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I was inspired to compose this after listening to a couple of horn pieces on another site. Any suggestions for improvement would be very welcome. Many thanks in advance.

 

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This piece is a lot of fun and I enjoyed it.  You said you were looking for suggestions, so here a few.

The piece is very tonal and because of that, several harmonic progressions stuck out to me.  For example, the cadence in bars 22-23 (V / ii / I6?).  The horn melody signifies this as a significant cadence, but the harmonies in the piano don't make sense as such (and so it ends up sounding half-done, if that makes sense).  My ear so wants to hear Eb in the last note of the bass.  I would recommend going through the piano accompaniment by itself and making sure it all makes sense harmonically (in support of the structure).

I also think you could try to work in more variation in the piano accompaniment figurations. Both hands play all the time, always articulate beats 1 and 2 and never venture beyond the middle range of the piano.  Bar 168 finally has some extended range for the right hand, but the left hand is just where it's been the whole time--why not take the bass notes up an octave or two?  I really like the "sweep" of the minor-key dotted quarter music starting at bar 40, but once the horn reenters, the music is right back to the same accompaniment figuration. Some judicious use of sixteenth notes (outside of their use in the Sicilian rhythm) might help, too.

Hello Stephen,

I have been very busy today (still am) so I had time only to listen once and follow the score.

I like very much the musical idea of this festive duet. To me it gives the feeling of a Celtic jig in the speed played, but I also agree with John's points above. Especially his characterization of the rhythm as Sicilian (I suppose he has in mind a tarantella type of dance, but please, John, correct me if I'm wrong). To that effect, another thought cross my mind, that this piece played much slower (in a baroque ala Siciliana tempo, could be a vocal one.

That would just be another version of its melodic ideas, while this version would be kept as an instrumental duet.

Your title provoked in me all these thoughts because the Orion constellation is perhaps my best nightly show in my summers in Crete.

Down there it becomes visible early in the morning round the end of July-beginning of August as the days get smaller, and for the last 15 years I have been writing poems about it which I never have enough time to set to music.

But, seeing that we almost got the same title on the same general subject, I post this little poem of 6 years ago, in case you would be interested to make a subsidiary vocal version of your piece on my verse.

If it is not appropriate for your purpose, I apologize and still I thank you for sharing this piece. At least I know for certain I'm not the only night-sky watcher, Orion admirer. :-)

EDELTRAUD 3: THE PSYCHOBITCH

EMPIO ECO DA LONTANO

DRUNKEN MORNINGS

<=> LEMONIA SUMMER BLAST

 

HILLSIDE

FRIDAY-EARLY MORNING

26/7/2013

 

LET THE BIG HUNTER DECIDE

 

Looking into the sky you look the past,

I do it cause there's nothing else to do,

I only go as back as SUMMER BLAST,

I only speak of love between us two.

 

This morning the Big Hunter re-appeared,

I welcome him again on this hillside,

For summer loves he seems to be all geared,

I'll let him for my loves better decide.

 

I'll let Grand Bellatrix awake my thrilling,

I'll let Grand Betelgeuse uplift me fast,

And Bright Rigel sanctify my feeling,

All three I will invoke to sing our past.

Tally Ho.

Sorry. very nice.

I think this would be very fun for two horns. 

The piano part seems a bit thin with so many places where there are triads in the right hand and single notes in the left. I know you may not want to cover up the horn, but I thinks there is little chance of that. I would think that the accel up to the atempo would be followed by a full sounding piano part. Also the cadence before G seems slightly awkward to me. But I've only listened once.

Thanks for posting. 

Thanks for listening and commenting John. I have looked carefully at your astute comments and have responded by adjusting the piece almost entirely in accord with your suggestions - I hope I've done justice to them and must say I think they have made a considerable improvement overall. Again, many thanks.

John Driscoll said:

This piece is a lot of fun and I enjoyed it.  You said you were looking for suggestions, so here a few.

The piece is very tonal and because of that, several harmonic progressions stuck out to me.  For example, the cadence in bars 22-23 (V / ii / I6?).  The horn melody signifies this as a significant cadence, but the harmonies in the piano don't make sense as such (and so it ends up sounding half-done, if that makes sense).  My ear so wants to hear Eb in the last note of the bass.  I would recommend going through the piano accompaniment by itself and making sure it all makes sense harmonically (in support of the structure).

I also think you could try to work in more variation in the piano accompaniment figurations. Both hands play all the time, always articulate beats 1 and 2 and never venture beyond the middle range of the piano.  Bar 168 finally has some extended range for the right hand, but the left hand is just where it's been the whole time--why not take the bass notes up an octave or two?  I really like the "sweep" of the minor-key dotted quarter music starting at bar 40, but once the horn reenters, the music is right back to the same accompaniment figuration. Some judicious use of sixteenth notes (outside of their use in the Sicilian rhythm) might help, too.

Thanks Bob, Tally Ho indeed!

I agree this could be adapted for two (or maybe 4) horns and will bear your suggestion seriously in mind. I've altered the cadence at G to a full close and think it's an improvement. Also, in line with yours and John's suggestions, I have beefed up the piano part somewhat.

Thanks for listening and commenting, very helpful. 

Bob Porter said:

Tally Ho.

Sorry. very nice.

I think this would be very fun for two horns. 

The piano part seems a bit thin with so many places where there are triads in the right hand and single notes in the left. I know you may not want to cover up the horn, but I thinks there is little chance of that. I would think that the accel up to the atempo would be followed by a full sounding piano part. Also the cadence before G seems slightly awkward to me. But I've only listened once.

Thanks for posting. 

Thanks Socrates - these excellent and interesting comments are what I've come to expect from you. It's an interesting idea to vocalise this piece - someone once did a spoof(ish) recording of the rondo from Mozart's 4th horn concerto for voice - being a bit of a pedant and a purist (and probably a few more things beside) I'm not sure I liked it overmuch.

I like your poem but am pretty sure I would be unable to fit it to the 6/8 rhythm of my piece - do you think it would work?

Looking at the various comments it appears I have written something that's a Celtic jig cum tarantella cum gallop....interesting.

Thanks Socrates, as always.

Socrates Arvanitakis said:

Hello Stephen,

I have been very busy today (still am) so I had time only to listen once and follow the score.

I like very much the musical idea of this festive duet. To me it gives the feeling of a Celtic jig in the speed played, but I also agree with John's points above. Especially his characterization of the rhythm as Sicilian (I suppose he has in mind a tarantella type of dance, but please, John, correct me if I'm wrong). To that effect, another thought cross my mind, that this piece played much slower (in a baroque ala Siciliana tempo, could be a vocal one.

That would just be another version of its melodic ideas, while this version would be kept as an instrumental duet.

Your title provoked in me all these thoughts because the Orion constellation is perhaps my best nightly show in my summers in Crete.

Down there it becomes visible early in the morning round the end of July-beginning of August as the days get smaller, and for the last 15 years I have been writing poems about it which I never have enough time to set to music.

But, seeing that we almost got the same title on the same general subject, I post this little poem of 6 years ago, in case you would be interested to make a subsidiary vocal version of your piece on my verse.

If it is not appropriate for your purpose, I apologize and still I thank you for sharing this piece. At least I know for certain I'm not the only night-sky watcher, Orion admirer. :-)

EDELTRAUD 3: THE PSYCHOBITCH

EMPIO ECO DA LONTANO

DRUNKEN MORNINGS

<=> LEMONIA SUMMER BLAST

 

HILLSIDE

FRIDAY-EARLY MORNING

26/7/2013

 

LET THE BIG HUNTER DECIDE

 

Looking into the sky you look the past,

I do it cause there's nothing else to do,

I only go as back as SUMMER BLAST,

I only speak of love between us two.

 

This morning the Big Hunter re-appeared,

I welcome him again on this hillside,

For summer loves he seems to be all geared,

I'll let him for my loves better decide.

 

I'll let Grand Bellatrix awake my thrilling,

I'll let Grand Betelgeuse uplift me fast,

And Bright Rigel sanctify my feeling,

All three I will invoke to sing our past.

Glad it was useful!

Stephen Lines said:

Thanks for listening and commenting John. I have looked carefully at your astute comments and have responded by adjusting the piece almost entirely in accord with your suggestions - I hope I've done justice to them and must say I think they have made a considerable improvement overall. Again, many thanks.

John Driscoll said:

This piece is a lot of fun and I enjoyed it.  You said you were looking for suggestions, so here a few.

The piece is very tonal and because of that, several harmonic progressions stuck out to me.  For example, the cadence in bars 22-23 (V / ii / I6?).  The horn melody signifies this as a significant cadence, but the harmonies in the piano don't make sense as such (and so it ends up sounding half-done, if that makes sense).  My ear so wants to hear Eb in the last note of the bass.  I would recommend going through the piano accompaniment by itself and making sure it all makes sense harmonically (in support of the structure).

I also think you could try to work in more variation in the piano accompaniment figurations. Both hands play all the time, always articulate beats 1 and 2 and never venture beyond the middle range of the piano.  Bar 168 finally has some extended range for the right hand, but the left hand is just where it's been the whole time--why not take the bass notes up an octave or two?  I really like the "sweep" of the minor-key dotted quarter music starting at bar 40, but once the horn reenters, the music is right back to the same accompaniment figuration. Some judicious use of sixteenth notes (outside of their use in the Sicilian rhythm) might help, too.

Stephen,

    Great work with the horn.  You could shape up the horn part with articulation especially in the first half.  I feel like the accompaniment is too thumpy, e.i. on the beat chords.  A little syncopation in parts would add a nice contrast as well as some arpeggios instead of straight on the beat.  The second half has more contrast and variation.  Overall I really enjoyed this.

Thanks Lawrence for your interest and comments - it's very gratifying not having to work in a vacuum. The piece has been amended in line with John's, Bob's, Socrates' and your suggestions (I've added some articulation to the horn part but haven't done a great deal more to the piano part since incorporating John's suggestions).

Overall I am very pleased with the amendments which have improved the piece somewhat.

Thank you again.

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