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Its the first day of summer here in the southern hemisphere and its 34 degrees C.

This is the 2nd movement of my Summer quartet, called Summer night.

Its the only one of the 3 movements that I've recorded so far.

I would say its one of my most melodious pieces. Incidentally the 1st and 3rd movements are very exuberant, energetic pieces in contrast to the more relaxed feel with this one, but it does have some tension in parts.

Like Mariza I find that writing in major can be more difficult melody wise than in minor. Anyone else find that?

I would be interested to think what people think on 1st hearing and if they have time, any subsequent ones...

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Gorgeous piece, Paul.  I love the melody, rather, the melodies in counterpoint.

I liked how it got agitated in the segment (roughly) 4:30-5:30, and after that resumed so warmly and calmly in a modified version of the original main theme. The climax at the end builds up very naturally and I enjoyed it very much.

The piece is very evocative and very enjoyable.

Images of skipping along a river bank in a state of happiness kept coming to my mind, though no doubt that's a highly personal response.

It's quite nice. I wasn't convinced by mm. 147 though, it didn't seem like a good transition or conclusion to what had been happening. I think the movement was a bit long for the material covered - the keys and defiance of expectations harmonically in certain points keep it interesting, but I still think more could be done with the overall movement. Perhaps more direction to a climax and relaxation after it, or something like that. 

Just a couple notes orchestrationally (that I noticed while listening): 

  • mm. 6 - 8, you could give the 2nd violin's bottom notes to the 1st violin (as double stops) and it would make this easier overall
  • mm. 41 - 44, awkward 2nd vln 
  • mm. 106, viola slurring makes more sense as 5 + 3, 8 is awkward
  • mm. 128 - 131, awkward in 2nd vln, is this type of writing necessary? Thirds and fourths in chamber music are pure evil and should be reserved for fast forte chords, pretty much 

Good job!

Hi David, Regarding your violin technique comments :

bars 6-8 giving the lower note to V1 is certainly possible but would weaken the melodic line of V1. Better despite the slight awkwardness to give it to a less exposed part, especially as the start of bar 6 where it would mean a perfect 5th for V1. They are only 1st position double stops, easy enough for the experienced player, if not enjoyable to play.

bars 41-44 Agreed awkward but quite playable. (I try out all chords myself and if I can play them then a good violinist should have no big problem even if they are difficult to sight read well.)

bar 106 Good idea

bars 128-131 Yes its awkward. It was necessary only in that the passage sounds best like this. If it is difficult for v2 them I am happy with that - I am happy to make their life easier but not at the expense of the music, within reason of course. 

 Nice image Mariza! hopefully not a muddy riverbank?? 

(You r very good at mental images for music btw)

Glad u liked the climax - its one of my favourite endings of mine ive written. The raised 4th (c#) in the ending is an unusual effect giving a brief feeling of being in the Lydian mode (F to F on the white keys) and the "extra majorness" that that can feel like. I hoped it would give that really warm feeling while also sounding a little unexpected. Did u notice the c# here?


 
Mariza Costa-Cabral said:

Gorgeous piece, Paul.  I love the melody, rather, the melodies in counterpoint.

I liked how it got agitated in the segment (roughly) 4:30-5:30, and after that resumed so warmly and calmly in a modified version of the original main theme. The climax at the end builds up very naturally and I enjoyed it very much.

The piece is very evocative and very enjoyable.

Images of skipping along a river bank in a state of happiness kept coming to my mind, though no doubt that's a highly personal response.

There's sometimes this tradeoff between "oh I wish I had more players for a fuller sound" and "I want this realistically to be played perfectly in tune and get a great performance out of my players" - I tend to avoid writing things that only a professional recording would nail. If you're happy with awkward passages that will typically be performed with slight mediocrity, then that's fine. I could definitely play everything in this fine - these are just the passages that I'd mumble to myself about while sitting down to practice. Haha. 

Paul Halley said:

Hi David, Regarding your violin technique comments :

bars 6-8 giving the lower note to V1 is certainly possible but would weaken the melodic line of V1. Better despite the slight awkwardness to give it to a less exposed part, especially as the start of bar 6 where it would mean a perfect 5th for V1. They are only 1st position double stops, easy enough for the experienced player, if not enjoyable to play.

bars 41-44 Agreed awkward but quite playable. (I try out all chords myself and if I can play them then a good violinist should have no big problem even if they are difficult to sight read well.)

bar 106 Good idea

bars 128-131 Yes its awkward. It was necessary only in that the passage sounds best like this. If it is difficult for v2 them I am happy with that - I am happy to make their life easier but not at the expense of the music, within reason of course. 

yeah fair enough ...u sound like a violinist alright! lol ....  ive had mumbles b4 and I know Ill have mumbles again...

We played this in a string orchestra a little while back and I simplified some difficult bits with divisi

the rich, thick harmonies at the commencement of this movement reflect the warm almost humid summer morning, leading to the melodious layering of the birds and the breeze and the freedom that comes with the enjoyment of the long daylight hours  - all this I hear, radiates from Summer, a moving, emotive, sensitive yet hopeful & positively delightful composition. Keep them coming Paul....what's next??

  Hi Mark, thanks for listening. Nice description - glad it sounded like that.

Still working on more St Qs (have several half finished) and starting a P sonata (THAT is a challenge for me)
 
MARK MATTHEWS said:

the rich, thick harmonies at the commencement of this movement reflect the warm almost humid summer morning, leading to the melodious layering of the birds and the breeze and the freedom that comes with the enjoyment of the long daylight hours  - all this I hear, radiates from Summer, a moving, emotive, sensitive yet hopeful & positively delightful composition. Keep them coming Paul....what's next??

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