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Don't think I wrote this in two days time... I usually work on different things at the same time, so...

Here is the fourth and last movement of the war symphony. Since the climax is the third, don't expect any fireworks here. It is slow (72bpm) for it is a Death March. It will show. The use of instruments is minimized, on purpose. I wanted it to be not too overwhelming, for that was not the intention. See it as the general feeling after counting the bodies after a battle or war. Sad, that is...

Well, 'nuff said, here it is.

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Hey, its' pretty nice, I like it. It kinda makes me wish to hear it with  better virtual instruments. Maybe I'll give it a try if you don't mind. anyways, The only thing I feel could be better is the score, well I know I'm no master at all (and because I use vsts my scores are littered with text expressions and stuff meant for them), but you should try the "hide empty staves" option in finale, specially since the instrumentation is rather thin. Anyways, good job!

Hi Alvaro

Well, if you would try....

I am not working with Finale, but with MuseScore. I myself are under the opinion that even when a page shows an empty stave, so be it. Every instrument is used at some point, so I like to keep it as it is. ;)

Thanks for the comment, would like to hear is with better SF...

Yeah I know, I like all staves to show too, but well, it's fine if you're gonna be printing the score to read it, but when you plan to use it digital, it actually becomes rather hard to read a score which has so much empty space (unless you have a screen which can be turned vertical...), plus you have listed plenty of instruments, yet the orchestration is rather minimalistic, course, as you had stated in the description, but it's almost empty in some passages... still it's not an extremly long list of instruments either.

Anyways, when I get a bit of free time I'll try to put it in better vsts, but finale has some issues with my custom rules whenever I import xmls from other programs (or even old finale versions), which makes automatic keyswitching impossible unless I retype the whole score manually... So I might end up using just the basic types or articulations (which is no good in midi orchestration, usually you have to vary with other types... but well...). Still, basic spitfire audio and orchestral tools articulations beat midi soundfonts anytime.

Anyways, I'll post later when I have the file ready.

Erwin,

Of all the pieces of yours that I've listened to, this one movement has reached me the most.

I really admire it.  I think it transmits what you wrote it is intended to represent.  The relentless drum, which to me represents a sort of drilling into the mind of the reality of the dead; the melody lines which are clearly serving the spirit of that drum; the punctuation by the piccolo; and everything else in here is extremely effective, in my opinion.

My sincere congratulations.

Hey Erwin, nice work!  The length is just about right, IMO, not too long and dragging. The low rumbling basses and tuba in the beginning are a good setting to the sombre tone. Interesting use of piccolo... not sure what it's intended to represent, but it's interesting nonetheless.

I found the ascending motifs (mm. 11-14; 16-22; 23-31; esp. 45-51) a bit jarring, though. Generally, ascending motifs are associated with something positive, like rising to victory, standing up to face the world, etc.. Death is usually associated with descending motifs instead (e.g., Tchaikovsky's 6th), so it sounds a bit incongruous when you use an ascending motif in something titled Death March. Perhaps in the first part of the movement it's OK (as a kind of metaphoric struggling against death), but ending with a rising motif in mm.45-51 (before the fading away in the basses and the final fanfare) seems odd. At last these last few bars could descend into the darkness instead of rising up to the day? (Note that it doesn't have to be the notes themselves rising; a sequence like e-f-g, d-e-f, c-d-e would also work, since the general trend is downward, even if each individual fragment is rising. Alternatively, inverting the rising motif so that it is completely descending would work too.)

Also, the final trumpet fanfare sounds a bit optimistic... perhaps consider using a muted trumpet? or use pp or ppp strings with dark chords in the background to darken the trumpet's tone a bit.

Mariza,

Thank you a lot. Let me tell you a little secret about the piccolo and the timpani...

The piccolo is supposed to be a machine that keeps the heart going while you're actually dead (hence the full note on the end - death). The timpani are imitating a heartbeat.

Mariza Costa-Cabral said:

Erwin,

Of all the pieces of yours that I've listened to, this one movement has reached me the most.

I really admire it.  I think it transmits what you wrote it is intended to represent.  The relentless drum, which to me represents a sort of drilling into the mind of the reality of the dead; the melody lines which are clearly serving the spirit of that drum; the punctuation by the piccolo; and everything else in here is extremely effective, in my opinion.

My sincere congratulations.

Thanks for the advice, HS. Well, about the piccolo, see above (reply to Mariza)... ;)

About the last trumpetsolo (standing, is written under it). It is a line that we use here every May 4th, when we have a two minutes silence when remembering the fallen in a war. It seemed to me no more then appropriate to end that way. It is a little joke, if I may call it that way.

I will take a look at m. 45-51 and see how it sounds going downwards.

H. S. Teoh said:

Hey Erwin, nice work!  The length is just about right, IMO, not too long and dragging. The low rumbling basses and tuba in the beginning are a good setting to the sombre tone. Interesting use of piccolo... not sure what it's intended to represent, but it's interesting nonetheless.

I found the ascending motifs (mm. 11-14; 16-22; 23-31; esp. 45-51) a bit jarring, though. Generally, ascending motifs are associated with something positive, like rising to victory, standing up to face the world, etc.. Death is usually associated with descending motifs instead (e.g., Tchaikovsky's 6th), so it sounds a bit incongruous when you use an ascending motif in something titled Death March. Perhaps in the first part of the movement it's OK (as a kind of metaphoric struggling against death), but ending with a rising motif in mm.45-51 (before the fading away in the basses and the final fanfare) seems odd. At last these last few bars could descend into the darkness instead of rising up to the day? (Note that it doesn't have to be the notes themselves rising; a sequence like e-f-g, d-e-f, c-d-e would also work, since the general trend is downward, even if each individual fragment is rising. Alternatively, inverting the rising motif so that it is completely descending would work too.)

Erwin, I understood what the final fanfare meant. I was just thinking that it could be enhanced by having the strings play something dark in the background. But that's just how I'd do it. You may have different ideas. :-)

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