Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

People have told me the mood of this is very eerie at the start .It isn't really a Halloween piece , but it seemed timely to ask a few questions and Halloween seems to be getting bigger every year here in Aus, when 30 years ago , as a kid it was almost unknown. I think the simpsons (ie the Halloween specials once a year) has influenced us down under!

I've had this performed many times as a stand alone piece, and only twice (at the Sydney Opera house) in its true "place" - the 2nd movement of my string quartet called Winter.

I like big structures and so I prefer it as the middle movement of Winter.

Any thoughts on which is better - stand alone or as a 2nd (but still named) movement in a 3 movement quartet. An unusual feature of the quartet is that all 3 movements are all in minor keys. (e,b,e). I don't find that a problem myself but does too much Minor bother people?

A specific question : what do u think of the end of the piece and the last note being a fade to nothing single note on the violin? The violinist here does it ok but not spectacularly btw...

I wonder if a piano version would work well?

Views: 629

Attachments:

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I think this is a wonderfully beautiful piece!

It can however feel a bit thick in the texture for the most part. The material is so similar all the time so I sometimes wish that the viola part (which is often most interesting - at the times when it gets to leave playing the arpeggios of course) was given the melody and not simply functioning as counterpoint.

All phrases throughout go from the beat of one to the beat of one two or four bars later, leaving us with a lot of resting points. This emphasises the repetitiveness of the piece (which I understand also as a kind of midnighty, wintery stillness, and should therefore of course be kept). Therefore a change of texture and more changes of register could come in handy to keep the piece interesting, it is quite long.

I think that it should definitely be a part of a whole since it is composed that way, and I don't mind all movements of a piece being in the minor key as long as they contrast each other.

The ending I thought worked just fine. I had no problem with that

However connecting it with Halloween I think is a way of reducing the piece. It might sound spooky to some, but it is about night and nighttime is a bit spooky, but in no way ha-ha "trick-or-treat" spooky which I relate the holiday of Halloween to,

The wintery stillness of night is a much more appropriate connection I think.

David

Paul,

You wrote: "People have told me the mood of this is very eerie at the start."

Oh, I totally disagree with that.  There's nothing at all eerie about this piece to me.  To me it's
just calmly reflective and mildly melancholic.  But it's waltzing at the same time, even if it's a
4-time waltz rather than 3-time.  So to me there's a flavor of celebration (in the sense of a positive
evaluation) of something like a memory that's being reflected upon.  Beloved memories often do hurt a
little bit, don't they?  But nothing to do with the word "eerie".

As usual, I felt it was too long.  I felt it could've gone to new places, creating an evolution, a
percourse, a sequencing of moods, but instead it remained close to the original theme and mood for the
entire time.  For example, there was a modulation around 1:45 that gave a sudden very warm feeling.  
I thought this could be the warm feeling we get when we are pulled into a new and pleasant course (a
"warm flush of love", just before being swept away...) but it only lasted a moment and got back into
course.  I would've wanted it to descend in tone and to change considerably in mood.  For such reasons,
which one could summarize as excessive uniformity, I do think this piece works better as a movement of
a larger piece, as opposed to being stand alone.

On the other hand, there's a lot of beauty to me in these melodic lines, and I certainly would've liked
to have listened to it being played at the Sydney Opera House!  Congratulations on such an accomplishment.

To answer one of your questions:  I did like the fading note at the end, although I don't recall what
comes next (i.e., how the 3rd movement starts), which might influence how to end the 2nd movement.

And to answer another of your questions:  I do not hear it as a piano piece, but that could be just me, or

even a momentary lack of imagination.

Mariza

Bob wrote:

'Sorry to post a bunch of stuff having nothing to do with your music, Paul. Oh well.'

I can't remember when the last time was that anyone in this forum diverted that far from topic, Bob.

Mariza

Paul,

I realized later that the word "percourse" does not exist in English.  I was transliterating (is "transliterating" a neologism?) from "percurso" in Portuguese, which means something like a trajectory or pathway, i.e., a specific course traveled through. 

Mariza

I feel your pain.



Bob Porter said:

I feel terrible. Everyone religiously stays on topic. I shall now have to be whipped with a wet noodle. And throw myself on the mercy of the forum. I shall return. You won't have Nixon to kick around any more. Luke, I am your father. It's a trap. Where we're going, we don't need roads. Life is like a bowl of chocolates. There's no place like home. You're gonna need a bigger boat...........

David Unger said, "I think this is a wonderfully beautiful piece!"  I echo that.

You said, "I don't find that a problem myself but does too much Minor bother people?"

 

There is no such thing as too much minor.  Honestly, I found this portion of the Quartet very moving, in this form.  More of the same, or in a similar mood, could not be anything but good.

 

"I wonder if a piano version would work well?"

 

My instinct is to say no.  Movements from ppp to mf, and fast crescendos would simply not have the same feel in a piano version as they would for violins, viola and/or cello.  On the emotional level, from the very first, I don't find the mood to be at all "eerie."  Rather, I find it more profound.  It almost has the feeling of dirge, a song mourning the dead, or even large numbers lost in a war.  The main melody reminds me somewhat of songs I've heard in Russian oratorios, that commemorate those who died in revolutions or in battles.

 

[To say this does not evoke anything in me having to do with Halloween, or "an eerie" feeling, is NOT a criticism.  It's a compliment.  I don't think you are trying to do "Night on Bald Mountain," but something that evokes deeper reflection.]  {But Halloween is coming up, so no reason not to take advantage of that fact}.

 One more thought on the piano question:   it is possible it could work, and the best way to be sure is to try it.  I simply suspect it would be like rescoring slow portions of Schubert's Death and the Maiden Quartet for piano.  (I don't even like that done for String Orchestra, as has been done.  The full range, as well as the intimacy of the String Quartet, as an ensemble, just seems to me appropriate for the melodic and harmonic content of this piece).

Hi David,

Glad u thought it was beautiful!

To me the textural changes between with and without pizz is all it needs to vary the texture. That and the times when the V1 or V2 is resting against the pizz, and when the cello has the melody to the treble pizz too. I'm not big on bells and whistles(for want of a better expression) so I tend to only vary texture when I really feel like the music needs it, which I don't think is needed any more here. But I do realise it is long, though in concert audiences get very absorbed in it and have aften told me it was their favourite piece of the concert. Perhaps it works better in concert, although I guess that is for all music...

 The viola actually does take the melody 4 times actually in 33,53,120 and 155.  Does it not sound like it is here?

Yeah Halloween - bad idea! lol


 
David Unger said:

I think this is a wonderfully beautiful piece!

It can however feel a bit thick in the texture for the most part. The material is so similar all the time so I sometimes wish that the viola part (which is often most interesting - at the times when it gets to leave playing the arpeggios of course) was given the melody and not simply functioning as counterpoint.

All phrases throughout go from the beat of one to the beat of one two or four bars later, leaving us with a lot of resting points. This emphasises the repetitiveness of the piece (which I understand also as a kind of midnighty, wintery stillness, and should therefore of course be kept). Therefore a change of texture and more changes of register could come in handy to keep the piece interesting, it is quite long.

I think that it should definitely be a part of a whole since it is composed that way, and I don't mind all movements of a piece being in the minor key as long as they contrast each other.

The ending I thought worked just fine. I had no problem with that

However connecting it with Halloween I think is a way of reducing the piece. It might sound spooky to some, but it is about night and nighttime is a bit spooky, but in no way ha-ha "trick-or-treat" spooky which I relate the holiday of Halloween to,

The wintery stillness of night is a much more appropriate connection I think.

David

Hi Bob, thanks for listening,

Sorry u found a little long!

Ive been fiddling on the piano and youre right it doesn't work very well at all...

Actually I didn't know anything about Halloween so thanx for sharing. Ive read a bit now - most interesting...

This in the only piece ive ever written with 3/3 minors. For my 4 seasons quartets I picked this for winter , 3 majors for summer,2 majors and a minor for spring and 2 minors and a major for autumn - so was quite planned! Youre reservation with 3/3 is fully justified.


 
Bob Porter said:

Paul,

This is really wonderful.

I, too, think it is a bit long. Especially as part of a bigger piece. It's hard to hold my attention for 11 minutes

How great it is to hear a live performance. I think the ending is performed just fine. We get used to a computer rendition which may do just what you want. In real life, things are different.

I'm not sure this is very spooky. And I don't think it would be as good for piano.

As much as I like minor keys, I don't think I would write all three movements in minor.

David,

Centuries ago, November 1st was the start of the year. Then it was called All Saints Day. October 31st was All Hallows  Eve. That was the night that Satan gathered all the evil spirits together to give them their assignments for the coming year. Many churches do not recognize Halloween, and call it something else. For retail, it is the second biggest holiday, next to Christmas.

Last year I posted something I wrote for Halloween. I think one other person did also.

It's also my birthday.

Sorry to post a bunch of stuff having nothing to do with your music, Paul. Oh well.

Hi Mariza,

I find it a little eerie at the start but when the 2 violins play together I find it quite sad. Probably sweetly sad in the main part. Its interesting how people can hear quite different moods in a piece, influenced by their personality and their connection with music in general. I have always assumed you are quite a feeling type of person - correct?

Sorry u found it too long - I hope u don't find me boring! Its my style I guess - I do try and get as much development as possible , even at the risk of losing people!

I'd decided when I first got the idea for this one that it would never have a completely contrasting section so that was never going to happen , but that is certainly a way that it could have been done, and many composers would have done this with good justification.

Paul


 
Mariza Costa-Cabral said:

Paul,

You wrote: "People have told me the mood of this is very eerie at the start."

Oh, I totally disagree with that.  There's nothing at all eerie about this piece to me.  To me it's
just calmly reflective and mildly melancholic.  But it's waltzing at the same time, even if it's a
4-time waltz rather than 3-time.  So to me there's a flavor of celebration (in the sense of a positive
evaluation) of something like a memory that's being reflected upon.  Beloved memories often do hurt a
little bit, don't they?  But nothing to do with the word "eerie".

As usual, I felt it was too long.  I felt it could've gone to new places, creating an evolution, a
percourse, a sequencing of moods, but instead it remained close to the original theme and mood for the
entire time.  For example, there was a modulation around 1:45 that gave a sudden very warm feeling.  
I thought this could be the warm feeling we get when we are pulled into a new and pleasant course (a
"warm flush of love", just before being swept away...) but it only lasted a moment and got back into
course.  I would've wanted it to descend in tone and to change considerably in mood.  For such reasons,
which one could summarize as excessive uniformity, I do think this piece works better as a movement of
a larger piece, as opposed to being stand alone.

On the other hand, there's a lot of beauty to me in these melodic lines, and I certainly would've liked
to have listened to it being played at the Sydney Opera House!  Congratulations on such an accomplishment.

To answer one of your questions:  I did like the fading note at the end, although I don't recall what
comes next (i.e., how the 3rd movement starts), which might influence how to end the 2nd movement.

And to answer another of your questions:  I do not hear it as a piano piece, but that could be just me, or

even a momentary lack of imagination.

Mariza

lol

Mariza Costa-Cabral said:

Bob wrote:

'Sorry to post a bunch of stuff having nothing to do with your music, Paul. Oh well.'

I can't remember when the last time was that anyone in this forum diverted that far from topic, Bob.

Mariza

Hi OO,

always interesting to have your point of view, and glad u liked it.

You're a fan of minor keys are you? Me too.

Having read more about Halloween, yes agrred - not at all halloweeney!
 
Olmn said:

David Unger said, "I think this is a wonderfully beautiful piece!"  I echo that.

You said, "I don't find that a problem myself but does too much Minor bother people?"

 

There is no such thing as too much minor.  Honestly, I found this portion of the Quartet very moving, in this form.  More of the same, or in a similar mood, could not be anything but good.

 

"I wonder if a piano version would work well?"

 

My instinct is to say no.  Movements from ppp to mf, and fast crescendos would simply not have the same feel in a piano version as they would for violins, viola and/or cello.  On the emotional level, from the very first, I don't find the mood to be at all "eerie."  Rather, I find it more profound.  It almost has the feeling of dirge, a song mourning the dead, or even large numbers lost in a war.  The main melody reminds me somewhat of songs I've heard in Russian oratorios, that commemorate those who died in revolutions or in battles.

 

[To say this does not evoke anything in me having to do with Halloween, or "an eerie" feeling, is NOT a criticism.  It's a compliment.  I don't think you are trying to do "Night on Bald Mountain," but something that evokes deeper reflection.]  {But Halloween is coming up, so no reason not to take advantage of that fact}.

 One more thought on the piano question:   it is possible it could work, and the best way to be sure is to try it.  I simply suspect it would be like rescoring slow portions of Schubert's Death and the Maiden Quartet for piano.  (I don't even like that done for String Orchestra, as has been done.  The full range, as well as the intimacy of the String Quartet, as an ensemble, just seems to me appropriate for the melodic and harmonic content of this piece).

gotcha!  (that word has probably only existed in English for a few years id imagine officially (websters or OED)
 
Mariza Costa-Cabral said:

Paul,

I realized later that the word "percourse" does not exist in English.  I was transliterating (is "transliterating" a neologism?) from "percurso" in Portuguese, which means something like a trajectory or pathway, i.e., a specific course traveled through. 

Mariza

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Sign up info

Read before you sign up to find out what the requirements are!

Store

© 2020   Created by Gav Brown.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service