Impressionist piece about evening.

The last piece in a suit about natural moods - and almost tonal. It’s the last piece I’ll write in this style. Gave me trouble. I scrapped a piece I posted recently that just meandered about and got nowhere. I hope this makes more sense.

This one is about scents floating in the evening air, reminiscent of a brief holiday in a village in the south of France. Written about 3 months ago and given a few touch-ups yesterday.

The orchestra includes a piccolo trumpet for the highest trumpet notes.

Comment good or bad would be gratefully received if you can afford the 5 mins to give it a listen. Many thanks.

Cheers, Dane

MusOrch-5 perfm 241220-128.mp3

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  • Hi, Fabio,

    Many thanks.

    Talking about music will always be a problem I guess - and it's the thing that galls me about music critics, they try to talk about the quality of music or its delivery - but there are no words to describe musical experiences except like and dislike!

    The problem about meaning - to me - comes down to 'is it relevant'? In compositions based on melody (classical and 'classically' romantic styles), it's easy for composer and listener to spot irrelevant bits of padding, less so in impressionistic work. Technically, interrupting a rhythm or dissolving one harmony into another are deliberate but when adding in a bar or two to connect two disparate sections, are we doing that as a quick fix rather than reworking the sections together? 

    I notice a couple of bars here and there that I added in because "split and glue" didn't quite work so a bridge seemed necessary. But listening again, it sounds like 'he had to pad it out with something or it wouldn't work'! (Instead of reworking the music so I flowed 'naturally'.)

    Fabio Biolcati said:

    Dane's answers are always as interesting as his propositions.

    I don't say this because he says I am right, but because he is right.

    It's always difficult for me to express myself in words about music —that's why I often do "like" member' submissions instead of writing replies—, the worse doing it in a different language.
    Glad to read he reached my toughts: artistic self-consciousness is a quality you scarcely find even in celebrities.

    Oh, and then, there's the contrabass clarinet. I started to love its junior (?) sibling, the bass- one, hearing from Bennie Maupin and Eric Dolphy and prefer its round, warm timbre to the tenor saxophone. Must dig more into this monumental reed weapon.

    About attacks. I put in my matrices the same patch with different attack time at need (eg. softer pizzicatos, custom shaped sustains etc.), in conjunction with Expression and VelocityFx curves, of course.

    Keep safe.

    Happy New Year.

    Impressionist piece about evening.
    The last piece in a suit about natural moods - and almost tonal. It’s the last piece I’ll write in this style. Gave me trouble. I scrapped a piece I…
  • Hi again, Liz,

    Yes, given your circumstances you have to fit things together as best you can (which can be a nuisance in something like creative work where, if things are flowing along nicely, the last thing you want is to have to break off. Then when you can return, quite some effort is getting back into that flow. It's why I tend to work quite intensely once I've developed a bit of any idea).

    This piece came with problems. Sure there are always problems on the way but it's when something leads to a lot of back-revision that the headaches start. I tend to save a new version and erase back as far as need be to get a new start.

    My latest thing involves voices again and I suspect I'm moving to the lost cause of a secular cantata / musical drama-ette. Things are flowing nicely and I'm taking full advantage of the lockdown!

    Talk anon, and hope to have a listen to your revisions as-and-when.

    Liz Atems said:

    Hi Dane!

    Yes, I've had no time to participate here during what I've been calling the "semester from Hell". I'll probably disappear again after mid-January as the so-called Spring semester gets under way. I'm currently revising the large-scale work I posted here over the summer, fleshing out the development midway and trying to provide some much-needed relief from the prevailing sombre mood. Might finish it in time to post in January, might not.

    Yes, it was mainly the high brass that sounded odd to me. And I noticed what sounded like a touch of clipping at one of the fortissimo points, so I'm not surprised you were hitting the red line. There's also the possibility, as I said, that I'm hearing some artifact of my reproduction system - currently listening on a borrowed headset from work that minimizes the harshness I hear in the NotePerformer samples when listening to my own piece. It does not provide perfect fidelity though, and may even have some distortion that is causing some of the odd brass sonorities I hear in your piece.

    Best,

    Liz

    Impressionist piece about evening.
    The last piece in a suit about natural moods - and almost tonal. It’s the last piece I’ll write in this style. Gave me trouble. I scrapped a piece I…
  • Thanks Dane!

    Yeah, this is a MAJOR back-revision... really an interpolation, literally splicing in an extended development between one measure and the next. Very hard to do! (among other reasons, because it has to arrive back in the right key ;)) I expect the return to the original train of thought will require some changes as well, to reflect what we've just lived through, though the climax it's all working up to I expect to be able to leave as-is. I'm currently working on the last 25 or so bars groping towards the merger but it's very hard stuff to write, very intricate counterpoint a la Commotio. I've saved my latest "old" version of course, and now have a new "branch" project file that's littered with extra empty bars and bits of sketches that didn't quite work where I wanted them, but which I might still milk for material. A very messy business!

    Best of luck with your cantata - I look forward to hearing it when you're ready to present it (or maybe a few weeks later, depending on work).

    Happy New Year to you Dane, and may it bring you sustained health and creativity!

    Dane Aubrun said:

    Hi again, Liz,

    Yes, given your circumstances you have to fit things together as best you can (which can be a nuisance in something like creative work where, if things are flowing along nicely, the last thing you want is to have to break off. Then when you can return, quite some effort is getting back into that flow. It's why I tend to work quite intensely once I've developed a bit of any idea).

    This piece came with problems. Sure there are always problems on the way but it's when something leads to a lot of back-revision that the headaches start. I tend to save a new version and erase back as far as need be to get a new start.

    My latest thing involves voices again and I suspect I'm moving to the lost cause of a secular cantata / musical drama-ette. Things are flowing nicely and I'm taking full advantage of the lockdown!

    Talk anon, and hope to have a listen to your revisions as-and-when.

    Impressionist piece about evening.
    The last piece in a suit about natural moods - and almost tonal. It’s the last piece I’ll write in this style. Gave me trouble. I scrapped a piece I…
  • Dane I agree with Liz here, "stunning in effect" is a good description.  I don't remember you using such a wide collection of sounds before but it it works wonderfully here with so many colors blending and contrasting. The idea of having a large orchestra with few tutti and lots of interchange is useful.

    I was interested in your comments about the relevance of parts, the necessity of inserting parts that perhaps don't add to the whole but are more of a utility if you will. I don't hear that with your work, as you say the style maybe hides them, but I think they can be important as kind of a "chaser", to prepare our palate for other more exotic flavors to come?

    One possibility with the issue of the fidelity of the brass samples is the fact that you are reducing your resolution in order to fit a five minute piece into the CF file size limit. That has to affect the sound at some point; just a thought.

    Great work, thanks for posting!

  • Hi, Ingo,

    Many thanks for listening and your most generous comments.

    I suppose it's always going to be 'the way'. A listener will perceive different things from the composer so I'm pleased that you found it coherent and impressionistic! I can think of just a couple of bars I could prune - can't remember now but a problem sometimes crops up when splicing and gluing that one has an extra beat or something to fill in - be lazy and sustain a note or add an extra one in - or move the entire post-glue-bit up to the glue point. 

    I've used more comprehensive orchestras but this one does a lot of antiphony: pitting one section against another. You said it: having a large orchestra but few tuttis does make for exploring the interplay and combinations of instruments in more detail. 

    As for the brass, thanks for the mention. Compression MUST comes into it. At 128kb a fair bit of data is wiped out and brass is rich in the upper harmonics. I'm unsure how better it would be on soundcloud. But I have to rethink balance too. I need to slide all the sliders down a few dB so the brass can be got in proportion. At the moment it hits the red line too often but still doesn't sound at the right loudness... like it's too far back; attenuated. 

    I'll have a look at that. 

    So again, sincere thanks for the commentary!

    All the best. Stay well.

    Dane.

  • This should / could be played with a film display of some sort, as it feels very nice and visual to me.

    I keep on being astonished about your output, in terms of quantity, variety and quality... I just submitted a two minute piece for the "Colors-Competition", and it took me probably at least 15 hours of time, spread over a few weeks...!

  • Hello, Tillerich,

    Many thanks for listening and your kind words.

    Well, yes, I suppose if it has an intent, it's evocation of the mood.

    I have to admit being a little anti-film, forcing viewers to accept a single (usually syndicated) imagination, having found listening to this genre will my eyes closed preferable to watching what someone else has thought up and seeks to constrain me to. Same as reading a novel rather than watching its filmed version. In many cases the administrative issues of film make the medium inadequate: budget, time, feasibility, lighting continuity. Of course, this doesn't mean that an alleged 'adaptation' doesn't stand well as art in its own right.

    It's a possible subject for discussion: when aspirants here write an 'epic' 'cinematic' piece they're presumably imagining something visual which subsumes an atmosphere, action, resolution and so on. I suppose I'm sensitive to mood (in Nature) and for some reason feel inclined to portray it in sound...alas, rarely successfully. Synaesthesia is a personal thing. 

    So notionally I have to ask very nicely if people would care to give my piece a throw and hope they can feel something of the intention - if they're comfortable with the genre at all.

    Alas, also, I'm not that productive. It comes in fits and starts. Composing is the easy bit. Mostly in my head. Getting it to sound balanced in the daw is a different matter. I can sense if it's not going well, then nothing good will result. I've scrapped miles more than I've finished.

    So, thank you for your comments. Got me thinking (and that's dangerous).

  • Dane, imagine you could team up with someone, who could do most of the technical part of sound production for you - and you mainly concentrate on what you are really good at (i.e. the creative work in your head)...that could increase your productivity massively (if you wanted to). Perhaps something to think about..I could imagine that a student in sound engineering may jump at the opportunity to work with you (for free, and for mutual benefit).

    In any case, I bet that you have enough finished works already for a full concert evening or two - if there was an opportunity for that.

    I actually believe that a quite reliable sign for the real basic composing amateur (like me) is, that there is a very inadequate amount (i.e. not enough) of musical material overall, that has been scrapped in the process of producing their output...!!

  • Hello again Tillerich,

    Yes, nice imaginings and outside of lockdown I could probably find someone like that. A friend is a music teacher in college and he has contacts on the technology side but I'm not sure at the same college. It has a small studio and technical support. (He passed me a couple of students (for fun) who were restive over the academic side of 'theory' not that I can help too much but I suppose the one-to-one interaction achieved something. Sure, they'll get their degrees but they're averse to composing 'exercises' around modern theoretical stuff and I can't blame them. Music theory has become an industry in its own right.)

    What I'm desperately looking for is a competent librettist right now!

    As for this 'ere work, I still look on the daw side as 'preparing the orchestra'. My experience of preparing and conducting 'real' orchestras is pretty limited but it's always about getting balance right. (And getting amateur players to play quietly - they seem to have only one volume: loud!) So it took a while to get sorted out. The volume of VSL mezzoforte samples aren't always even so it took time to set the faders/pan for each instrument - so that for balance I can work with the velocity only. I'm still unsure whether midi velocity figures represent logarithmic or linear volume values. They seem to be linear.

    Perhaps I'm just a sad case. I still 'think' orchestrally!

    Ah well...let's get on.

  • Hi Dane-

    You said you are looking for a librettist, do you have a specific project (opera?) in mind?  If you spell things out perhaps someone on CF could connect you with someone. Would you consider an amateur, what language or form would this take? There are a lot of people that drop by here, you should start a thread.

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