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Hullo everyone!

I've recently gotten back into the swing of composing after a bit of a dry spell. I'll be posting a few of my latest compositions!

This is a set of four very short pieces for piano solo, and here is a link to a video with synchronized score and recording (of a rather tentative performance by yours truly).

It comprises of a Prelude, a Nocturne, a Fughetta, and a Scherzo. There's various tidbits that pop up in several of the four pieces, I would list a few but I suppose part of whether any of it succeeded or not is if you notice them :)

I'd love to hear any feedback I can get! Doesn't have to be detailed, doesn't have to be nice, if you've taken 8 minutes to listen to the pieces I'd greatly appreciate if you took an extra few to write your thoughts, there's nothing I find more valuable or rewarding than hearing people's opinions and keeping them in mind for my next forays into composition.

Thanks!!!

Will

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Hi William,

I enjoyed these pieces. Your writing is idiomatic and very assured and your playing very very good indeed.

The prelude was great with shades of Brahms and Chopin and I loved the syncopation. The nocturne had a very nice expression, almost berceuse like.

I was slightly disappointed in the fughetta and not entirely convinced by its counterpoint nor its structure, but that is just me.

The Scherzo was great virtuosic fun and brilliantly played. It is in this piece that I think you were the most inventive and there were some lovely harmonic turns and excellent pianistic writing.

Mike

mikehewer.com

These are very nicely done :)

And theyre titled as sketches, but perhaps there might have been some dynamics in the score, and less so, possibly even some pedal indications, though in older style music the pedaling might be obvious, and considered by some unnecessary.

I do realize that there is a small number of contemporary composers who forego notating any pedaling whatsoever, but more often than not their music is known, and the pianist performing it knows from past experience the composers intentions. But this possibly leaves others in a lurch, and those writing newer music very often rely on what might in the past have been considered very unorthodox pedaling..ie Michael Finnissy, Pierre Boulez (especially in his third Piano Sonata)..where its a necessity to notate such.

Where the music doesnt demand a lot of pedal indications, many composers, such as Elliott Carter, only indicate pedaling where they feel it absolutely necessary, leaving the rest up to the performer.

Thanks so much for sharing:)

Bob https://soundcloud.com/bob-morabito



Mike Hewer said:

Hi William,

I enjoyed these pieces. Your writing is idiomatic and very assured and your playing very very good indeed.

The prelude was great with shades of Brahms and Chopin and I loved the syncopation. The nocturne had a very nice expression, almost berceuse like.

I was slightly disappointed in the fughetta and not entirely convinced by its counterpoint nor its structure, but that is just me.

The Scherzo was great virtuosic fun and brilliantly played. It is in this piece that I think you were the most inventive and there were some lovely harmonic turns and excellent pianistic writing.

Mike

mikehewer.com

Thanks! Yeah, the fughetta isn't great, it's definitely the weakest of the lot. I'm glad you enjoyed the Scherzo! It was supposed to be a fun and wild ride to cap off the set :)

Bob Morabito said:

These are very nicely done :)

And theyre titled as sketches, but perhaps there might have been some dynamics in the score, and less so, possibly even some pedal indications, though in older style music the pedaling might be obvious, and considered by some unnecessary.

I do realize that there is a small number of contemporary composers who forego notating any pedaling whatsoever, but more often than not their music is known, and the pianist performing it knows from past experience the composers intentions. But this possibly leaves others in a lurch, and those writing newer music very often rely on what might in the past have been considered very unorthodox pedaling..ie Michael Finnissy, Pierre Boulez (especially in his third Piano Sonata)..where its a necessity to notate such.

Where the music doesnt demand a lot of pedal indications, many composers, such as Elliott Carter, only indicate pedaling where they feel it absolutely necessary, leaving the rest up to the performer.

Thanks so much for sharing:)

Bob https://soundcloud.com/bob-morabito

Lack of engraving is sort of a bad habit of mine. I tend to get the notes down, add minimal performance markings and then record and move on! I've been told by quite a few people now that I should put in pedal indications / dynamics to greater detail, so it's definitely something I'll be keeping in mind when writing more large-scale pieces.

Thank you both very much for your feedback :)

I love the dynamics of all four pieces, and especially the scherzo. They were a pleasure to listen to. The dynamics were in my humble opinion the best aspect of any of these pieces, though the melodic flow certainly also retained my attention.

Listening to them now.  Lovely work!  More of an engraving thing - I'm not really an expert on piano notation, but I wondered if it wouldn't be helpful to make some of the cross-rhythmic stuff you have going on in the first movement a bit clearer in the notation - maybe with different beaming?  Just a thought.

LOVE the part starting m30 in the 2nd movement.  Fabulous stuff!  Is there a particular composer that inspired this section? Those octave jumps are a really great way to bring out a melody and move the texture up and down the keyboard.

The fugue is very interesting.  The use of a tone row is pretty cool.  I thought it was interesting how the fugue sort of wavered between something like serialism and something that felt to me like tonal gravity.  I felt like the counterpoint could be a bit clearer, like there isn't enough clarity of individual voices which is what a fugue is all about

The scherzo was a lot of fun, if a bit heavy-handed in the chromatic chord changes - but it sounds like that was your intention, and it works well!  It sounds like the kind of thing that is as fun to play as it is to listen to!

Hey William,

I may be able to add a few observations later in a few days, but wow, if you played that, your technique is very good indeed. I am impressed.

Best wishes and keep up the great work. What would be great is a video of the score, and perhaps added to the video after the score, a video of you performing your composition.

What a great set, Willliam!  I loved all four pieces!   I thought the little fugue worked splendidly.  The subject was totally recognizable and had interesting angularity.  It's hard to bring out fugue voices on the piano, but I thought you did a great job of writing it.  The prelude and scherzo were both exciting and fun to listen to, with sizzling climactic points.  My students would have a ball playing either of these romps through the keyboard.  The nocturne was a lovely contrast to all the excitement and energy.  This is a memorable set.

It's not ready for other people to play yet, but when it is I would think pianists would totally love it.

It definitely needs dynamic markings, including crescendos, diminuendos, and all the subtleties of dynamic changes.  My pianists and I have spent way too much time writing in dynamics to make up for composers who didn't include them.  The composers should define clearly the dynamic shape of each piece.  I insist that my composition students include dynamics from the very beginning of planning a piece, not as an afterthought. 

It also needs tempo change indications.  Metronome markings would be very helpful as would rits, a tempos and other tempi markings.  Without your performance, a performer wouldn't have much of a clue about the performance tempo you really wanted, and most pianists won't have access to your sound file.  Many of them don't like to listen to sound files before beginning a piece, anyway, since they want to explore the music on their own.  The ideal partnership is a composer who has made his/her intentions clear, and a performer who can take those intentions and incorporate them into a unique interpretation that would thrill the composer!

Congratulations on such great work.

 

This was excellent. 

The score is obviously not a finished product yet - if you feel it is, I agree it's going to need a lot more as far as dynamics and expressions are concerned.

Definitely enjoyed the Scherzo the most. Truly fun to listen to. I have no complaints on the writing, playing technique, or any of that. 

Get that piano tuned though. This would sound awesome professionally recorded. 

Also - fan of Rachmaninoff much?Definitely picked up some of his flair somewhere it seems, especially in the Scherzo. 

I very much enjoyed it. You are an amazing talent.

Really cool stuff. I thought the last movement was the most balanced as a composition. The first movement feels very short, even for a "sketch".  Sometimes you have an idea, that does not get elaborated much, for instance m85-90 in the 4th movement. You bring in a new texture, and abandon it almost immediately.

But there is much to be admired here.

Victor.

The writing is quite idiomatic and you have some nice tunes, as Mike pointed out.  The nocturne seems to be a theme and variations, which works quite nicely.  I'd say the nocturne and scherzo were my favourite movements.  And I could definitely hear some Rachmaninoff– there was a section in the nocturne that really reminded me of one of his preludes, but there you go.  Anyway, great work!

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