Author Topic: Bass_Clarinet_Concerto_01  (Read 78 times)

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RJB54

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Bass_Clarinet_Concerto_01
« on: June 30, 2020, 12:43:40 PM »
I would like to present my Bass Clarinet Concerto #1.

Score = https://app.box.com/s/n9scev32nthwlp6dnr1xaum0vun5v11e
Audio = https://app.box.com/s/5qe4b95stm38isoy9i6opx2e4gwtodbj

After the extended time and effort I put into my String Quartet #3, I wanted to do some smaller pieces that would be easier to finish. In that vein this piece started out to be another in my series of meditations for solo instrument. Once I crafted the opening phrase I thought to myself that the opening figure would work really well for brass and that was it, the meditation for solo bass clarinet quickly became a concerto.

This piece differs from my normal late romantic/early contemporary expressive style being more solidly on the contemporary side, though by no means avante-garde. It is just missing the more late romantic expressive components that is typical of much of my work.   
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: Bass_Clarinet_Concerto_01
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2020, 03:14:10 PM »
Robert,
 
I find this one difficult to write about.
 
It was composed with a confident, mature hand. Craftsmanship abounds in every passage. You achieved idiomatic consistency.
 
It's fascinating to listen while following the score, seeing how you created certain sounds. And the solo part is astounding.
 
I'm wondering, though, how I would react to it in concert. The mood created by those beautiful dissonances is electric. But would the unfamiliar language make my interest flag?
 
Maybe I have to hear more of it, to learn to accept it.
 
Anyway, it's a hell of an accomplishment.
 
Cheers,
Jer
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gogreen

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Re: Bass_Clarinet_Concerto_01
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2020, 03:43:08 PM »
Holy mackerel, Robert. This IS some accomplishment. Congratulations! It's not my style, but I heard much that I liked. I think it has an originality to it. The bass clarinet part is a nice showcase for the instrument and player. The 32nd-note runs on pages 6-16 or so had an almost funky, bebop quality--which I liked. I thought at any moment the piece would burst into Bernstein-like orchestral jazz in this section. Instead of cutting those phrases short, you could really wow listeners by extending some of that phrasing into longer 32nd-note "statements," showing both what the instrument and an accomplished player could do. Along these lines, I would like to have heard more lyrical playing--making the bass clarinet really "sing."

The score included a lot of collisions. I'm guessing you'll clean them up. Also, I don't think you need measure numbers and letters for every bracketed section. One enclosed letter (larger and bolder) and one number (larger) atop the first staff would do, in different places to avoid overlapping and going through bracket lines. You might add lettering and numbering at the bass clarinet staff, too.

All that said, I do think you have a magnificent work here.

Art

Michel.R.E

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Re: Bass_Clarinet_Concerto_01
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2020, 04:03:15 PM »
I'll agree with the others who've commented. This seems like a very well written piece. it's certainly ambitious.

But I wasn't able to get much further than 50 pages into the score. it's simply not a language that speaks to me at all.
By that point I sort of had had my fill of endless scales and arpeggios in the clarinet solo part.

The one criticism I think I would bring out would be that there was a sameness to the solo part, unceasing arpeggio or scalar runs in a vertiginous virtuosic manner.
In that sense it had the same impact on me as the Rubinstein (and his brethren) 19th century piano concerti that were seemingly written as pure vehicles for virtuosity.

Since this is a work in progress, maybe consider adding a few judiciously placed homophonic passages, with the soloist carrying the melodic material and the orchestra having a more sustaining traditional accompaniment role.
"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: Bass_Clarinet_Concerto_01
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2020, 08:57:36 AM »
Robert,

I was quite intrigued and very connected to the opening of the work.  It is quite engaging.

Yet, the recurrent thematic material lost it's impact after much listening. 

Question, did you write this in a "serial?" format.  If yes, do you have go through a complete "cycle" to conclude it.

I hope my question doesn't highlight my ignorance of the compositional technique/style.

In any event, I re-will reemphasized my observations from previous postings:

You overall work is stylistically quite lovely and engaging .... yet I still feel if you focused more intently on creating more dramatic moments with clearly defined beginnings and endpoints. I feel the works would stand out much more prominently. 

Why not review the bass clarinet concerto .... and see where it can be judicially edited and tweaked.

Overall it is a major piece of work very worthy of your time.  I'm willing to go on the journey for sure.

Mark


RJB54

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Re: Bass_Clarinet_Concerto_01
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2020, 03:49:02 PM »
Thank you all for your comments.

I haven't been ignoring you, just processing what you've said.

As I said my approach to this piece was to have something more solidly 'contemporary' than what I usually write. For me one of the characteristics of much contemporary music is a very 'abstract' expression, that is, not directly, or expressly, emotive.

Since you all had similar things to say I would judge that that did not work very well over the course of the piece.

For example, having so much of the solo part be 'scales and arpeggios'  came from a desire to mostly avoid emotive melody. There is only one melodic theme which appears occaisonally throughout. But other than that its just small motives. I guess that didn't work either.

I'll have to rethink. At the moment I'm leaning towards bringing the piece closer to my usual approach by adding some more strait-forwardly expressive parts to it.   
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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gogreen

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Re: Bass_Clarinet_Concerto_01
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2020, 04:00:34 PM »
Quote
I'll have to rethink. At the moment I'm leaning towards bringing the piece closer to my usual approach by adding some more strait-forwardly expressive parts to it.

And that can be a constant battle, for me, at least. Going traditional, safe, or usual for me; or boldly going where no man [one] has gone before.

Art

RJB54

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Re: Bass_Clarinet_Concerto_01
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2020, 04:52:02 PM »
Right.

Typically I try to write pieces that a lay audience could possibly enjoy (except those who think that Mahler is too avante-garde).

I knew that this piece would probably not speak to people unless they were already into contemporary music.

But like I said earlier, apparently some of what I was going for didn't come off the way I thought.
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: Bass_Clarinet_Concerto_01
« Reply #8 on: Today at 12:35:36 PM »
Question, did you write this in a "serial?" format.  If yes, do you have go through a complete "cycle" to conclude it.

This piece is 'serial' in the way all of my pieces are 'serial'. That is, the base material always starts with a set of five tone rows which I have been using as the basis for all of my pieces for several years now. Then I use the various techniques I describe in my Expanded Serialism thread here (http://www.composeforums.com/index.php?topic=2256.0) to generate musical content using the rows as the starting point.

In some pieces, I treat the rows in a way which results in an almost common practice vocabulary as I did in my recent piece Night Moods. At other times, I adhere to a more 'strict' presentation of the rows (without following the strictures of Schoenbergian 'strict serialism') as I did in this piece.

In this piece I mainly made use of my row rotation, interpolation, contiguous segmentation, and multi-directional segmentation expanded techniques.

Of course this applies to the first version of this piece. I am currently working on a revision taking into account all of the comments I have received so far.

I haven't finalized my thinking on the revision yet, but I am leaning towards making a significant modification to the tone of the piece. As I said above, I was going for a more explicitly 'contemporary' feel than is typical for me. That is, more abstract, less expressive. This resulted in a piece that, based on the comments, ended up being, amongst other things, a bit too 'flat' and 'samey'.

Therefore, the techniques used in the revision will probably be somewhat different than the first 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