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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  • A great suggestion, Ingo. Thanks!


    Just a musical drama-ette. Not operatic.

    A slight problem is that I’ve written the music – sort of semi-finished. I may offer it here for comment about the voices balancing – just mezzo and baritone.  The way I write is closer to a recitative format than songs, so the vocals are utterances interleaved with instrumental. It makes for flexibility; vocal phrases can easily be adjusted for more or less syllables; add in new bits and so on; hopefully not having to change the overall score too much.

    I’d write words myself but libretti are a style of their own! I have some ideas but far from complete. Whoever helps would have to work from a vocal score suggesting amendments as they go.

    There’s also the story. It’s a Romeo and Juliet thing, so far based on a 50% true story but involving a Caribbean and Caucasian in mind so it might be thought inappropriate. I’m thinking about variations though, like Mayerbeer’s ‘A Crusader in Egypt’ story. It could be people from two fictitious religions or some such, or just families that don’t get on.

    So…I’ll certainly request help when I post (at least some of) it if nothing comes up. I have a college teacher acquaintance and but for lockdown, would ask him if any of his students know of anyone. As yet I have to put together a draft vocal score anyway.

    Again, many thanks for the suggestion.

    Bests, Dane

  • HI Dane -

    My friend Steven Bancroft is a talented, if unorthodox, song writer and he (after my suggestion) is interested in writing lyrics for your project. Steven is not a librettist or polished singer, and does not read music so this collaboration may not work and he understands that but I think you should at least consider working with him on your project. He has written musicals but here is a song he has written that will give you a sample of his lyric work.

    Beautiful Secrets by Steve Bancroft

    I look at pictures I never asked for
    Thousands of photos, hundreds of faces from the past
    No one left to identify who they were
    Tempting me to fabricate stories and connections

    Scrutinizing noses and eyes for any similarity
    So many smiling happily
    Enjoying the day together as friends or family
    The remnants, the fragments of my history

    I wish I knew who they are
    What mountains rise in the distance
    What beach is this on which they frolic
    Little children building castles in the sand

    Whose house is that in the background
    Whose swingset in the backyard
    Whose living room sitting on a paisley sofa
    Posing so patiently for a camera

    Why are they so dressed up
    Celebrating some unknown occasion
    They don’t know they will be forgotten
    Preserved in perfect anonymity forever

    So many beautiful secrets
    Handed down in unlabeled boxes
    Aside for a few they are strangers
    And I find it hard to care to even look at them anymore

    I feel it is their own fault no one remembers them
    Or the fault of those who have lost track
    Part of me is resigned to just throw them away
    In sheer hopelessness of ever knowing

    But I hesitate as if to relegate them to a space in the attic
    Elevates me to keeper of the secret history
    A mystery to perhaps bequeath one day
    To another distant curious relative

    For the truth is family and ancestors are not all about wonderful times
    And loving people who somehow just drifted apart
    It is dashed with trials and tribulations and irreconcilable differences
    And decisions to go their separate ways

    For reasons good or bad or sad are the usual
    To want to know is a little painful
    For as secrets they are beautiful
    Like a cat in a box never opened lives eternal

  • That's a wonderful gesture. Ingo. Thank you indeed for passing on my situation and the interest shown.

    And I'd willingly take it up if it seems feasible. I have to confess it has nothing like conventional songs and the lyrics are more like fragments of an impassioned conversation.

    It's best if I come up with a short score (along with the audio) showing the vocal parts and suggestions for words. At the moment they're descriptions of what the characters might be talking about which is probably what's wanted, to write a script.

    It's almost ready but, like some of your compositions, is through composed, tends to disregard key; and additionally the vocals would need specialised 'contemporary' singers.

    And I still have to decide on a story. The one that started all this was a horribly true story. After a botched abortion, the girl and her mum were on the way home. It was night. She was deserted in a market place - no one else about - left to bleed to death. It affected me pretty deeply. At the time I lived close by where it happened. A variation on the story would make it less personal, I have to say.

    I'll post what I have as soon as I can. If it gets anywhere It'll need a 'proper' keyboard arrangement which is going to be a heck of a task! 

    (For all that, I've been toying with the idea of some fake Rossini, an Operetta Buffo around the way our politicians have been handling the pandemic or something.)

  • Hi Dane,

    What a fantastic piece! Very delicate and well balanced orchestration, rich in instrumental variation and sonic colors. From the technical point of view, the choice of instruments sits perfectly in the orchestral balance in the orchestration (which makes everything audible in great detail, even with the withdrawn seatings. (You may have noticed that I prefer a closer recording.) But despite the distance to the listener, there is a too thick or muddy reverb/tail. The whole piece remains clean and transparent.

    Great job!, Congrats.


  • Dane what you have now would give more flexibility to a lyricist I think. The botched abortion tale is certainly dramatic.  Steven also has several partially done 'scripts' for a space musical series.  'Interstellar Fur Traders' is mostly complete, 'Planet of Beautiful People' is about a spaceship full of Hollywood stars headed for a planet reserved only for them, kind of tongue in cheek stuff. I'm sure he'd love to satirize some politicians.  Just a thought.

  • Fantastic piece, Dane. I love the way you play with chords and 'surprising' harmonies, related to jazz chords and impressionism. Also the orchestration has great merits, always telling us something new, something unexpected. And to make it complete: the performance and recording support the quality of your work (could be important these days of virtual music).

    Sincere congrats!


  • Hello Jos,

    You are most kind. Thank you for listening and your comments - most appreciated. As to my orchestration, I'm never sure... I don't try to be unconventional (sometimes put up a light music number that pulls me back to more conventional things) but it's feeling the ever-changing mood and how the sounds evolve. 

    Pleasing then that it made sense to you.

    Again, many thanks.


  • I really enjoyed this Dane , the VST's and mix are excellent. I like the evolving scenes style you have.

  • Hi Dane,

    Well, what a fine few minutes for my ears. This score has very clearly defined the reasons for why I joined a music forum. And I'm not just being nice. If I was able to score something like this, I would call it a mini masterpiece. This music is very much to my taste so I am more than happy overly using complimentary words.

    Please bear in mind that I don't know many musical jargons so my critiquing won't be very useful!

    It just keeps my interest from start to finish as it takes me on a journey. Almost everything is on-point.

    I thought the triangles at 1:48 where too overpowering and tinny, personally I would change them to sharper lower velocity notes.

    The brass is too sharp and thin for my ears to aid the excellent atmosphere you created. Personally, I would use muffled/muted horns/instruments in replacement.

    I truly admire your mastery over the strings. Just the few seconds of strings and harp at 4:00 tells a story of its own.

    Truly wonderful work.

    All the best

  • PS the 'Cinebrass' VST for Kontakt has always worked wonders for me

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