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"We Wear the Mask" scored for Tenor, Celesta, Vibes, 2 Marimbas, and Cello. Thank you for listening guys and gals.  

https://soundcloud.com/rodney-money-1/we-wear-the-mask

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Very nice job with a somewhat sinister and brooding subject.  You portrayed it well.  What a combo of instruments, they seemed to gel together.  I thought there were a few places where the sixteenths were too busy and almost covered the tenor.  Great tenor and performance. Did you write this for a particular tenor?   It seemed fairly easy to sing except for one note, an octave leap to an A.  Get real.  If you publish this, write in a lower note for us older guys.

     I really have only one criticism,  The first two lines are nearly identical and repeated every verse.  Some variation in the second line maybe just put it up a third, would make the piece less repetitive.  Excellent work..

Hi Rodney,

Very beautiful, moving and haunting. I don't know what your context is for this, but perhaps it could be an aria in a cantata?It does sound as though it belongs to a bigger piece. I tend to agree with Lawrence and that perhaps some melisma on a repeat would have improved it for me, but it's your piece, not mine. All the same, a good ear worm and nice word painting in places. Curious about your scoring - it's great, but I was just wondering about the circumstances that lead to it.

It would help in the reading of the score if you put in slanted lines (system dividers) between each set of staves.

"Very nice job with a somewhat sinister and brooding subject. You portrayed it well. What a combo of instruments, they seemed to gel together. I thought there were a few places where the sixteenths were too busy and almost covered the tenor. Great tenor and performance. Did you write this for a particular tenor? It seemed fairly easy to sing except for one note, an octave leap to an A. Get real. If you publish this, write in a lower note for us older guys.

I really have only one criticism, The first two lines are nearly identical and repeated every verse. Some variation in the second line maybe just put it up a third, would make the piece less repetitive. Excellent work.."

Thank you for taking the time to listen and comment, Lawrence. It means a lot. Yes, being that my dominant personality trait is a perfect melancholy I would definitely say both "sinister and brooding" are the correct adjectives for this piece just like me, just kidding, lol. I am happy to hear that you thought the instruments worked together. It seem as though the mallet and celesta worked as a "colorful piano" while the cello worked as a bass voice gluing the tenor with the rest of the ensemble. At least that was my hope and intention. There is always a debate within my head as to how to orchestrate or treat the instruments. Part of me says, "Just get it done," but the other half says, "Everything has to have interesting parts and not just whole notes and rolls." It's a battle that constantly rages inside of me. If I write out an entire work, and the 2nd trombone, for example, just has too many "white notes" I am constantly going back to make their part more melodic, moving, and interesting. And there is a curse of composing music for the "concert art world" that to have high caliber players they must have high caliber parts. For some reason professionals like music that is challenging for them and not sight-readable. "What's wrong with them?" Lol. Like I said before, it is a constant struggle from within and on the paper. Another issue that I struggle with is writing music or parts "that I can play naturally and quite easily" but others might struggle with concerning technical difficulties. Concerning the fast notes, I will definitely go back and see if there is anything I can do to make sure the voice is not covered up. Thank you for the ears and observation.

Did I write it for a particular tenor, maybe yes, maybe no, but I did asked the tenor if he could hit the note, and he said, "No problem." In my head I am thinking a true tenor should be able to hit a Bb or C, but then again I have had a couple of people already, including one Baritone college voice professor, passing on the piece because of that high A, so maybe I should either write a lower note or maybe even an alternative key? In this key and range this solo could work for a tenor or soprano, maybe even an alto or bass down an 8va, but it does seem to leave the middle folks out. Thank you for the suggestion, and I will also go back soon and see what I can do concerning some variation to the melodic line. I blame my "church verse-chorus background" or that he had to learn this piece quickly, just kidding again, lol. It was actually probably thinking more about the words than the melodic line to be honest with you. Thank you again, Lawrence for your comments and suggestions. Those were definitely some of the reasons why I haven't thought about publication for this piece yet.

Rodney, thanks for posting. Nice vocal setting and interesting orchestration. Not your goal, I'm sure, but the celesta writing was very evocative to me of the score to Age of Mythology, an old PC game I used to play.

I also very much liked the chord in m. 46. In fact, I wish there was some more out-there harmony in the piece. There's not a single accidental across the whole thing and my ear was definitely craving some more modulation/dissonance. I think if you moved a little farther away from b-minor key triads at times it would make the return of the recurring melodic gestures more effective, too.

Text-setting was good, though I was not such a fan of the dotted half-note tied to a sixteenth followed by the three sixteenths figure. There are some important words to parse there and the sixteenths sounded rushed and out of character with the rest of the lyricism.



I think a high A is OK for a solo tenor concert work like this, but yes, maybe an ossia note for the rest of us... :D
Lawrence Aurich said:

Very nice job with a somewhat sinister and brooding subject.  You portrayed it well.  What a combo of instruments, they seemed to gel together.  I thought there were a few places where the sixteenths were too busy and almost covered the tenor.  Great tenor and performance. Did you write this for a particular tenor?   It seemed fairly easy to sing except for one note, an octave leap to an A.  Get real.  If you publish this, write in a lower note for us older guys.

     I really have only one criticism,  The first two lines are nearly identical and repeated every verse.  Some variation in the second line maybe just put it up a third, would make the piece less repetitive.  Excellent work..

"Hi Rodney,

Very beautiful, moving and haunting. I don't know what your context is for this, but perhaps it could be an aria in a cantata?It does sound as though it belongs to a bigger piece. I tend to agree with Lawrence and that perhaps some melisma on a repeat would have improved it for me, but it's your piece, not mine. All the same, a good ear worm and nice word painting in places. Curious about your scoring - it's great, but I was just wondering about the circumstances that lead to it.

It would help in the reading of the score if you put in slanted lines (system dividers) between each set of staves."

Hey Mike, good to meet you, and thank you for the comments, compliments, and suggestions also. So far it's not in a bigger work, but it definitely could be and probably will be one of these days. I will tell y'all something that I have never shared. In most of my pieces I will use short themes of other works even if it's in a very small part, or just a snippet, to try to unify them into one cohesive library of works. Or at least, that's simply in my mind. It's almost like a preview in what you will hear in the next work. While I am working on other commissions for schools and churches, the biggest thing I am still working on is my trumpet concerto where near the end of the finale there is a short statement played by the trumpet that represents "father" which is the opening theme of a symphony that has been in my head for years. Now is there one here? I am not sure as of yet, but I could see this piece part of a larger composition or work also like you suggested.

If I ever decide to let this piece get published I will definitely add the changes that you, Lawrence, and Driscoll suggested. Y'alls suggestions actually get me excited about relooking back over this piece. Maybe I will even rescore it for full choir of TTBB? Who knows? I am happy to hear that you noticed the word painting. My favorite is around measure 41 at the word "mile" where the accompaniment sounds like they are walking.

This was a concert of American composers both alive and who have past away like Bernstein and Copland. I did not want another vocal solo with piano accompaniment where the audience will not even notice the piano, so I decided on an ensemble of color. 2 of my performers, the celesta and marimba 1 were also composers and friends of mine who were debuting their works also, so I decided to use them. Then the vibes and marimba player are good friends of mine who both are very sweet people, then comes the cello. I was having another piece called "The Garden of Love" performed at the concert also featuring my dear friend who plays cello. I said, "Thomas, can you play one more?" He said, "Of course!" And boom his part was born and actually worked as a director of the chamber group also. They looked at his bow for cues, downbeats, and cut offs. So basically, I was looking for something other than piano. The vibes and celesta worked as a cohesive unit while the woods of the marimbas provided lows and warmth, and the cello provided not only bass but expression also working with the voice. In short, I used my friends, lol.

The score is not in its completed form. No one except for y'all have seen it, but I do need to go back and edit the devil out of it. Thank you for your suggestions once again!
"Rodney, thanks for posting. Nice vocal setting and interesting orchestration. Not your goal, I'm sure, but the celesta writing was very evocative to me of the score to Age of Mythology, an old PC game I used to play.

I also very much liked the chord in m. 46. In fact, I wish there was some more out-there harmony in the piece. There's not a single accidental across the whole thing and my ear was definitely craving some more modulation/dissonance. I think if you moved a little farther away from b-minor key triads at times it would make the return of the recurring melodic gestures more effective, too.

Text-setting was good, though I was not such a fan of the dotted half-note tied to a sixteenth followed by the three sixteenths figure. There are some important words to parse there and the sixteenths sounded rushed and out of character with the rest of the lyricism."

Hello Driscoll, thank you for your suggestions my friend! It means a lot. I will definitely have to check out the score to "Age of Mythology." I don't even think I have ever heard of the game before, so thank you for the reference.

I like the chord at measure 46 also, and hopefully with some revisions I can incorporate more colors such as that one, and some modulations and other chords outside the diatonic b minor scale. Funny story though concerning why it did not contain any accidentals. In a weird way, it was a protest, lol. 2 of my composer friends, the celesta player and one of the marimba players, were also debuting their pieces that were full of extended techniques, mathematical equations, accidentals galore with no concept of key, chord structure, or tonality, and when I handed their parts to them the marimba player looked at me like, "Money, really?" While I was saying, "Oh yeah." They knew exactly what I was doing, and why I was doing it. Sometimes I thought some of them, not all of course, simply wrote music for the score and not actually for the sound. Now that the performance is over, I can relook at this piece especially concerning modulations. Modulations might help with the high A also as some have noted. Thank you for the reassurance of the high A though.

The 16th notes were definitely being rushed, because my glorious tenor or someone else in the ensemble got off beat. Thankfully though my wonderful celesta player rescued everyone with his strong downbeats on 2 and 4 when he came back in. The 16ths seem to work better in the midi and in my head where they stayed on tempo, but I will go back and look at it also! Good ears, my friend. Only one other person has ever caught that something was off there besides the performers and I.

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