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I'm offering a work in progress here - this is VERY incomplete. The theme is based on the same Beethoven sketch on which Gerd recently wrote his wonderful Variations. Not to imitate - or detract from - Gerd's work, I wanted to take a different approach, to try to imagine what Beethoven might have done with the theme. My first impression was that the sketch would probably not have been the first 8 bars of a theme, but rather the last. So I tried to compose an appropriate beginning, and ended up making it into a ternary form with the first 8 bars a much more restrained variant of the Beethoven sketch, repeated, then 8 contrasting bars in the relative minor, and then finally a fully harmonized version of the sketch as written... all for string quartet, of course.

Then I started out last night to write variations... and finished the first variation this evening. The rendition is of the theme itself and that first variation - nothing more exists at the moment, and I feel the need to take a breather. I thought I would share what I've done so far and ask what everyone thinks of it. This is light years away from my usual idiom - I've never tried to do anything like this before - but I experienced intense joy along the way finding "inspiration in discipline". This first variation is extremely formal and mostly adheres to the harmonic structure of the theme. So there is almost no personal expression in it - it is severely objective and Classical. Maybe I'll loosen up later on, if I get that far with it.

Anyway, have a listen if you will. All comments are welcome, both positive and negative. If people who work in this idiom all the time think it doesn't work then I'd like to know that now! I'm very much a fish out of water with this.

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Hi Ingo,

Thanks. I was pretty certain the distortion was in the audio file and not in my sound system - but it is less pronounced when I listen to it on my CD player and audiophile amplifier (which does not interface to my computer - it's from the 1970s era). To answer your question, no I have not gone on the Sibelius forum. I was thinking of asking Arne first as I'm not certain the problem is in Sibelius. As I said, when I play it back using SIbelius Sounds I basically do not hear this effect, just a touch of scratchiness, but no "swelling" to a distorted peak, as I hear when using NP. I expect the Sibelius people will just tell me to bug Wallander in light of that info.

I will be interested to hear if that happens when you play back on your system. I can send you the .sib file if you like - though it would have to be privately as this site apparently doesn't allow that format to be posted.

Liz

Hi Saul,

We'll just have to agree to disagree about the Beethoven sketch. As I said, I don't care what a dead composer thinks of a sketch of his. If Gerd, or I, use Beethoven's sketch to create something beautiful, then what does it matter what Beethoven thought of the sketch? Our works stand on their own. I happen to agree with Gerd that the sketch has the typical late Beethoven beauty to it, and I found it inspiring to try to let that beauty flourish in my own work.

By the way, what is your source for the information that Beethoven hated that sketch? How do we know he just didn't forget about it as he created his last masterpieces? How do we know he wouldn't have used it in a larger work if he had lived longer?

Liz

Hi Liz,

Given that I know a big portion of Beethoven's works this sketch doesn't reflect that quality of his music, the music that is appreciated, loved and celebrated. I'm only offering my own opinion based on what I know about his music. I don't think that he thought too much of this sketch, and most probably didn't develop it further because of that.

There is this perception that whatever came out of Beethoven's pen is worthy of Beethoven's signature. I think that Beethoven would be the first to say that this perception is false.

Best Wishes

Hi Liz, I sent you a PM, you have to go to your account and accept me as a friend, a local custom I guess. 

I meant that you could post a question about Sibelius/NotePerformer issues on the the Sibelius forum since many Sibelius users have NP and someone may have some suggestions. The Sibelius help desk probably won't be much help as you say. I don't see a forum for NP, and Arne although friendly and helpful is probably too busy to spend a lot of time on anything.

Hi Ingo,

I accepted your friend request a few minutes ago and sent you the .sib file - check your mail! ;)

And yes I knew you were referring to the forum. I thought better of it and posted a question there anyway, though I still expect they will tell me to ask Arne. Which I probably will. But first if you could please try playing back the score to see if you hear the same thing. It could (maybe) be a hardware issue on my end, or it could (more likely) be a matter of settings. Or it could be a bug in NP or in Sibelius.

Thanks!

Hi Saul,

I don't share that perception at all - Beethoven wasn't a god, he was a human being, and of course not everything he wrote was of the same quality, just like with any composer. But this is just a sketch of a melody, it's not a completed work... Beethoven's greatness wasn't in his themes so much as in how he used them. So it's very hard for me to make any kind of judgment either way on whether it is up to the standards of the rest of Beethoven's oeuvre... to me the comparison just doesn't make sense.

And in any case, "beauty is in the eye (or the ear) of the beholder". ;)  I think it's a beautiful theme, you don't, and that's fine... de gustibus non est disputandum.

Fair enough.

For me the comparison is simple, you take this piece and compare it to the overall output of his music and that's about it, I just don't think that its in the same caliber. Its nice that we can disagree on this respectfully, how boring this world would be if we agreed about everything? 

Best Wishes

Liz Atems said:

Hi Saul,

I don't share that perception at all - Beethoven wasn't a god, he was a human being, and of course not everything he wrote was of the same quality, just like with any composer. But this is just a sketch of a melody, it's not a completed work... Beethoven's greatness wasn't in his themes so much as in how he used them. So it's very hard for me to make any kind of judgment either way on whether it is up to the standards of the rest of Beethoven's oeuvre... to me the comparison just doesn't make sense.

And in any case, "beauty is in the eye (or the ear) of the beholder". ;)  I think it's a beautiful theme, you don't, and that's fine... de gustibus non est disputandum.

I got the file Liz but my Sib won't open it without an update so let me just enter in a few measures in case the update is part of the problem. Also do you export an mp3 at the default 128 kbs? I'll do bars 44-55.

Liz Atems said:

Hi Ingo,

I accepted your friend request a few minutes ago and sent you the .sib file - check your mail! ;)

And yes I knew you were referring to the forum. I thought better of it and posted a question there anyway, though I still expect they will tell me to ask Arne. Which I probably will. But first if you could please try playing back the score to see if you hear the same thing. It could (maybe) be a hardware issue on my end, or it could (more likely) be a matter of settings. Or it could be a bug in NP or in Sibelius.

Thanks!

Hi Ingo,

Yes I export at the default bit rate. Different Sib versions might be a confounder if you don't hear the distortion (it might be a bug in the current version). But let's see what you find. Here is the pdf.

Thanks.

Liz

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Hi Saul,

Agreed that it's nice that we can disagree respectfully. ;) We seem to be talking past each other though. To me it just doesn't make sense to compare this sketch with ANY completed Beethoven work - it's apples to oranges. In fact I don't know of any other Beethoven sketch that is just a bare line, with no indication of what the context was to be, other than that it was found along with the Op. 130 sketches. So I don't have any point of comparison to say that this is equal to or not as good as any other comparable Beethoven sketch. To me it comes down to whether it is beautiful or not. That's why I said... de gustibus.

Liz

Hi Liz, here is the Ricercare orchestra clip. I think I did it the same as you, see what you think.

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Hi Ingo,

Well it's a VERY short clip so hard to tell for sure, but I didn't hear ANY distortion at all, which probably means something. Assuming it's my system only, now I wonder if it's my settings or if it's the different versions...

Thanks much.

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