First Symphony

So this is my first Symphony. I recently finished it and made some really quick mock ups so except a TON of revisions to it in the future.
So if you can, take a listen to tell me what you think. Please pay no mind to the quality of the instruments. I do not have a massive high quality sound library nor do I have plan in the immediate future to obtain any. These recordings are merely "mock ups" that might change once revisions are set in.
Dont be afraid to address notation issues, I know there are more then a few but my  eyes are too tired to catch them.
Program notes:
This is can almost be called the "Accidental Symphony". When I began writing this I had no intention to write four movements, but one thing led to another and a symphony was born. The Symphony is a semi tonal work with some movements being more chromatic then others. Though the highly chromatic and at times flat out Atonal, the piece still has a element of approach ability with memorable melodic lines.
This symphony is a land mark piece for me and displays all that I have learned and developed as a composer thus far.

First Symphony All Movements.mp3

first symphony.pdf

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  • I'm just letting you know that I've had a quick listen to some of this and was really impressed. Of course I expected a longer first movement (you must have your reasons) but I will post a more detailed response later in the week. Well done.
  • Great first movement... I did not proof read, but: No tempo in for the first movement... (I'm sure you're fed up of reading the score for the 20th time already... so don't take personally, eh?).

    Now I did read a little... Bar 34 (after accelerando): tempo almost is invisible behind the flute part.

    Instrumentation is great too... One can see, you put alot of effort into that...

    Gotta get moving, but I'll check back some other time for sure...

    Keep it up! Ario...
  • Had another listen and enjoyed it again. I liked the theme in the first movement and its return in the last movement.

    On bar 131 of the last movement I wasn't sure about all the accent signs and staccato signs in the strings - above and below the notes (with dots when some of these accents normally suggest shorter notes on their own).

    I also see that flute 1 doubles flute 2 and hits the stratosphere - you obviously made a conscious decision here to not use piccolo and keep the flute so high.

    Looking at the strings in general I might have liked more polyphony, like more countermelodies in viola than mainly an octave below violins 1 and 2. But I suppose that your modernist way of writing is less suited to flowing counter-melodies !

    But I think that the whole piece has an angular charm to it, with very interesting rhythms and ostinatos. It is certainly at the listenable end of modern symphonies and I hope you get it performed and recorded.
  • Thank you for a details posted. Let me address some confusion you expressed:

    in measure 131 is suppose to be that short. Its all short and almost drum like.

    The flute thing you mentioned, I was actually thinking about changing that to Piccolo.

    As far as the strings, that technique is actually a film scoring technique I learned in a film scoring workshop in October. Strings are very soft in real life and can not compete with brass and woodwind instruments volume wise no matter how hard they try. By Having the Violins play in unison with violas an octave lower, it gives the upper strings the strength to compete with the brass. I applied that technique to this piece so I can use more of the orchestra with out worrying to about the balance with the strings.
    It kind of follows the old saying "United we're strong, divided we fall", I apply that to my orchestration. You can see that when in the first movement I divided the first and second violins in fours to lower their volume in the soft sections and put them in unison the louder sections.
    Just a trick that is very helpful.

    Adrian Allan said:
    Had another listen and enjoyed it again. I liked the theme in the first movement and its return in the last movement.
    On bar 131 of the last movement I wasn't sure about all the accent signs and staccato signs in the strings - above and below the notes (with dots when some of these accents normally suggest shorter notes on their own).
    I also see that flute 1 doubles flute 2 and hits the stratosphere - you obviously made a conscious decision here to not use piccolo and keep the flute so high.

    Looking at the strings in general I might have liked more polyphony, like more countermelodies in viola than mainly an octave below violins 1 and 2. But I suppose that your modernist way of writing is less suited to flowing counter-melodies !

    But I think that the whole piece has an angular charm to it, with very interesting rhythms and ostinatos. It is certainly at the listenable end of modern symphonies and I hope you get it performed and recorded.
  • Tyler,

    What follows, of course, are my personal impressions and opinions. I do not pretend to make blanket "everyone must agree with these" statements.

    Your first symphony interests me very much. (You’ve already heard my comment/impressions/appreciations of some of your vocal music – how it has helped to open up my own appreciation of the form.)

    You have an interesting combination of influences wrapped up in your own quite clear voice. One’s own voice is so important! I have no problem following and appreciating anything you’ve presented here (https://composersforum.ning.com/profile/Tyler). Your voice speaks to me—and to my own compositional/theoretical history in many ways. (I’ve kept any “reminds me of X composer/piece) to an absolute minimum, so the focus remains on you and your music.)

    First Movement. Very much in your voice (with certain possible influences informing it). Very good handle on orchestration, but I still long to hear some moments that open my ears up to other timbres that “broaden” the pallet you are using at the time. (The moment that starts at 2:16, of course reminds me of the 11|4 bars in Right of Spring – which sits well with me!). But it’s your voice I am most interested in. (Possible quotations aside [intentional or otherwise]. And I do hear that throughout. As I’ve said before, yours is a voice that speaks to me.

    Second Movement. A nice contrast to the First (though the opening to each is a bit similar). When the unison (well, at least rhythmically) strings come in at about 4:58-to-end, I find that very lacking (a dull ending) – though the preceding section was harmonically very interesting. Have you considered reversing those sections in some way? Or are you trying to prepare my ears for the opening of the 3rd movement?

    Third Movement. Nice opening. This Third is very exciting. (Slight hints of An American in Paris in the opening bars?). But don’t let *my* ears worry you – this is just the feeling I get, to some degree, NOT wholly. Besides, comparisons are far too easy to make.) I feel quite at home in this movement.

    Fourth Movement. While beginning very energetically, ultimately this movement feels anticlimactic. That dulling moment begins, to my ears
    *not* at 1:00 (where the energy is almost entirely lost, but the melody remains interesting); …
    and *almost not* at 2:58 when things slow down even further; …
    but definitely (for me) at 4:29 with the entrance of the “energetic” but melodically dull “1-u, 2-u, 3-u, 4-u” “melody.” It’s *not* the energy that’s lacking form here to the end but the “interest” provided by the melody. In some ways it reminds me of Histoire du soldat, but lacking in some flashing-out I can’t completely put my finger on at this moment.

    Lastly, the very end of the Fourth certainly puts a definite period on the whole, though it seems too “classical” in comparison with the whole of the symphony’s musical syntax that preceded it.
    In other wards, I feel I’m being lead along nicely by (following) the musical language you possess, but at the end I’m a bit betrayed. While this only involves the last two minutes, it’s an important portion of the whole.

    I truly hope to hear a revision of the whole some time. Please try and let me know when you have made any changes.

    --John Elliott,
    Albany, Oregon
    Tyler Hughes's Page
    Tyler Hughes's Page on Composers' Forum
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