Music for Orchestra 5

An impressionist piece.

This is my 4th attempt to catch a particular atmosphere. I feel I'm getting near it now so this'll probably be the last.

Written about a month ago and reviewed last week.

I have one more piece to write for this set which I'll start on in the coming months

Unfortunately the score is cumbersome because I divide the string orchestra into 7 as each part generally plays a different line.

May I thank you in advance if you give it a hearing - and comment is always appreciated, good or bad. My own thoughts are that

I may have been a bit heavy on the brass for "tranquillo, languido". It's generally quiet but with a couple of outbursts.


MusOrch5 -hmnsd200521 160.mp3


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  •  Apologies. I'll have to delete the score as it can be downloaded from the pdf panel.

    The copyright declared is a collective name. I'll register it under my own name with PRS first.

    So in all honesty I can't expect any or many comments on the work.

  • Hi  Dane,

    Definitely impressionistic, though not in any way that evokes the early 20th century impressionistic movement. It came across to me as a series of vignettes, with each sound separated from the next. The strings in particular I found evocative of movie music from the late 60s/early 70s, during which time there were a lot of gritty, dark thrillers released. For some reason, I thought in particular of an old Charles Bronson movie, The Mechanic (good movie BTW), which had some similar sounds.

    Thanks for letting us have a listen at it!


    • Hey, Gav,

      Thank you for listening and your most encouraging appraisal. The subtitle to the score would have given the game away "Evenings - Scents" and I hoped to catch the evanescence as best I could in 5 minutes without it being expressionistic. Seems I caught that in part, at least.

      I'm not particularly familiar with the 60s movie scene - have watched a few obviously so I have a rough idea of what you mean. It must come from the way I work with strings. The violins were divided into 4 so with the violas I could create differential dynamics and portamento chords in 5 part harmony. It's a bad habit I have to break. Maybe also the way I score brass - usually alone. 

      I recall an earlier attempt that you were kind enough to advise me on which by comparison now sounds too 'bits and pieces' flawed by a fairly developed motif. The amorphous interludes between the appearance of this motif made it sound as if it was just hanging around, nothing useful happening. So it seems for this kind of work, keep the motifs short, don't let them dominate.

      Again, thank you.

  • Gav is right about this Dane, this definitely has a '60's noir flavor.  But I think it has good continuity and is actually more linear than some of your other work which seems to have more vertical 'outbursts' if that makes any sense.  The colors are great and I especially like your tasteful use of percussion to add to the mix. Scores are always welcome but the sound is the thing for me at least.

    I liked your 'lounge' piano on the other thread, you are very accomplished in that style. Do you ever do more adventurous piano work closer to your orchestral pieces posted here?

    • Hey Ingo,

      Many thanks for giving it a spin and your valuable comments. Glad that it made sense as I tried to make it coherent by ensuring there were harmonic connections as the episodes evolved (if that makes sense)! It may be cheating but I sometimes achieve this by letting something chordal or motivic arise out of something else, like as a brass chord dies out a quiet string chord emerges then blends into a new direction.

      Thank you also for mentioning the percussion. I try not to be banal/standard and think that a little is enough at times. Balancing it is sometimes a problem.

      As for my pianistic so-called skills, I fear they're pretty woeful. I can run off an arpeggio or two two-handed and I have to thank my greatest teacher for that: Liszt. He taught me how to shape my hand for fast arpeggios and also how to suspend a melody in the middle between 2 thumbs! ....Little else, I fear. But for lounge playing it's important not to show off - one's in the background, not giving a concert! So the demands are never great. Just that you have to know a few numbers to keep going. Do you play piano, Ingo?

      Even so,again, many thanks for your encouragement.

      PS, I'm not enamoured of this new reply sequencing.

      • Very interesting, I'll have to pay more attention to Maestro Liszt and his thumbs, seems to work quite well for you. No I don't play piano but I do play lounge music, here's a sample.


        • Well.....What beautiful playing; sublime tone. I could relax back and just soak that music up for ages. Super ending too....truly lounge. Well, if you can play like that...what more could I say except you can send me more any time you like. 

          From what little I understand, jazz-styled progressions and harmony on a guitar are particularly difficult, awkward stretches and shifting round of the hand to play smoothly.

          • Thank you for the kind words. When I hear those rippling arpeggios and full left hand chords that you do I know that's how it's supposed to sound and I can't get that!  But the larger issue for me has been to find a bridge between what I played in the past and what I'm hearing and writing now and I haven't been able to do that very well, but we'll see.


            • I seem to suffer the same problem, Ingo...the fact that I rejected most contemporary musical tactics - serialism and aleatoric stuff (vaguely interesting but little use in the way of musical communication in my humble view), throws me back to what I like to play and that isn't what I should be composing. Those 'rippling arpeggios' aren't difficult with a bit of practice. They're all of the same pattern and I usually play in just a couple of keys - B and Dflat!! There's a story behind that!

              What struck me about your playing was how uncluttered it was: no string noises and fluffed notes, and the superb co-ordination. You must have a very quick left hand. If I could play chords with the same precision I'd be a lot happier!

              I first encountered such playing with Barney Kessel accompanying Julie London. 

  •  Hi Dane,

    Excellent rendering.  I do not know why but it was an easy to listen piece.


    TO me it seemed to have an A B structure, where in A some material on violins have a sad motive.  B was more logical.  You did not remind the beginning A material in the coda of the work.  This makes an open form effect I think.

    It looks freshness is balanced with repetition of orchestral colors so I could remember 'Aha, this harp motive had come before' but I could not perceive any functionality in these.


    Your piece made me think LINEAR DEPENDENCE of material used in an open composition.  I mean if some material is produced by manipulating previous material it becomes linearly dependent to it.  The manipulation amount and quaility may vary on each material.  On average though this may determine the flow of freshness through out the piece.  I do not know but it seems there may be something here.

    Gorgeous! I truly enjoyed it.



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