The south polar region of Mars is covered every year by a layer of carbon dioxide ice. In a region called the "cryptic terrain," the ice is translucent and sunlight can penetrate through the ice to warm the surface below. The ice layer sublimates (evaporates) from the bottom. The dark fans of dust seen in this image come from the surface below the layer of ice, carried to the top by gas venting from below. The translucent ice is "visible" by virtue of the effect it has on the tone of the surface below, which would otherwise have the same color and reflectivity as the fans. Bright streaks in this image are fresh frost.
This describes well some of the "colors" of Mr. Schaffer's new composition "Scenes from the History of Mars". Bravo!
Edward you have so much music I don't know where to begin. I randomly selected Before the Big Bang the was only God and found it quite moving. I'm curious how you tackle such a large subject. Do you choose your theme and work at somehow making it into a musical reality? Or do you, as I mostly do, find yourself being taken into new landscapes by your moods the music itself and when it's done discover what it all means?
Anyway just wanted to touch base with you and say I enjoyed Before... for both it's soothing and mystical qualities and will keep in touch.
Great to find you here Edward. I'm new to this place and really haven't done much exploring. But it's good to find a fellow composition contest member here.
I'm at work now but I'll be dropping in at times to see what you're up to.
Hi Edward. I did listen, just now. Very interesting piece. Sounds like it should be the slow movement of a larger work...? Love the Doxology quote! I know it better as "All people that on Earth do dwell"... but Doxology is neater.
The opening chords certainly get my attention! This piece has a regal or stately feel. But that all but disappears when the horn sounds almost completely alone. And when the strings come back in, I'm back in that slow melancholy I was hoping to get out of. Clearly that's your intention, and I can't let my personal preference on just the first few hearings get in the way of your goal as the composer of this. So I will embrace the style, mood, feel of the overall work (which is as it should be).
I should note here (going back to the Scherzo for a moment), than when the theme returns as it nears the end of that movement, it has a "poisoned" feel. I felt as if the mood of the overall work had tainted the jaunty potential of the melody. Which now seems quite fitting as I am listening to the Finale and thinking back over the whole symphony.
Back to the Finale, the lovely heavy string chords that come in near the end and harken back to the opening chords are at first almost frightening now, then practically become "wise" as the piece draws to its conclusion.
The work feels complete. And where the previous three movements did not feel "final" as each concluded, the Finale brings it all to a full and satisfying stop.
The entire work has an overall thoughtful quality, Ed. Thank you for letting me listen!
A lovely playfulness both melodically and harmonically. Surprise convergences. And then it suddenly dies away. I'm taken back to a melancholy atmosphere that recalls the Rondo. However, since we've already had a lot of this laid back feeling in the Rondo and Cantabile, I wonder if this slow section in the Scherzo needs to go on as long as it does. I'm happy when the energized strings return to pick up the pace and carry me on away from the melancholy. But it's not enough to resurrect the playfulness of the opening of this movement. Sadly (to me), it slows down yet again and ends that way.
I would prefer that the slow section be shortened and the opening more strongly returned to -- unless your intention is to have the listener [this one, at least] come away with the overall *feeling* that the entire symphony is an ode to largo.
I thought, "Oh, no, it's starting slow. Even slower than the Rondo. This is going to drag." But the melody comes in and is quite lovely in a longing way. The pizzicato strings give it some much needed energy, as do the melody and harmonies. Nice tension being built up! Contrary to my first few seconds of initial reason, this Cantabile is a very good contrast in many ways to the Rondo. (But it makes the Rondo seem even more wanting of something.)
Ooh! I really like the way the darker section snuck up on me. I wasn't completely conscious of its arrival until it swelled with all the pieces in place. By that time, the theme was returning, saddened perhaps.
Calm, pastoral. You've come a long way from just a few years ago, Ed. Your harmonies are more "logical" in this. The drum that enters in the middle section ... I keep expecting the piece to "take off" in a moment, pick up a jauntiness that never happens. I keep wanting a bit more contrast, especially before entering the laconic section that follows. And then we're back to the principal theme and a bit of development. However, the ending just happens and doesn't seem quite final.