02
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2017, 01:38:43 PM »
I second Mark's assessment.
 
I love the catchy rhythms and quirky interlocking melodies.
 
"Crafty" in every way.
 
Like a good book, I couldn't put it down.
 
Cheers,
Jer
« Last Edit: November 27, 2017, 08:11:32 AM by Jerry Engelbach »
Finale 25
GPO 5
iMac El Capitan

Patrick O'Keefe

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Re: Chamber_Symphony_02
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2017, 08:49:42 PM »
A very interesting work.  I'm definitely going to listen a few more times before commenting.

RJB54

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Re: Chamber_Symphony_02
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2017, 03:52:42 PM »
Jerry, thanks.

Patrick, I look forward to hearing your reaction when you've had some time with the piece. I know that my stuff is usually not easily assimilated (unlike The Old Lady in Candide   :)).
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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Patrick O'Keefe

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Re: Chamber_Symphony_02
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2017, 11:06:25 AM »
I very much like the sound and the feel of this work.  My only quibble: there are a few places where I sort of get lost - I don't know where it is taking me.  That could be just my lack of familiarity with the piece.

I'm looking forward to hearing more of it.

RJB54

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Re: Chamber_Symphony_02
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2017, 05:36:46 PM »
I very much like the sound and the feel of this work.  My only quibble: there are a few places where I sort of get lost - I don't know where it is taking me.  That could be just my lack of familiarity with the piece.

I'm looking forward to hearing more of it.
Patrick, thanks.

I suppose it is not very out of line to feel that way with my music. I definitly can't write with that Beethovenian organicism (even though I wish I could). Therefore, my stuff tends to be a little choppy with contrasting sections which, I will admit, sometimes don't flow into each other smoothly (sometimes on purpose, sometimes not).
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.
Frank Zappa

RJB54

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Re: Chamber_Symphony_02
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2017, 06:54:32 PM »
You now I'm not a huge fan of serialism, but this transcends the technique, as all of your works do.

I've said this before in various ways, but the problem is not with the serial concept itself, but rather, with the way some composers (Schoenberg included) have decided to use it. Its like blaming the C Major scale for a bad Common Practice composition.

The way it is often expressed is that Schoenberg came up with the 'idea' and Webern subsequently used the 'idea' in a progressive manner and Berg in a regressive manner. The vast majority of serial composers followed Webern's approach rather than Berg's.

In my view of things Berg was the most progressive of the three because he operated in a creative environment which incorporated ALL of the possibilities of 'composing with 12 tones' while Schoenberg and Webern operated in a regressive manner by deliberately limiting their compositional possibilities to a subset of all those available by 'limiting' themselves to the rules Schoenberg established for Strict Serialism. To me this is little different from a Common Practice composer who was 'limited' to a subset of the available possibilities via the rules of Diatonicism (or perhaps to a diatonic composer who limited themselves to only C Major, G Major, and F Major).

Part of this was due to personalities rather than objective musical considerations. Schoenberg and Webern spent the 1920s and 30s constantly jostling each other for the title of the Most Progressive Composer/Theorist going. Therefore, any references to Common Practice elements had to be suppressed/ignored as such elements would get in the way of claiming to be the 'coolest' and 'most progressive'. Berg, on the other hand, ignored all of this as he was only interested writing good, expressive, music and used all available tools to accomplish that goal regardless of how 'progressive' or 'old-fashioned' a given tool might be.

On a fundamental level, one of the biggest differences between Berg's approach (and therefore mine) versus Schoenberg's or Webern's is that Berg often operates in an environment which is tonal without being diatonic while Schoenberg and Webern avoided diatonic (tonal) ramifications like the plague. Following Berg's lead I incorporate elements which clearly have tonal ramifications in both the vertical dimension (diatonic or near diatonic chords, for example) and the horizontal dimension (significant use of 'consonant' intervals, for example). The result is that a lot of my serial music sounds less like traditional serial music and more like late romantic era music (such as Mahler, R. Strauss, or early Schoenberg) in that while it is highly chromatic it is usually still sort of tonal.

The reason I consider much of my music to be tonal but not diatonic is that while diatonic, or almost diatonic, chords do occur and a significant portion of the chromaticisms could be heard as sort-of diatonic non-harmonic tones of various types (implying a tonal world), but typically, neither the chords nor tones generally function according to the rules of diatonicism.

For example, diatonic chords may appear, but there are no diatonic chord progressions. Each diatonic chord occurs more or less independently. There might be, at most, a vaguely diatonic relationship discernable sometimes often with chords which could have a dominant/tonic relationship (particularly audible most often in the bass (a la Berg)). For example, a vaguely G Majorish chord might appear followed by a vaguely C Majorish chord (often with the bass moving from the G pitch class to the C pitch class) but there is no way it could be considered as a truly diatonic V to I resolution, if for no other reason than that there is, typically, a lot of other chromaticisms going on at the same time. However, I feel that on some level the latent diatonic chordal relationship, while not explicit, does percolate through.
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.
Frank Zappa

Michel.R.E

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Re: Chamber_Symphony_02
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2017, 09:52:00 PM »
Are you ever tempted to break sometimes with any self-imposed strictures (if they exist) in favour of something that might tickle your ear? For example, "cheating" a cell/motif so that it more clearly delineates a melodic idea you might have?
"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: Chamber_Symphony_02
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2017, 05:55:57 PM »
Michel,

Sorry for the delay in replying but I've been very busy.

No, I don't even consider breaking my rules. Since I deal with pitch collections of specific content, breaking the rules means incorporating invalid pitch collections which leads one into the arena of free atonality which has multiple creative/technical problems (which is why Schoenberg created the tone row in the first place).

Dealing with the technical challenges this 'limitation' places on me is part of my creative process. Figuring out ways of manipulating the 'valid' pitch collections in this way or that in order to achieve the desired melodic gesture pushes me to be creative.

There are a number of ways I can accomplish this. One example is the technique of row rotation which presents pitches in differing configurations. Another method is to create a melodic gesture by extracting the desired pitches from multiple entities (all of the pitches of which would be presented in other voices, of course).

The end result is that I can usually create a desired melodic gesture without resorting to a deviation from my 'rule' of only presenting the pitch collections predefined for the composition.

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.
Frank Zappa

Patrick O'Keefe

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Re: Chamber_Symphony_02
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2017, 07:27:56 PM »
...
On a fundamental level, one of the biggest differences between Berg's approach (and therefore mine) versus Schoenberg's or Webern's is that Berg often operates in an environment which is tonal without being diatonic while Schoenberg and Webern avoided diatonic (tonal) ramifications like the plague. ...
For me, your characterization fits Webern a lot better than it does Schoenberg.  Schoenberg kept being drawn back to tonalism throughout his life.  There's his completion of Gurre-Lieder, his completion of the Kammersymphonie #2, his orchestration of the Brahms Piano Quartet, the orchestration of several Bach organ works, and a bunch other orchestrations and transcriptions I just found out about. 

In addition, while the piano and violin concerti are atonal - probably serial but I don't know for sure - they are very melodic.  In them it wasn't so much avoiding tonal ramifications as not needing them.

And then there's his famous quote (perhaps mistranslated) "There is still plenty of good music to be written in C major".

Update:
I should stress that nothing I said above has any bearing on you music or style of composition.  I was just pointing out that Schoenberg did not limit himself to the rules he devised.

I understand the idea of defining a musical universe with a strict set of rules and creating something interesting within those rules.  I often do that.  But if bending the rules makes for something even more interesting, I suggest doing it.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2017, 09:24:25 AM by Patrick O'Keefe »