https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATlbESdu-Es

That is a lionk to a piece for Bagpipe, Vocal Quartet and Contemporary Dancer. Not sure of it's ok to post the link here like this but I'll give it a go. Bagpipe may not be a favourite instrument of many, but I hope this shows it in a good light. It's a Theme and Variations, the Variations gathering in complexity as they go, with a return to the Theme at the end. I would learn from feedback on the piece if anyone has the time. Thank you. It's 11 minutes long.

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  • Thank you for listening to part of the piece. Perhaps bagpipes really are an acquired taste!

  • I do enjoy the bagpipes, of all kinds! This is a marvelous concept, the trio of bagpipe, choir and interpretive dance. The development of the choral harmonies was quite beautiful, particularly after the 6 minute mark, and through the 7 minute mark.  Because the tempo and dynamics remained steady throughout (the choir may have had varied dynamics, but of course, there is only one for the pipes!), there wasn't much of a sense of "variations" to my ear. I think this would benefit if the pipes weren't playing all the way through, and give the choir a chance to be in the forefront. It could also be mixed up by allowing the pipes to throw in some ornaments around the choir giving the illusion of rhythmic variation, and the other way 'round, too. Eleven minutes is a bit long to remain at a loud dynamic and slow movement. ;o) I thought the performance by all was wonderful, and am still appreciating the mood of the piece after it ended.

  • Thank you for that interesting feedback Janet. Yes the fixed dynamic of the bagpipe presents a problem or two when writing for it--the only thing one can do is hold or shorten notes really to give the impression of some kind of dynamics. With hindsight, I wished I'd given the choir more of a chance to 'shine'! My next one does have a section where the pipe stops apart from the drone, and another instrument has an extended solo. Much to think about and thank you again for that.

  • I have mixed feelings about this piece. One reaction is that you maybe spent just a little too much time listening to the Gorecki 3rd -- NOT one of my favorites.

    On the other hand, there is something really special and original about this piece that's almost disarming. You create a truly magical mood between the pipes and the singers, and for some time the repetitions/minimal variations are very effective. Very nice sense of melody and also harmony. Your performers are excellent also.
    But after a while for me it becomes tiresome and the magic fades. The most serious problem I have is with the choreography, which looks improvised and seems unrelated to the music. The music is severely constrained, limited in scope and disciplined, while the dancing is all over the place. I like the dancer, I think she does an excellent job, but NOT the dance itself, which imo should be as severely constrained and controlled as the music.

    I agree with Janet regarding the need for some relief from the piping, and allowing the singers to be heard on their own from time to time. This piece has great potential both as music and theater, but imo needs some more work to really be effective from start to finish.

  • I haven't heard Gorecki 3rd but will acquaint myself with it!!! Piobaireachd is quite long, following a sort of pre determined set of specific variations. Of course one is free to adapt it and cut down on the length or nature of them. The choreography WAS improvised, more or less on the spot, as we had no chance to rehearse beforehand, the performers only meeting for the first time on the day. Presenting a load of difficulties! Ah to have the luxury of funding and hence rehearsal opportunities. I'm taking on board the break from all the piping idea, and building space from that into another composition. Thank you for all this feedback--it's very helpful abd gives me a lot to think about.

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