Composers' Forum

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Hello to all members,

This post is to announce our Winter Music Contest - members were asked to create a piece which evokes the idea of Winter. The rules of the contest are simple: any instrumentation, 7 minutes or less in duration. 16 members total submitted entries, making this one of the most-participated-in contests which I have run on this site! Please take some time to listen to these entries and vote your top three. The winners will have the honor of having their entries posted to the top of the home page of the site until the first day of summer! Please click the link below to cast your vote! Deadline is 2/14/2015 at 5 pm EST!!

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Attention composers of this competition: I had asked that you not post your works anywhere else on this site for a week after the competition results were announced so that we could continue to enjoy this thread as the central point of discussion about them. That time is now passed. Please feel free to post your works (the "Music Analysis and Critique" forum is suggested, you tend to get the best commentary there). Thanks one final time for all who entered and all who voted, and hope to see you in the next contest!

This is for Bob Porter.


I enjoyed your Winter Squall, Bob. I just listened to it again, which I haven’t done since the contest judging.  I enjoyed the introductory theme, with its half plaintiff, half soothing mood.  I like the way you switched from strings to woodwinds, in that early portion.  This very slow intro and gradual building of tensions-- with violins playing behind a cello solo-- works very nicely.  The slow down and lull before the storm frustrated me at first a bit.  I expected and wanted further acceleration at that precise point. I was a bit impatient for the squall.  But the outbreak of the storm, as you scored it, and the accelerated the tempo, when you did it, made it totally justifiable.  A very appropriate use of percussion (very good use of snare drum), cymbals and tam-tam, at the just the right moments.  


If there are a lot of pieces I don’t listen to or comment on, it’s largely because I have a a great deal of trouble accessing things on the site, especially MP3 files that are posted on site.  My Mac will not load them.  Yet I have no such trouble with soundcloud or youtube or picosong. I have a new Mac now, with a more advanced OS, and it still has the same problems with the Composers forum site.  In order to listen to your Winter Squall, I had to download and use a Firefox browser, which is not my accustomed way of accessing the net.  Anyway, I did get it to load finally, on Firefox. 


I wonder, when we think of “orchestral storms,” whether we more often think of Rossini’s in William Tell, or Beethoven’s in the Pastoral Symphony.


I actually prefer Rossini’s and enjoy it more.  (Almost all Beethoven’s music is “stormy,” so for him to deliberately write a storm seems almost superfluous). 


I wonder if you felt “influenced” more by Rossini’s storm or Beethoven’s, or some orchestral storm, though it really doesn’t matter.  Your winter squall does have the virtue of both of these works, in the way it is carefully structured to start out slow and calm, build gradually, break out into a tumult, then subside, and leave us feeling the serenity one may feel when any storm is over.   It’s logic is precise and clear, so it works very well that way.


[Bob, on other issues:  I never disagree with people unless I think I am capable of respecting them, or I actually DO respect them.  In your case, by now, I hope you are aware the latter is the case—I respect you a great deal, and I do precisely because our perspectives are different, because you are an excellent explicator of so many things in music, and have very genuine and profound insights.  Some on this site have called you an excellent teacher, and I agree with that.  I have learned from you on more than one occasion.  I apologize if I ever gave you the impression that I thought otherwise].





Thank you, Bob.


As is so often the case, your reply to me is gracious and much appreciated.


I know you weren't trying to solicit a response, but when I read what you had written, I thought, yes, what Bob says is true.


Thanks for your words.


We have different perspectives and different approaches, but that is a good thing.  How boring the world would be if we were all the same in every way!  Still, I may be closer to you than you think. "Gut feeling" (or intuition) is crucial in composition, I believe; and the so-called intellect can only take one so far in the production of any kind of art.   


Thanks also for answering the question about "influences."  I should have thought of Bare Mountain, at the very least.  It's one of the truly great and admirable orchestral depictions of a storm that slipped my mind, perhaps as great or greater than the examples I mentioned.  I greatly enjoy the Danse Macabre and the Sorcerer's Apprentice as well, and can see how they might inspire "storm compositions."   



really reminds of winter. Cool

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