Music Composers Unite!
Here's something from me.
This is a collection of 21 short works for solo piano. Aimed at students, mainly, it still holds much interest (I hope). It was my 'dream' to offer some nice illustrations and do something like this, for quite some time now, and over the course of last summer, I came up with a single idea for one of the short works! And a few days later, I had composed all twenty one of them.
Ranging from very easy to quite hard the follow a weird/queer line of thinking in terms of melody and harmony, but not rhythm. And the titles are also quite wacky!
Enjoy six of them in video form, with some previews of the scores and the illustrations!
Performed by me, on the Garritan Steinway, with no retouches as far as I can remember...
PS. And to link it to the other thread, from Barnaby's quartet, I'd say that this follows a more timid route, but it certainly wasn't in my mind to make them 'likable'. Just early pianists friendly and somewhat 'happy' if this term can apply.
PPS. I just noticed that I'm not performing XVI properly. Some rhythms are off! Way to go me! :(
Very nice work..The three pieces I heard had real form and excellent content. BUT each of them sounds like it could be the "A" part of an A-B-A form. They remind me a little of Bartok Microcosmos and thats a very good thing. Keep writing.
Yes, they are very short. In fact some of them are only 8 bars or so. On purpose so, because my usual output ranges to a few hundred bars at least, and 7-12 minutes or so.
Let's say that it was also an attempt to challenge myself and go short!
Thanks for the Bartok comment! ^_^ I'm not too sure if there's any musical similarities, but I do see the connections indeed!
Very nice harmonies here. They do have good form, and I particularly like the use of your pedal point in Declining. The ending of that piece was fabulous as well. Cirque de Rien has some nice melodies, as does Perpettum Cell Phone
If I were to be really finicky and give you some really minor little critiques, at Cirque de Rien, I could consider taking the bass line down as F-E-D-C at some point, just for contrast, if you feel like it. Also, in Perpettum Cell Phone, it depends on the level of the player, but I personally would not mark as the left being over the right.
I also love your titles :) What's the story behind them?
Just a note, if I may. There are two videos, with a total of 6 works there, but I'm not sure if people are watching both, or only the first one...
I wanted the Cirque de Rien to remain very steady, with only the melody changing from major to minor. Simple stuff.
And in perpettum cell phone, I deleted one of the comments, or two, before the final publication after all. But I thought that a student might need this (not the teacher, but still)..
The titles came to me again in a very fast pace, like in a day or two. Some works have some stories behind them, others are just 'music'.
Thanks for listening Lara!
listened to the three pieces. I agree with Fredrick that there is a real Mikrocosmos connection. I think he is intimating that, definitely you have something there, but I also think you need to break out of the mold of minimalism, convenient repetition. The Mikrocosmos pieces are purist oddities, kind of technical abstractions - not real explorative adventures like the Bach fugues or the Beethoven sonatas.. I would not sit and listen to them, the Mikrocosmos, for any time, but I would certainly listen to the quartets.
If you want to move beyond writing curious miniatures, but sort of take up aesthetically from where you are - it might pay to look and listen to early pieces by Lowell Liebermann - and then trace his artistic route on the piano.
He, and Ligeti, are the ones who have written really substantial modern solo works for piano.
Seems like you have Bartok's occasional predilection for the sort of 'inverse resolution' of dissonances, as per the 'cadence' closing No. 2. Interesting, and I liked the Waltz most.
First of all a general comment: There are two (2) videos,with a total of 6 works, not 3. I'm not sure why everyone keeps mentioning three pieces, but there are six there...
About the mikrocosmos connection that various people have started to bring up, here's the deal: I have all six books, but I've NEVER taught them, nor played. I think that I might have listened to a total of five over the time. So it's NOT really possible to have copied anything, since I don't know the works! Pure and simple.
Now, onto something else. These were composed in a matter of days, as educational material, to break loose from the likes of Czerny, Beyer, etc, in the piano literature. They are, of course, not intended as etudes, but as something that a 13 year old can play and enjoy, along with the illustrations. They were hard to compose, because I'm actually used to big forms (10+ minutes) and long works, that I had been composing over the course of my PhD in composition! They are rather minimal, yes, but they are so because some of them (not presented in these two youtube videos) are even 8 bars, or even 4 bars at a time. They are there to purely present an idea: Some clusters (Obsessions), some dichotomy in the two hands of major/minor (the waltz) some perpeetum mobile in the right hand, some dissonant romance, etc...
At the same time, of working on these (which as I said came in, in a matter of days), I didn't want to present something that is 'ugly' sort of sounding. This is part of the first publications to come out from Editions Musica Ferrum, and as such I'm also hoping to present to the audience 'nice sounding' contemporary music. It's a real problem, you know: Everyone thinks that contemporary music sucks!! And I really don't appreciate that. Thus these pieces, which I hope don't 'suck'! ;)
PS. but on a different post...
Perhaps there's a connection with Prokofiev's "Visions Fugitive"! I've played a lot of them, I adore Prokofiev, and have plenty of his music on my CD cases and perhaps there's an underlying connection there. But if there's one with Mikrocosmos, it's purely coincidental, since I'm not heard many of the works. I have played the Romanian dances a little, and some other works for piano by Bartok, but that's about it. And of course I've heard his other famous works... but not Mikrocosmos.
in no way was I saying that you have literally or even unintentionally copied Bartok. Why not post some of your larger works. (Incidentally, I loathe the fact that we have to post photos here, and mine was all I had to hand, but I think your logo kind of detracts from the impression that 'here will be the site of a serious composer').
Your pieces don't suck at all, but, even given the dimensions and intentions, they don't really say or do a great deal. Put your best works on here - it ain't a competition, and the commentary should't be designed to hinder but to help. We all have to lay our craft, and our souls bare here.
There is no way that I, nor yours truly with greater academic qualifications, can assume station simply because of some piece of paper, either. There are plenty of 'hack composers' who possess PhDs, and some enormously important ones, like Schoenberg, who were largely self taught.
Please put your best work here, so that we have something of real substance to talk about. Otherwise the whole forum will gravitate towards a home place for the inept, the purely convivial, and the timid. I'm quite happy to receive severe criticism of my work, and, if it is analytically and aesthetically intelligent, I will be the receiver of good instruction.
Best wishes Nikolas,
sorry to be so harsh - but I try to be harsh upon myself too.
My account was created years ago, and this was the avatar I was using at the time. It's a manga-fied picture of my son wearing my headphones! :D And when I started reposting I didn't think about changing it, but I will once I find some time.
But I didn't want to post too much, because I didn't feel like 'spamming' the forums straight away. Given the fact that the works are published and the scores are for sale, you can see how I try to remain just a tiny bit timid. Of course the feeling of a competition doesn't really work for me, but your words ("they don't really say or do a great deal.") feel a like provocative of a reaction! ;)
I mentioned the PhD, not to show off or prove that I have a great academic qualification, but to indicate that indeed I've composed large scale works.
I hope to post more shortly but in the meantime if you're anxious, I'm sure that you can figure out where to find other works of mine, it shouldn't be too difficult! ;)
Many thanks Mark. I appreciate the exchange we're having, truly!