This is my first string orchestra piece that I have attempted (also for double string orchestra), and I finished it after two weeks. This can be played by one or two orchestras, and I might have this piece played by my school's string orchestra. Almost the entire piece is played in legato. My favorite part of this entire piece is Section I.

Here's a sentence of what I feel from this piece: A flow of swirls and magic fill me with warmth, love, relaxation, passion, and a desire to gaze at the grand night sky with its stars...

I used works from certain composers like Ralph Vaughan Williams, Holst, Ravel, and a few others as examples to learn. Because I'm relatively new to composing for orchestra, I'd like some feedback on this piece.

ACelestialFantasy (2).mp3

5028516-A_Celestial_Fantasy_Impressions_of_the_Night_Sky_for_String_Orchestra (2).pdf

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  • This piece was intended for two string orchestras but I just compressed it into a single string orchestra score (so there is no real unison). I was also expecting string players to pluck the strings while still holding the bow to bypass the lack of time.

    Thanks for these tips; I'll keep them in mind when I compose for strings next time ;)
  • Hi Randy,

    Here are a few remarks/observations by having a quick look at the score and a quick audition:

    If parts in Violins 1 & 2 are to play divisi I would assign different voices to them with up stems for part 1 and down stems for part 2 so that the intended rhythms/durations become clearer. (like you do in the celli in certain places)

    sudden change from pizz to arco in cello & Violin 2 - bar 16. I don’t think it will work. The same in viola bar 29 and prob in some other places without intervening rests.
    (sorry, I cannot upload screen shots for more clarification).

    I don’t understand the key signature change between bars 32-33 from 1 sharp to 3 sharps but only for D. Bass and Cello (do you have in mind bitonality here? But I see that the added C# and G# are cancelled by naturals subsequently (?) )

    In the Con Brio & leggiero sections I think that the 1st violin could benefit by adding some bowing marks.

    I would put a double bar line in the end of bar 83, after which (in the leggiadro section) I can perceive the need for 3 sharps in all parts as written. What is "leggiadro" btw? Google translates it as pretty, but how do you mean it as an instruction? There are quite a few Italian "mood" terms in a short space in time. Do you mean all these changes of mood to be suggestions or more pronounced. You will need a good conductor in either case.

    Having finished with above technical stuff, I like the music well. I think you did something good and (as far as I'm concerned) you married your vision of the night sky with the sounds that come to your head quite fittingly. I can hear influences of Ravel and Vaughan Williams (and the title of the piece gives it away). Did you have in mind some of Ravel's chordal work in Pavane pur une infante defunte?
    I think with a bit of attention in bowing and other technical elements it is quite presentable for your oncoming concert and I wish you every success!
    Thanks for sharing.
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