Music Composers Unite!
What is odd about this piece is perusing your thesis (esp some of the construction ideas behind the harmonies) I thought it would sound far more ambitious manipulation of somewhat generic thematic ideas (I mean the triplet and rising figure of your opening theme suggests William's Star Wars theme) - but I was a little disappointed by how straighforward it was - except the end which needed thicker orchestration to create some finality - unless this is your reference to the improbability, which would have benefited from bringing in more "improbabilities" - either orchestrally or your harmonic laws (some of the rules are quite old, standard ones which could easily been "broken" or even parodied by throwing in incongruent styles - think Schnittke's 1st Symphony)
Note - this is a pretty good orchestral piece following in the footsteps of in the John Williams vein. ANd when I think about the sound production comments I have to agree - though I am not knowledgeable about this - listen to the horns - how overly round and consistent the tone is as well as the strings - a group of strings rarely perform live musical poassges with the same exact vibrato.
Two things that may have brought the surprisingly straightforward result which a good experienced composer could have produced as a final or second draft:
a) Your aesthetic choices: I have to question your musical associations -for example, granted a whole tone scale tends toward irresolution but you can create a "home " tone by sheer repetition and manipulation of tessitura/voicing. Granted your models are more conservative (well except some Debussy)
b) Your thematic material - again, I wonder why are they much more triadic when you also employ secundal harmony? Why not have this synthesis be heard to a greater extend in your melodies? Also, a good deal of your melodies rise or fall by filling in a third, the exception being the leaping fifth though that hints strongly of a full triad.
c) Finally - You show some attempts at breaking out of a generally embellished four part chorale counterpoint but too few and the counterpoint could be improved - the freer lines y don't seem to have a strong role except as nice embellishments (once in awhile slightly clumsy) but nothing else. Also it could explain one reason for the overly consistent sound throughout - very full, genial sound than dark and rich - so I wonder how much practice you have had with orchestral writing with smaller forces or writing chamber music. You do show a nice solid base in this area - this piece just reveals a need for greater versatility and practice with free counterpoint.
Again, thank you for your comments. Christopher, thanks for such an in-depth review. I am working on freer melodic lines, which I hope will be seen in my next composition post.
Simon, after rereading Persichetti's chapter on pandiatonicism, I think my understanding of it got skewed somewhere along the line. I believed it to be writing in a singular diatonic framework and using an assortment of harmonic structures as one saw fit. So free use of secundal, triadic, quartal, etc. I can't really explain how or why I arrived at this, so it would probably suit me to remove the mention of it.