Author Topic: Capriccio for strings  (Read 457 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Michel.R.E

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,103
  • Karma: 234
  • M.Mus (composition) Finale 26, NP3, GPO5
    • Les Éditions du Dos Blanc
Capriccio for strings
« on: May 20, 2020, 03:21:20 PM »
This was originally entitled "Scherzo" for strings, but I felt that as the (eventual) last movement of a short suite the name "scherzo" didn't fit (since scherzos are rarely the final movements of any multi-movement work).

I have massively reworked the piece, changing a LOT of harmony, and most importantly, changing specific motifs to make them a tiny bit more accessible and more expressive.

Notable is a short triplet motif that you will find starting at measure 6 (2nd violin, then next measure in the violas). Originally that motif was a saltando repeated note motif. But the reality of it is that saltando doesn't really leave enough room for dynamic variation, and generally requires any saltando motif to be played up-bow. The dynamic variation problem was the more important of the two considerations.
The up-bow issue was one that rendered rehearsal far more difficult, as it would also require some rather quirky bowing (up-bow where one would normally expect down-bow, for example).

Starting at measure 44, the cello theme was completely reworked from its original form. I found the original harmony too static, and this limited what I could do with that lyrical little theme. Now, with a simple brief shift from G into Ab, I opened up possibilities.

The Capriccio is a far more tonal piece than I normally write, though it stretches the regular rules of tonality through the frequent use of borrowed chords from neighbouring tonalities.

And of course, there is still the little quote shortly before the final coda. A bit of an inside joke (though an easy one to get).

During the "rework" I was also able to finally get that last chord right, through the use of LOTS of divisi.

Capriccio for string orchestra, opus 32

(oh, and yes, there are a few spacing errors in the score of the video, but they've been corrected in the actual publisher score.)

Speaking of publisher, due to C-19 lockdown issues, my publisher's offices are closed until further notice, which isn't really all that meaningful, since no orchestras are having any rehearsals at this time anyways.
"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

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,449
  • Karma: 142
Re: Capriccio for strings
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2020, 03:58:08 PM »
Michel,

I cannot access the video.  I get a Private message.

Mark

Michel.R.E

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,103
  • Karma: 234
  • M.Mus (composition) Finale 26, NP3, GPO5
    • Les Éditions du Dos Blanc
Re: Capriccio for strings
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2020, 04:05:38 PM »
damn.
normally I can post links to private videos... let me try once more.

try again, let me know.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2020, 04:08:43 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"

mjf1947

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,449
  • Karma: 142
Re: Capriccio for strings
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2020, 10:20:23 AM »
Michel a couple of comments:

Firstly the work for me has "neo-romantic" quality.  As I listen to it ... my mind takes to me Korngold (Prince and the Pauper).

It has that playfulness and energy.

I found the change in meter somewhat discomforting.  As I felt the thematic material at times ellusive - where I grabbed on to the snippets and then the string broke.

No don't get me wrong ... when the motif repeats itself it is quite charming; however you need a bit of patience.

Any who ----a jolly journey to be sure.

Mark 

Michel.R.E

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,103
  • Karma: 234
  • M.Mus (composition) Finale 26, NP3, GPO5
    • Les Éditions du Dos Blanc
Re: Capriccio for strings
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2020, 10:35:06 AM »
thanks, Mark.

The first thing about the piece is that while it might have a fundamentally neo-romantic harmonic feel to it, the development methods are considerably more modern. I don't treat the material like Korngold might. I'm more interested (or was at the time I wrote it, and still am now) in a sort of cloud effect, where motivic material builds textures. notice how many spots contain seemingly "wrong" notes in the harmony. this is done on purpose.
much like my string quartet where the whole opening section is done in clusters of diatonic sonorities.
"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"

SallyS

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 70
  • Karma: 2
  • “Without music, life would be a mistake”
Re: Capriccio for strings
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2020, 05:10:22 AM »
I appreciate the technical ability of this composition, and admire your development of motivic material... and really love certain parts of it... but my overall feeling is that I felt a bit lost... I didn't feel that I was being lead anywhere. I can stand back and say... that's a good piece... but can't say I enjoyed it. I loved the drama at the beginning (even if not your normal 'lively' capriccio material), and loved the playfulness of the lyrical theme. Generally it felt full of fantasy and whimsy ... so it was successful. 

sandalwood

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,184
  • Karma: 82
Re: Capriccio for strings
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2020, 07:53:17 AM »
I think this is a very interesting work in many respects: rhythms, meters, harmonies, textures. Listening to it, I felt like everything tended to go "poly" anytime.  It has been an engaging and challenging listening, trying to keep track of what's going on and I'm sure I missed much more than I could discern.

It seems to me the references are significant with respect to the work's mapping itself within the catalog/tradition - one being the very conspicuously placed snap pizz.

Is this all NP3? It sounds very nice!

Jerry Engelbach

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 698
  • Karma: 40
Re: Capriccio for strings
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2020, 08:55:27 AM »

Michel,

Exciting work. The dynamic effects being a major part.

Very rich sound. In all your pieces you effectively use subtle backgrounds to fill it out; in this case the constant triplets.

Bars 198-199 sound almost like a direct quote from the last movement of Tchaikovsky's Sixth.

What program did you use to put the sound and score together on YouTube?

Cheers,
Jer

Finale 26
NP3, GPO 5, JABB 3
iMac Mojave

Michel.R.E

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,103
  • Karma: 234
  • M.Mus (composition) Finale 26, NP3, GPO5
    • Les Éditions du Dos Blanc
Re: Capriccio for strings
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2020, 09:04:24 AM »
yes, the Tchaikowski quote is on purpose.

The recording was done with GPO and I think a bit of XSamples mixed in for the harmonics and snap pizzes.

I suspect what is confusing some listeners is that the developmental processes used are non-tonal, but the underlying material is clearly tonal. imagine, if you will, that this was a serial work. or just outright free atonality.

Structurally it's actually quite straight-forward, with a back and forth of major musical elements, a contrasting middle section that itself is an A-B-A, a reprise that takes the material back into the original key zones...

And yes, it is quite dense in textural variation. but then, no more so than any atonal work.
"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

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,103
  • Karma: 234
  • M.Mus (composition) Finale 26, NP3, GPO5
    • Les Éditions du Dos Blanc
Re: Capriccio for strings
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2020, 09:18:21 AM »
By the way, I just find it amusing that this is my work that gets the most "criticism" for its (lack of) structure, when in fact it's probably the most tightly controlled and constructed of all of my works.
Go figure!
 ;D
"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

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,103
  • Karma: 234
  • M.Mus (composition) Finale 26, NP3, GPO5
    • Les Éditions du Dos Blanc
Re: Capriccio for strings
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2020, 10:40:39 AM »
I've been working on getting playback with NP3...
one of the trouble spots for me was the bartok pizzes.
I think I've figured it out, but it does require a bit of a cludge, since Finale and NP3 don't seem to agree on snap pizz playback.
You have to make an invisible expression that triggers the snap pizz, then a 2nd invisible expression that turns OFF the snap pizz.

If I recall it's CC:18, set to value 14, to turn on snap pizz, then the same controller set to value 0 to turn it off.
"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

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,232
  • Karma: 48
Re: Capriccio for strings
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2020, 11:49:41 AM »
I enjoyed it quite a bit.

I must admit I don't remember the original Scherzo all that well as, for some reason, I never warmed up to it (unlike some pieces like the Symphony On C or the Clarinet/Violin sonata which I listen to repeatedly) so I can't speak to the improvements in this version.

I do like this version though.
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