Author Topic: Concerto Grosso for string quartet and string orchestra (1st mvt)  (Read 677 times)

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Michel.R.E

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Well, after many sleepless nights, I was able to finish the 1st movement of Concerto Grosso commission. It's short (the total length for all three movements is barely 10 minutes, but damn, those will be the best-paid 10 minutes of my life).

So it's a simple sonata Allegro form, with sort of 3 themes/motifs (the 1st and 2nd motifs are actually superimposed at the outset), and then the more lyrical 3rd theme comes in a bit later.

it opens with a rising "pyramid" motif in the full ensemble, before the first themes come in played by the quartet.
I'd have liked to have more time for the movement, to really contrast the two ensembles - large and small string ensembles.

Throughout I've tried to treat the quartet as both a single unit and as 4 soloists. So there are passages where two of the four musicians take the lead, then others were only one does, or three out of the four.

This is VERY tonal music, but mixes my usual polyharmony with quartal harmony and straight up diatonic harmony. most of the melodic movement is brought about through contrapuntal movement.

So, here's the short (a bit under 4 minutes) first movement.

Allegro

The 2nd movement will probably be a bit longer, and for the finale I'm thinking of using the same material as the 1st movement and treating it more as an extended coda to the first two movements. That is, unless the musicians tell me that they'd like me to stretch the work out a few more minutes, in which case I was thinking of writing a Ricercare to bring it to an end, using all the material from the first two movements.

Attached is the score, though without its title nor frontispiece pages.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

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RJB54

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Re: Concerto Grosso for string quartet and string orchestra (1st mvt)
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2018, 08:02:47 PM »
Very nice. A pleasingly light and cheerful movement. I particularly like the rhythms in the first theme. I look forward to the rest.
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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Jerry Engelbach

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Re: Concerto Grosso for string quartet and string orchestra (1st mvt)
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2018, 10:13:18 AM »

Michel,
 Wonderful impressionistic adventure.
 
Your harmonies just blow me away.
 
Cheers,
Jer
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whitebark

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Re: Concerto Grosso for string quartet and string orchestra (1st mvt)
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2018, 11:35:51 AM »
Well crafted music as usual, with a light and energetic, neo-Baroque feel that one would expect for a concerto grosso. It's a lot different that the Schnittke concerto grosso that I recently posted about, for sure!

I could not see any engraving mistakes in your score.  The bass part is easy - I could even play it   :)

Jay

Michel.R.E

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Re: Concerto Grosso for string quartet and string orchestra (1st mvt)
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2018, 12:02:46 PM »
Thanks all  :)

Jay, one of the most challenging things is writing a challenging contrabass part!
If you give too much material, it sounds heavy, and if you lighten the texture you end up removing bass material.
"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"

sandalwood

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Re: Concerto Grosso for string quartet and string orchestra (1st mvt)
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2018, 01:48:01 PM »
I think this is a real treat. It reminds me of Bloch's approach to writing a modern concerto grosso, despite significant distinctions. I definitely agree that it is well thought over and well-crafted. Many enjoyable details like the beautiful use of pizzicati, the moving walls of sounds, etc.

Very delightful, really. Thanks.

Michel.R.E

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Re: Concerto Grosso for string quartet and string orchestra (1st mvt)
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2018, 02:52:03 PM »
Thanks.
I only really know one work of Bloch's, his "Sacred Service".

My one regret with this piece is that I have such severe time constraints imposed. I REALLY wish I could write longer movements. Such short movements are creatively stifling to me.
"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: Concerto Grosso for string quartet and string orchestra (1st mvt)
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2018, 01:48:39 PM »
Well perhaps you can have Opus #xa (the short version) and Opus #xb (the long version) similar to what you did with your Clarinet/Violin Sonata.
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: Concerto Grosso for string quartet and string orchestra (1st mvt)
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2018, 02:09:12 PM »
I might consider lengthening the work at some later date.
If I stick to short movements, however, I'd love to turn it into a sort of baroque suite, with dances and interludes.
"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: Concerto Grosso for string quartet and string orchestra (1st mvt)
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2018, 03:47:38 PM »
That would be cool too.
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: Concerto Grosso for string quartet and string orchestra (1st mvt)
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2018, 07:48:14 PM »
Wonderful, enjoyable work.   There is certainly no evidence of sleepless nights; it sounds effortless.

Michel.R.E

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Re: Concerto Grosso for string quartet and string orchestra (1st mvt)
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2018, 08:32:29 PM »
Thank-you Patrick.
I've really been paying for it since, however. My sleep schedule is completely screwed up.
"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: Concerto Grosso for string quartet and string orchestra (1st mvt)
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2018, 08:47:49 AM »
Well, that's taken care of: the orchestra have their parts, the quartet have been practicing, putting in fingerings and checking bowings, it's all looking good.
The musicians even sent me a message telling me how excited they are to perform it.
Looking forward to hearing the orchestra during the recording sessions.
"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: Concerto Grosso for string quartet and string orchestra (1st mvt)
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2018, 11:15:17 AM »
Michel,

This is an "optimistic" work full of uplifting imagery.

A joy to listen to ... I am sure the audience will leave with a smile and inner lift.

Mark

« Last Edit: November 06, 2018, 11:33:01 AM by mjf1947 »

Michel.R.E

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Re: Concerto Grosso for string quartet and string orchestra (1st mvt)
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2018, 12:38:12 PM »
thank-you Mark.

I was tempted to write something angsty and serious, but it's for a celebration of 25 and 30 year anniversaries, so figured I'd be better off writing something a bit more celebratory.

Besides, with time and age, while there are still dissonant works I appreciate, I just have no interest in writing any of my own. To me, dissonance isn't "where it's at".

I feel no need anymore to justify my existence as a composer by trying break new ground or any other such silly concepts. I just want to communicate with my audience in an honest fashion.
"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"