People have told me the mood of this is very eerie at the start .It isn't really a Halloween piece , but it seemed timely to ask a few questions and Halloween seems to be getting bigger every year here in Aus, when 30 years ago , as a kid it was almost unknown. I think the simpsons (ie the Halloween specials once a year) has influenced us down under!
I've had this performed many times as a stand alone piece, and only twice (at the Sydney Opera house) in its true "place" - the 2nd movement of my string quartet called Winter.
I like big structures and so I prefer it as the middle movement of Winter.
Any thoughts on which is better - stand alone or as a 2nd (but still named) movement in a 3 movement quartet. An unusual feature of the quartet is that all 3 movements are all in minor keys. (e,b,e). I don't find that a problem myself but does too much Minor bother people?
A specific question : what do u think of the end of the piece and the last note being a fade to nothing single note on the violin? The violinist here does it ok but not spectacularly btw...
I wonder if a piano version would work well?
Love those sonatas, especially the 3 fugues in the sonatas and of course the chaconne...
Susan Partlan said:
Ah Paul, 'Midnight' - this has a delightfully mesmerising bass ostinato which one does not tire of for the entire piece, the lilting melody moves along like an evening mist and reflects the title beautifully. I love this composition. Congratulations on wonderful addition to post modern music.
Thanks Mark, glad u like it.
I never really thought of it as postmodern but I guess that's a valid description!
Sadly I have been responding to this thread without even listening to this piece... Fortunately, I finally got around to it, and I have to say, it's a very, very nice piece. I don't find it eerie at all. I consider it more as a nocturne, a kind of midnight dance. The overall tone is very appropriate to a suite themed Winter. The structure is also pretty clear. While it's a bit on the long side, the string writing is also pretty good, and relishing in the subtle interplay between the quartet instruments doesn't make it feel boring, just relaxing. I liked it a lot.
I don't find an all-minor-key quartet unusual at all. In fact, I say, go big or go home! If you're gonna do minor, go all out minor, don't hold back. Of course, that does mean you're removing one axis of contrast from your palette, so you'd have to use contrasts elsewhere to maintain interest.
Annoyingly enough, my browser clipped off the last 3 bars in the playback so I couldn't hear the ending in question. I think it should work OK, based on the overall mood of the entire movement.
I don't know about a piano version... I think it would require major reworking, and maybe even rewrite, to account for the differences in timbre. A lot of the interweaving lines wouldn't quite have the same effect on the piano as it does on, say, high register viola. The feeling just isn't quite there. I think it should stay as a quartet piece. :-)
I have listened to this piece several more times on different days, each time trying to create the right conditions to focus on it peacefully. I think I have been able to take it in a lot better by now, compared to my first few hearings. And my perception of it has changed.
My perception now is that the melody does evolve naturally. Also, I am able now to apprehend a lot more of the content which actually - I now realize - does undergo significant variability throughout the piece.
I continue thinking of the piece as enormously beautiful. I think now that it does evolve naturally, intelligently, and beautifully.
Some of the emotions or state of spirit touch me very much, come close to heart. One example is when the viola comes in at 8:20. Wow. There are several other such wows.
The difficulty for me as a listener, and the reason why it took me so long to develop a feeling of relative familiarity with this piece, is simply that the flow of emotions differs from my own, and so the inner identification took me a long time to achieve.
I experience the piece as very beautiful, in some ways immediately, obviously beautiful, and in other ways requiring habituation to take in.
In short, it was my ears, not your voice, that was the trouble.
(After this, now I have to be extra careful providing feedback to others, don't I ?)
You are a highly talented composer.
Mariza, it's not altogether your fault... I think that we all experience that "impedance mismatch" when we listen to an idiom that we're not familiar with. Sometimes I experience that even across different works by the same composer. Nevertheless, I still think there's some value in stating your initial impressions. Sometimes the composer needs to take that into account, in order to better "ease" his audience into his style of music.
Thank you, Teoh! That really helped me not feel like a total dingbat (a new term I learned today)!
H. S. Teoh said:
And just to put things more concretely, Sibelius (the composer)'s 7 symphonies are a good example. Each one is so different in approach, in sound, in idiom that one might find oneself hard-pressed to appreciate, say, the austerity of the 4th after listening to the majestic 5th, or the daring large-scale unity of the 7th after settling comfortably into the exciting, Tchaikovskian, but more traditionally-structured 1st. The 2nd is a unique beast in and of itself... similar in style to the violin concerto, but with a bizarre opening theme that sounds like disconnected fragments of melody that doesn't know what order the notes should come in, but over the course of the 1st movement somehow sort themselves out, in typical Sibelian manner, into a beautiful melody. (Another example of this very Sibelian idiom is the slow movement of the 4th, a kind of reverse variations movement where disconnected fragments of melody heard in the first part of the movement gradually assemble themselves into a beautiful extended melody almost at the very end.)
To this day, though, I have to admit I still have a hard time coming to grips with the 3rd -- I do enjoy it, and really like the first 2 movements, but the last movement eludes me. It sounds to me like an endless repetition of the tonic chord that suddenly stops dead in the middle of its tracks. I still can't decide whether there's some kind of inner logic that I'm missing, or perhaps it might be a miscalculation on the part of Sibelius? More likely the former, but said inner logic thus far still eludes me.
Hi again HS, lol re replying without listening! (sounds like Rodney! - (joking Rodney))
Glad u like minor - good advice re going all out. Do you or anyone know of any famous pieces with 3/3 movements in minor?
Yes piano wasn't good, had a little go but you're right , doesn't sound right. I think most pieces transcribed for another will sound worse.
Thanks 4 listening.
H. S. Teoh said:
I think it is a growing on you kind of piece. (if u don't fall asleep first)
Hope you liked the viola part! I take it that's your main instrument? Ive had a listen to your new piece but will re-listen b4 commenting.