I'm brand new here, and very excited to be part of what looks like an amazing group of fellow composers.  I present here my most recent piece - Dream Suite for Wind Ensemble...  though it currently lacks a few instruments for a full wind ensemble, saxes, bass clarinet, and a few additional brass parts.

I've been trying to find willing ears to listen to this for a while, unfortunately 99% of my friends and family aren't into this type of music, and the composition group I was a part of on Yahoo Groups has gone dormant.  I must confess it is extremely disheartening to work so hard on something, only to be unable to find people willing to listen and give any feedback or advice beyond "it's nice" or "it's depressing."

Thank you so much to anyone who has the time to give a listen and help me improve this piece and future works.  If a score would be helpful, I'm happy to provide one.

Dream Suite 2010 March 4 by JD Tolman.mp3

Dream Suite by JD Tolman.pdf

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  • I know what you mean about finding it disheartening - so that's why I recomended you join this forum from facebook.

    Had a listen to your piece. You know it's always good to provide a PDF of the sheet music too, and to tell us what virtual instruments you're using.

    But from what I can hear there are some very good musical ideas at work here, with well thought out counterpoint as the piece progresses. You've gone for a dreamscape cinematic model, moving into moments of drama and heroism.

    I'm interested to know if the music aims at the cinema sountrack or geniune classical music in its own right.

    The reason that I say this is because for cinematic purposes, the music is very effective at evoking moods and drama.

    From a classical standpoint, I would have slight trouble distinguishing a main theme or motive and I don't hear the prolonged sense of development you would expect from a classical piece - maybe because the ending also does not "resolve" the preceding material, like an essay reaching a structured conclusion.

    But whatever the case, a great blend of evocative sounds. Well done.
  • Thank you again for directing me to this group!

    I've uploaded the PDF file now, it's a bit messy, especially with the realized percussion staves at the bottom that aren't in proper percussoin notation, and there's a few hyperscribe sessions that resulted in some funky notation as well that I haven't bothered to clean up yet.

    I originally wrote this for more of small chamber band back in 2002, and after about 8 years of not composing, I pulled this back out, edited it severely, added new musical ideas to it, and have been slowly expanding it to full concert band. One of the artifacts of that is the piccolo stave being near the bottom. :)

    As for the piece, and it's purpose.. or aim. A lot of what I write turns out sounding like cinematic music. No shocker to me, that's the music that I listen to most and that I enjoy, and the type of music I would like to compose. Basically it's just a tone poem type piece with different moods, though structurally and thematically it's just got 2 themes - the A theme being the Oboe in the beginning, the B theme being introduced in the Euphonium solo while the woodwinds have the staccato triplet figures. There's also a recurring secondary A theme, though it's really just a accompaniment line, that's the bassoon under the Oboe's A theme. Then toward the climax the A and B theme combine, Horns with the B theme, Trumpets with the A theme, and that pesky little bassoon like comes back in the flute/piccolo and bells.

    In composing this piece I was trying to stray away from my typical reliance on really basic chord progressions, I IV and V, and find my way into a larger chord palette, non chord tones, and somewhat unpredictable progressions.

    For the virtual instruments, It's just Finale and Kontakt. The brass is all old Dan Dean solo brass converted to kontakt, and using the SIIPS legato and vibrato scripts (though I'm new to using those and it's pretty much just presets), woodwinds are a mix of Dan Dean woodwinds and Westgate.

    And one last comment, the original intention was for this to be the middle movement of a larger symphony for band, so the ending of this movement would set you up for the big joyous final movement. As you might notice in the pdf score, I played around with the final resting chords a bit trying to get it to end a little less "depressing" so that the work could stand on it's own without feeling like you went through the whole journey of the piece only to end up where you started, but the MP3 is the original ending.
  • I really liked this piece. Everything musically worked for me very well. Loved the harmonic language and use of percussion.
    A few minor notation things you might wan to look at though:
    Check the playability on some of your really fast runs, like measure 22 in the flutes. Also check to for clarity like measure 24 in the Trumpets, those should be sixlits not two triplets.
    Also you have a lot of collisions in the notation, like measure 42 in the horns with the dynamic marking right in the middle of the staff. You are probably still in the editing phase but you might want to catch those before you forget them.
    There were some staves that were missing labels, I dont know if you caught that or if they just disappeared when making the pdf. but I would check to see where they went. It made it a little hard to follow the score.
    The last thing is I would simplify your percussion lines. You have a lot of them which at first glance make the listener think there is a lot of percussion in the piece, which isnt the case here. I dont see any reason to have your crash cymbals on one line and your bowed cymbals on another. I think if you reduce the number of percussion lines and just the some on the same line, it will make the score neater and easier to read.
    Other then that, it was a great piece of music. I would love to hear this live.
    Great Job
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