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Edit: Added the score.

Happy quarantining, everyone!

Though I haven't been as productive as I'd wish, I did find the inspiration (and time!) to piece together my first symphony—of sorts. It's not a "full-length" symphony, which I'm sure you're grateful for, but it does contain 4 distinct sections that mimic the movements of a traditional symphony. In truth, I have COVID-19 to thank for the inspiration: the fear of the loss of security is what this work aims to explore.

The symphony is about 18 minutes long and is intented to be played in one sitting; however, I don't expect anyone to listen to it in its entirety. Feel free to have a go at it section by section.

Harmonically, this work is built on a symmetrical scale (Messiaen's 4th MoLT, to be precise), so be prepared for some rather unconventional chord progressions. Yes, the work is quite tonal, but it is certainly no Mozart or Beethoven—think more Stravinsky or Ives. The symphony is organized around a central tritone motif, which can be heard from the very outset.

I had a lot of fun putting this together, and when I have more time, I'll post a score. In the meantime, please have a listen to at least part of it and let me know what you think could be improved, and how I might improve it. Also, let me know if you have any questions about anything... I'm not the best at explaining things.

Thanks in advance! Happy listening!

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Wow, your thoughtful response brought tears to my eyes! Thank you so much for the kind words!

I immediately went to listen to Pettersson and Tubin—neither of whom I am familiar with—and was pleasantly surprised by the lushness of their works. All in all, they sound very Nordic, which, I've been told, can be detected in my compositions, too. Perhaps that's the similarity? (By the way, I'm not Scandinavian, although I wouldn't be surprised if I have Nordic ancestry.)

The score is an atrocity and I'm currently working to amend that. It's such a painstaking process, though... Ugh!

Thanks again for the kind review.

Cheers,

Jörfi

Liz Atems said:

Hi Jörfi,

I listened to all four movements in sequence and I enjoyed your work immensely. It is intensely serious, darkly expressive, and quite modern yet still, yes, very tonal although not in any conventional key. There is great clarity in the instrumental writing, and a wonderful use of the colors of the orchestra. There were places that I was reminded vaguely of Le Sacre, yes, but your Symphony is worlds away from anything by Ives! In truth, I was reminded more of two other composers, but not at all in the sense that your work sounds like theirs: Allan Pettersson and Eduard Tubin - thinking of the former's expressive world in general, and specifically the latter's 8th Symphony.

My only complaint was that the work was broken up into several sound files, while it was apparently meant to play continuously.

I have not yet looked at the score, but will try to listen again and follow along.

Thank you for sharing this, it is indeed a worthy First Symphony. Quite well done.

Hey Jorfi, Liz likes the idea of having your piece be one continuous file and the score does not show clear divisions at those points, so if you want to reassemble it that makes sense and I will definitely not be offended, it's completely up to you, you know best!

Thanks

Jörfi Terríson said:

Thank you for your kind remarks! Chances of it ever being performed are quite slim indeed, as I have no "in roads" to the performing arts. (But a man can dream, can't he?)

I started with Albion One a few years ago and LOVED the sounds it produced. Since that time, I've purchased an additional library or two per year—and a faster computer to process all the memory demands—and feel my collection is now largely complete, at least in terms of rendering the sounds of a modern orchestra.

I have to say that Mural Strings is my favorite. There's nothing like a high-quality string section library and this one does not disappoint. The creators put so much detail into the recordings and it's very evident in their products. They're pricey but I haven't regretted one dime I've spent on these libraries!

Saul Gefen said:

Jorfi,

Your piece needs attention and consideration to really appreciate it. A live performance will give the listener a better vantage point to hear its complexity, and artistic qualities. Very fine piece, solidly written and excellent orchestration, a real dialogue between the instruments while keeping it simple as possible and not over the top.

I also use Spitfire I have Albion one what sound libraries do you use from Spitfire and which is your favorite library from them?

Thanks for sharing your music.

If you click the SoundCloud logo in the top right corner of the embedded file, it will take you to a pop-out of the album. If you play them in that new window, they proceed one after the other without interruption.

Ingo Lee said:

Hey Jorfi, Liz likes the idea of having your piece be one continuous file and the score does not show clear divisions at those points, so if you want to reassemble it that makes sense and I will definitely not be offended, it's completely up to you, you know best!

Wish I was allowed to put a "like" every time I listen to this symphony, Jörfi.

And it's much, much better listening to it in its whole.

Such an impressive work, you really know the craft of musical composition — not bad for a non-professional!

Music this quality deserves live performance, in the meantime we can enjoy it thanks to the high standard of this rendering. You did a great work at it.

Glad someone mentioned Allan Petterson, though I can't always bear with the strong emotional intensity of his works.

Thank you for sharing.

You're too kind, Fabio.

I do wonder how much a good quality audio rendering plays into folks' opinions. Would they be so accepting of the piece if it were rendered in lower quality? Just thoughts that pop into my self-critical mind.

However, there was a good bit of musical "storytelling" intentionally put into this. The opening grabs your attention, followed by a few minutes of tension and release, then the yearning of the Andante section which climaxes into the quicker scherzo. Then the listener gets a bit of a breather with the Misurato, although the crescendo to the end can be somewhat breathtaking. All of this has to be held together with themes and motifs that sound similar enough to the listener so that s/he can tell they're connected, but not so obviously repeated that it causes boredom.

I wish it had more counterpoint, but my head doesn't quite hear that when I'm composing. At least not yet. I'll keep at it, though. In my experience, the more you practice with these tools, the better you get at them—eventually.

Thank you again for taking the time to listen and provide feedback. It measn a lot to me!

Cheers,

Jörfi

Fabio Biolcati said:

Wish I was allowed to put a "like" every time I listen to this symphony, Jörfi.

And it's much, much better listening to it in its whole.

Such an impressive work, you really know the craft of musical composition — not bad for a non-professional!

Music this quality deserves live performance, in the meantime we can enjoy it thanks to the high standard of this rendering. You did a great work at it.

Glad someone mentioned Allan Petterson, though I can't always bear with the strong emotional intensity of his works.

Thank you for sharing.

Corrected score has been added. It should be much easier to follow now, and much easier on the eyes than the previous score.

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True musical content goes beyond the quality of the rendering, nevertheless a good rendition (being it live or sequenced) definitely helps its enjoyment.

I was recently listening to a (good) performance from an established label: it was so poorly recorded I gave up listening.

Jörfi Terríson said:

I do wonder how much a good quality audio rendering plays into folks' opinions. Would they be so accepting of the piece if it were rendered in lower quality?

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