Author Topic: Halftime Reflections  (Read 98 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

tbmartin

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 562
  • Karma: 54
    • TerenceMartinSaxArranger
Halftime Reflections
« on: November 09, 2018, 03:09:14 PM »
It's been a LOOONG time since I've posted anything, because it's been just as long since I've been able to do any composing work.

Here's an initial sketch of my piece "Halftime Reflections."  It is still very rough. In many places, the instrumentation is totally arbitrary. As a result, there are places where the notes entered are ridiculously out of range. Block chords are just to give the underlying chord structure. Therefore, please limit comments to the melody and harmonic structure, plus the general impressions of whether it is musically interesting, or needs to go a different direction.
 
There are many things that are symbolically represented in this piece that relate to the life of John Stout, the subject of the piece, but those are really secondary to why I'm posting it here, which is to get a sense of whether the overall structure works. All comments welcome.

PDF of score:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/fslsxo9qyl3as6e/Halftime%20Reflections%20Mockup%202018%2011%2004.pdf?dl=0
MP3:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/4iqurdn19rko0hc/Mockup%202018%2011%2004.mp3?dl=0
Terence Martin

Tools: Finale 2003 on Windows XP
Day job: Actuary
Composing/Arranging output: mostly sax quartets
http://bit.ly/TerenceMartinSaxArranger
Goal: Improve quantity and quality of concert band compositions.
Play: Saxophones (all, but tenor primary), Bass Clarinet, Piano (poorly)

Jerry Engelbach

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 236
  • Karma: 19
Re: Halftime Reflections
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2018, 03:49:53 PM »
I think it's spectacular. At the beginning it feels like the exuberance of Ralph Vaughan Williams' English Folk Song Suite. I'm looking forward to hearing it filled out.
 
For the audio of the mockup, I wish there were more dynamic markings so the chords did not overwhelm the melodies. For example, the trombone chords after A all but obliterate what look on paper to be interesting things going on above.
 
As to structure, it is episodic, I'm sure by design. But I think that possibly undermines the drama. Perhaps the transitions could be such that each section grows more out of the previous. I wanted the ending, which felt a bit somber, to build more on what had come before. Maybe that's just me.
 
It has the promise to be a brilliant work, a true labor of love, complex, intense, and enjoyably playable and listenable.
 
P.S. I would like to know who John Stout was.
 
Cheers,
Jer
« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 03:52:10 PM by Jerry Engelbach »
Finale 25
GPO 5
iMac El Capitan

mjf1947

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,821
  • Karma: 119
Re: Halftime Reflections
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2018, 05:07:24 PM »
What I hear is a potential for a very good march/processional ......  with a trio section.  Yes, such as the in the Vaughn Williams. 

It is lovely melody with a good sentiment.  The work has a very good core as shown in the opening; however, you have lots of material here; you might want to stay with the main opening  theme and a secondary contrasting trio section section.

Mark

tbmartin

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 562
  • Karma: 54
    • TerenceMartinSaxArranger
Re: Halftime Reflections
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2018, 07:40:11 PM »

P.S. I would like to know who John Stout was.


Scroll to the "legacy" part of this page:
https://www.stoutsystems.com/meet-stout-systems/

To me personally, he was the conductor of the hockey pep band, and Gail, his future wife, was a trumpet player. They were integral parts of the alumni network and huge organizers of the annual "blast from the past" at homecoming. As the arranger for the Michigan Marching Band for 41 years, he IS the sound of that band. I've had several email conversations with Gail and she told me some stories of their life that I've been able to musically capture in this piece. I feel a bit like I'm composing "Peter and the Wolf" because several instruments represent specific people. John is the bassoon and tenor sax (bassoon being his main instrument, and tenor sax what he played in the marching band). His wife and daughter are both trumpet players and their son plays trombone, so those instruments, at times, represent them. The program notes will end up being a bit lengthy...  ;)
Terence Martin

Tools: Finale 2003 on Windows XP
Day job: Actuary
Composing/Arranging output: mostly sax quartets
http://bit.ly/TerenceMartinSaxArranger
Goal: Improve quantity and quality of concert band compositions.
Play: Saxophones (all, but tenor primary), Bass Clarinet, Piano (poorly)

tbmartin

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 562
  • Karma: 54
    • TerenceMartinSaxArranger
Re: Halftime Reflections
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2018, 08:13:45 PM »
...The work has a very good core as shown in the opening; however, you have lots of material here; you might want to stay with the main opening  theme and a secondary contrasting trio section section.

Mark

The opening theme actually is used in every section of the piece except for the 6/8 section. However, the current rough sketch doesnít make it easy to hear. That will be part of the challenge in doing the next step: making the variations on that melody prominent enough to be a familiar item, but allow the other material to come through.

I do appreciate the comment about there being a lot of material. There might be some sections that can be cut. That indeed was one reason to post this in such a rough form: to find out if itís just too much.
Terence Martin

Tools: Finale 2003 on Windows XP
Day job: Actuary
Composing/Arranging output: mostly sax quartets
http://bit.ly/TerenceMartinSaxArranger
Goal: Improve quantity and quality of concert band compositions.
Play: Saxophones (all, but tenor primary), Bass Clarinet, Piano (poorly)

Jerry Engelbach

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 236
  • Karma: 19
Re: Halftime Reflections
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2018, 01:09:42 PM »

P.S. I would like to know who John Stout was.


Scroll to the "legacy" part of this page:
https://www.stoutsystems.com/meet-stout-systems/


(etc.)
Thanks.
 
What an accomplished man.
 
Cheers,
Jer
Finale 25
GPO 5
iMac El Capitan

gogreen

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
  • Karma: 55
    • Art on Facebook
Re: Halftime Reflections
« Reply #6 on: Yesterday at 11:58:39 AM »
Terence: Yeah, it is rough, but there's a lot here that could be molded and polished. This is for concert band? You have something against alto saxes? There are many spots where I'd include alto I and alto II. Also, at B, the oboe and flute will be drowned out by the trombones. I assume you'd rework the score a lot. I'd probably do whatever is necessary to use a more friendly key signature than 4 sharps at measure 74. Sorry, Terence, the overall structure did not work for me. ???

tbmartin

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 562
  • Karma: 54
    • TerenceMartinSaxArranger
Re: Halftime Reflections
« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 12:23:26 PM »
Terence: Yeah, it is rough, but there's a lot here that could be molded and polished. This is for concert band? You have something against alto saxes? There are many spots where I'd include alto I and alto II. Also, at B, the oboe and flute will be drowned out by the trombones. I assume you'd rework the score a lot. I'd probably do whatever is necessary to use a more friendly key signature than 4 sharps at measure 74. Sorry, Terence, the overall structure did not work for me. ???

Concert band: Yes.
Something against alto saxes: Yes, They are HORRIBLE instruments!  ;) Actually, the instrumentation is totally arbitrary right now, which also relates to the oboe+flute vs trombone remark. This sketch was purely to get melodies, countermelodies, structure, and harmony on paper. Actual orchestration will be done later and will certainly be mindful of instrumental balance. And yes, I'll include Alto Sax 1 and 2.
Structure: That was a key reason to post it here even in such a rough form. Your comment leads me to the conclusion that I need to reconsider the structure some, and either strengthen it or rework it. The structure intends to tell a story, but the piece must not rely on the program notes to tell that story. The music has to be self-supporting. Thank you for pointing out that the structure is currently lacking in that regard.
Terence Martin

Tools: Finale 2003 on Windows XP
Day job: Actuary
Composing/Arranging output: mostly sax quartets
http://bit.ly/TerenceMartinSaxArranger
Goal: Improve quantity and quality of concert band compositions.
Play: Saxophones (all, but tenor primary), Bass Clarinet, Piano (poorly)

gogreen

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
  • Karma: 55
    • Art on Facebook
Re: Halftime Reflections
« Reply #8 on: Yesterday at 01:01:26 PM »
Sorry I didn't clarify my comment on structure. The overall structure didn't work for me because the piece seemed like a series of nice ideas that were not connected. Perhaps rearranging the order to improve any transitional material, and then adding transitional music might work. I'd be careful here, because with the many elements you've put in the piece, adding transitions might make for a very, very long final work.

Art

tbmartin

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 562
  • Karma: 54
    • TerenceMartinSaxArranger
Re: Halftime Reflections
« Reply #9 on: Yesterday at 01:29:27 PM »
Sorry I didn't clarify my comment on structure. The overall structure didn't work for me because the piece seemed like a series of nice ideas that were not connected. Perhaps rearranging the order to improve any transitional material, and then adding transitional music might work. I'd be careful here, because with the many elements you've put in the piece, adding transitions might make for a very, very long final work.

Art

Thanks for that clarification. My temporary arbitrary instrumentation doesn't do me any favors here: The main melody from the A section actually appears in various forms throughout the piece with only a few exceptions. That will be a unifying element eventually, but it's obvious I'll need to do a lot of work to make sure it truly is. These comments are very helpful. Thanks!
Terence Martin

Tools: Finale 2003 on Windows XP
Day job: Actuary
Composing/Arranging output: mostly sax quartets
http://bit.ly/TerenceMartinSaxArranger
Goal: Improve quantity and quality of concert band compositions.
Play: Saxophones (all, but tenor primary), Bass Clarinet, Piano (poorly)