A fun piece

This is the finale to Suite of Antique Dances. It is somewhat in the style of Prokofiev's Classical Symphony. I would be remiss not to say a few words about this great composer.

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) During the Russian revolution of 1917 he wrote his Classical symphony and then moved to San Francisco in 1918. Later he moved to Paris, then Germany. His earliest piano works were chromatic and dissonant for which he was criticized, but his heart was in opera. Peter and the Wolf and Romeo and Juliet are his most famous. He moved back to Russia in 1936 only to have his music banned by the Communist party because it was “muddled, nerve racking and cacophony.” His wife was arrested for sending money to her mother in Spain. She served 5 years in a prison camp. (Remember, in communism there is no private property. Sending the collective's money outside the country is tantamount to stealing.)

In some ways his voluntary exile was a blessing. Although some of his symphonies are dark and foreboding in the Russian style, in other symphonies you can hear Ravel in others, Gershwin. Eventually his music was accepted, his wife was set free after Stalin's death, and he became one of Russia's most beloved composers.

The Suite of Antique Dances was a trip down memory lane as I explored the various musical forms I learned as a child taking piano lessons. The main theme is the very first song I ever played on piano. You will recognize it when you hear it. This was a fun piece to write. Hope you enjoy it. All comments are welcome.

https://soundcloud.com/larya/antique-dances-finale

Antique Dances Finale.pdf

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Replies

  • I love it. Great surprise that choppy and sticky part. Really enjoyable, Lawrence!

  • Mods, please, what happened to the text editor again? I cannot upload pictures to illustrate some points.

    Hi Laurence,
    A lot of good work here! It must have taken you considerable time to work it all out so nicely.
    Do you mean the suite to be in the spirit of Respighi's suites of ancient dances?
    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=respighi+ancient+airs+...
    (sorry, I have not heard the other movements), but I could associate the sound with Respighi rather than Prokofiev with whose music I am not very familiar. But I enjoyed it thoroughly throughout and especially in the way that it moves away from diatonic to more chromatic harmony gradually. I also like the key scheme that you have chosen and I find the rhythmic figurations in many places quite exciting using the hemiolic 3 within a 4. At the same time I found all melodic content well-conceived beautiful and quite singable.

    I did have a quick look at the score. It all seemed clear to me, though I was not sure in certain places about the double stops on the violas such as
    in bars 121, 123, 125, 127, 128 (capture 1-2)

    and
    137-138 (capture 3)

    unless of course you mean the lower note to be taken as stopped rather than open (open was my assumption) or the passage is divisi.

    Anyway, those are minor points. The piece I like very much. Thanks for sharing.
  • Socrates, please pm me about whatever issue you are facing. 

  • Oh Lawrence, this is a delightful piece from beginning to end!  I found myself smiling and chuckling all the way through.  It is so much fun to include fragments of pieces that almost anyone can recognize, isn't it?  What you did with our favorite piano tune is nothing short of masterful!

    For once, I didn't even look at the score, but just enjoyed the music itself, like a "normal" audience.  ;-)   It was great fun, and I would definitely put it on my playlist.

    By the way, Prokofiev did write operas, but the two pieces you mentioned aren't operas.  Peter and the Wolf is for orchestra and narrator, not considered an opera, and Romeo and Juliet is a ballet. I'm so glad you mentioned Prokofiev, since he's one of my favorites.  I especially love his harmonic fluidity.  Your piece also has wonderful harmonic fluidity, and is so joyful!!

    Thanks for posting all of your wonderful dances!

  • Manfred,
    Thanks for listening. The beginning came from Prokofiev who got his from Hayden.
  • Socrates,
    Respighi's dances were ancient. Mine are only antique, though the tarantella may be a thousand years old. This is the tenth movement, intro, mazurka, minuet, gavotte, tarantella, intermezzo, polka, polonaise, waltz, and Finale. Actually the finale is the worst movement. Now don't you wish you had listened to all of them? It changes style because only the first minute is from Prokofiev then I did my own thing. It took about a month to complete working about 15 hours / week. Thanks for the comments.
  • Hi Lawrence,

    I liked this but I got the Prokofiev right away, so I would suggest you consider removing the opening all together and make it 100% your own thing?  :D

    BTW, do you know Mahler 4 and Shostakovich 9, first movements?  They are similarly in a "classical"-ish vein, but with a little more edge.  You might enjoy them if you don't know them already.

    John

    Lawrence Aurich said:

    Socrates,
    Respighi's dances were ancient. Mine are only antique, though the tarantella may be a thousand years old. This is the tenth movement, intro, mazurka, minuet, gavotte, tarantella, intermezzo, polka, polonaise, waltz, and Finale. Actually the finale is the worst movement. Now don't you wish you had listened to all of them? It changes style because only the first minute is from Prokofiev then I did my own thing. It took about a month to complete working about 15 hours / week. Thanks for the comments.
  • Julie,
    We seem to be in some kind of weird simpatico. Every time I'm about to post a piece with a certain theme, you beat me to the punch. It must be psychic. I really did intend to post this piece before you posted yours.

    I don't exactly know why I like Prokofiev other than he never does anything wrong. Most every composer I've studied so far, about 20, have some characteristic which rubs me the wrong way, (except Bach). I can't find anything wrong with Prokofiev. Guess we are too analytical or critical.

    Chop sticks was a family affair. I had three sisters who took piano lessons. The oldest would play the chords. The youngest would play the chop sticks theme and I would improvise some melody on top. Three kids pounding away on the piano can be annoying.
  • The minuet is very formulaic with short lines.  I kept the form so no one would say, that's not a minuet.  I suppose you could write a minuet then expand with variations.  Good idea, variations on a minuet, like minuet in G.

    MM Coston said:

    Lawrence, I liked the finale better than the waltz.

    I think your suite demands a consideration of forms, historical and yet invented. You previously mentioned that the minuet is history but it seems to me its the most promising one to revive with a twist. I'm just speculating here but a modern audience who hasn't taken lessons and been required to play hundreds of minuets might likely approach a 3/4 sound expecting a waltz and be quite surprised when its not. At least that was my reaction when I first heard one. I mention this as I'd like to hear your thoughts.
    A fun piece
    This is the finale to Suite of Antique Dances. It is somewhat in the style of Prokofiev's Classical Symphony. I would be remiss not to say a few word…
  •  

     John,

         I wanted to tie the into, intermezzo and finale together with similar styles.  The dances are all different, so the interludes are supposed to give some continuity.  I will look into Mahler's 4th.  I think I played Shostakovich's 9th in college.  Mahler is a mixed bag for me.  Thanks for listening.

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