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Hello everybody,

I wish to ask you for some comments about a symphony that I am revising.

Originally written in 1996, it is a Beethoven-style work for chamber orchestra in four movements, as follows:

  1. forma-sonata allegro
  2. tripartite andante
  3. tripartite fast movement based on a fugue (in the place of a scherzo)
  4. forma-sonata finale.

It was actually my first composition, and as I had studied only solfeggio before, it came out full of ingenuities and mistakes (i.e. no legato markings, wrong instruments range, bad harmony etc.).

But it has always been close to my heart. Therefore last year I started to revise it, in order to orchestrate it for a larger ensemble and to turn it into a professional, real-instruments-executable score.

I started from the last movement, the one I love more. You find in attachment the score in PDF and an MP3 generated using SIbelius.

I would like to know your opinion, positive and, more important, negative, about:

  1. The composition in itself
  2. Its orchestration
  3. Its executability.

Thank you for help.

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It is set low, as I didn't want to flatter myself with a Carnegie Hall-like listening experience. :))

Claudio,

     You need to get better sound so we can listen to it and hear the parts.  Turn up the reverb. Adjust the instruments in the mixer so they are at midrange.  It the highest level is 12 put them at about 7.  Do you have instrument samples installed.  I use Garitin Personal Orchestra.  There have been other good ones suggested on the forum.  You get better orchestral sound if you use orchestra sections not solo instruments.

     Otherwise I hear some good melodies and structure.  You need to work on accompaniment.  Beethoven is a great place to start.  The constant repetition of chords under the melody is too monotonous.  Follow what Beethoven does.

     In the opening the whole orchestra rests should be eliminated.  You might use one grand pause at the end of a piece, but these sound like gaps in the playback.  These are just some basics to get started.

Claudio,

Don't worry about reverb or sound sets. This mp3 is perfectly good enough to get your point across.
And don't worry about writing in a Beethoven-like style. Beethoven already wrote like Beethoven, and he was pretty good at it. The rest of us mere mortals need to write like ourselves.
I suggest leaving the score like it is. Many conductors like a full score. That way they know right where to look on the page for something. And that place is the same on every page. A condensed score takes less space, but things jump around. The horns might be at the top of the page on one page, and in the middle on the next. Just depends on the conductor.

Let suggest a few things about the orchestration.

I'm not sure I would give any instruments a number of pages of repeated eight notes. We have some responsibility to not only make parts playable, but interesting as well.

Let's consider measure 96. These measures are an example of a lot of things to think about. If it were me, I would:
1. Do away with all the octave doubling within the same instrument families. I know you are trying to get a big sound. But the tone quality of the flute on the upper G is totally different from the quality of the lower G.
2. If the octave jump is important make it happen in all voices.
3. Flute can't play that low G in the next measure, anyway.
4. In some places, consider harmonies instead of octaves.

Normally, the themes in a final movement are borrowed from earlier movements. It's a chance for us to see how well you have crafted the music from the entire work by seeing they if fit together here at the end. Is that the case here?

You have spent a lot of time trading motifs within the woodwinds (maybe too much?), but little of that with other groups. It's OK to have longer sections of just strings with minimal WW's, or just WW's.
And I think harmonies in the double bass sound muddy. Maybe that's just me.

I actually like this. My suggestions are only to clean up the orchestration.

Hello, 

I apologize for my late answer, but I am starting a new job, and my music time has suddenly disappeared! :)

Bob, you hit the point, thank you. Your comments are of the kind I was looking for.

Actually, I didn't wish to write like Beethoven: this symphony originally came out by itself in a short time (in 1996). Probably it is Beethoven-like because I love him and 30 years ago I used to spend hours listening to his music; the music I had in my head came from that listening.

Your comments are really invaluable and need thinking, especially the one on beat 96. Thank you very much for them, I will turn them in my mind and, hopefully, make a good use of them.

Lawrence, thank you for your comments, I appreciated. :)

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