Edit: Added the score.

Happy quarantining, everyone!

Though I haven't been as productive as I'd wish, I did find the inspiration (and time!) to piece together my first symphony—of sorts. It's not a "full-length" symphony, which I'm sure you're grateful for, but it does contain 4 distinct sections that mimic the movements of a traditional symphony. In truth, I have COVID-19 to thank for the inspiration: the fear of the loss of security is what this work aims to explore.

The symphony is about 18 minutes long and is intented to be played in one sitting; however, I don't expect anyone to listen to it in its entirety. Feel free to have a go at it section by section.

Harmonically, this work is built on a symmetrical scale (Messiaen's 4th MoLT, to be precise), so be prepared for some rather unconventional chord progressions. Yes, the work is quite tonal, but it is certainly no Mozart or Beethoven—think more Stravinsky or Ives. The symphony is organized around a central tritone motif, which can be heard from the very outset.

I had a lot of fun putting this together, and when I have more time, I'll post a score. In the meantime, please have a listen to at least part of it and let me know what you think could be improved, and how I might improve it. Also, let me know if you have any questions about anything... I'm not the best at explaining things.

Thanks in advance! Happy listening!

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Replies

  • May I ask if you're a professional in the field of music - not necessarily a composer but an experienced composer at that?

    I was only able to audition the first movement but I have to say the rendering (presumably it is a rendering) is brilliant, so is the evolution of this movement. Brilliant both as a work and production. Moody, well balanced, ominous, sometimes threatening. Ravishing use of tonal colour.

    I hope to listen to the remainder later today.

    Well done. Obviously a lot of care has gone into this oeuvre. 

  • No, Dane, I'm not a professional, though I appreciate the vote of confidence. My day job is a pharmacist—albeit in an untraditional setting that allows plenty of time for recreational composing—and music is my lifelong passion. I'm approaching my mid-30's and would like to think that mere life experience has rendered some depth to my artistic expression, so perhaps the gravity of this work drew from years of waging war against my own psychological fears? I couldn't say.

    The quality of the audio rendering I owe to Spitfire Labs of UK.  They produce top-notch (and pricy) sound libraries that almost sound as good as the real thing.

    Much thanks for your review and kind words, Dane! I hope you enjoy the rest of your time with this work.

    Dane Aubrun said:

    May I ask if you're a professional in the field of music - not necessarily a composer but an experienced composer at that?

    I was only able to audition the first movement but I have to say the rendering (presumably it is a rendering) is brilliant, so is the evolution of this movement. Brilliant both as a work and production. Moody, well balanced, ominous, sometimes threatening. Ravishing use of tonal colour.

    I hope to listen to the remainder later today.

    Well done. Obviously a lot of care has gone into this oeuvre. 

    Symphony (compliments of quarantine)
    Edit: Added the score. Happy quarantining, everyone! Though I haven't been as productive as I'd wish, I did find the inspiration (and time!) to piece…
  • Jorfi,

    Your piece needs attention and consideration to really appreciate it. A live performance will give the listener a better vantage point to hear its complexity, and artistic qualities. Very fine piece, solidly written and excellent orchestration, a real dialogue between the instruments while keeping it simple as possible and not over the top.

    I also use Spitfire I have Albion one what sound libraries do you use from Spitfire and which is your favorite library from them?

    Thanks for sharing your music.

  • Thank you for your kind remarks! Chances of it ever being performed are quite slim indeed, as I have no "in roads" to the performing arts. (But a man can dream, can't he?)

    I started with Albion One a few years ago and LOVED the sounds it produced. Since that time, I've purchased an additional library or two per year—and a faster computer to process all the memory demands—and feel my collection is now largely complete, at least in terms of rendering the sounds of a modern orchestra.

    I have to say that Mural Strings is my favorite. There's nothing like a high-quality string section library and this one does not disappoint. The creators put so much detail into the recordings and it's very evident in their products. They're pricey but I haven't regretted one dime I've spent on these libraries!

    Saul Gefen said:

    Jorfi,

    Your piece needs attention and consideration to really appreciate it. A live performance will give the listener a better vantage point to hear its complexity, and artistic qualities. Very fine piece, solidly written and excellent orchestration, a real dialogue between the instruments while keeping it simple as possible and not over the top.

    I also use Spitfire I have Albion one what sound libraries do you use from Spitfire and which is your favorite library from them?

    Thanks for sharing your music.

    Symphony (compliments of quarantine)
    Edit: Added the score. Happy quarantining, everyone! Though I haven't been as productive as I'd wish, I did find the inspiration (and time!) to piece…
  • Very nice, Jörfi, and thrilling. It has a narrative mood with lots of dynamics and emotions. I like this way of orchestrating, like an interplay between instruments. It reminds me a little bit of Ingos technique in his latest post. It feels modern although it is a tonal composition. The ending is excellent, a most significant part of a work.

    Very well done. Congratulations and thank you for giving me this pleasure.

    Kjell

  • Thank you, Kjell, and I'm glad you enjoyed it! I'll have to check out Ingo's latest post; I haven't come across it yet!

    Kjell Prytz said:

    Very nice, Jörfi, and thrilling. It has a narrative mood with lots of dynamics and emotions. I like this way of orchestrating, like an interplay between instruments. It reminds me a little bit of Ingos technique in his latest post. It feels modern although it is a tonal composition. The ending is excellent, a most significant part of a work.

    Very well done. Congratulations and thank you for giving me this pleasure.

    Kjell

    Symphony (compliments of quarantine)
    Edit: Added the score. Happy quarantining, everyone! Though I haven't been as productive as I'd wish, I did find the inspiration (and time!) to piece…
  • Very impressive Jorfi, an extended work that has great sounds, drama, contrasts and sophistication. You have made wonderful use of orchestral resources, all of the colors and dynamics, structures from small and simple to overwhelmingly large and complex. Amazing really.

    It is intimidating though. I gladly listened to it all together but I couldn't really comprehend it. For some reason I wanted to find an overall arc to it but I couldn't, not that it has to have one of course.  I feel I'll either have to study it or perhaps break it into bite size pieces, possibly via the sections you have laid out, which I didn't use although you advised us to. I certainly don't think you should rework this, it is great as is, but for me at least it needs to be more accessible, possibly by physically separating the sections since I couldn't find them on my own without using the time counter. Thanks for posting, I'll happily listen again!

  • Thank you for the advice, Ingo! I think I've now addressed some of your concerns by physically separating those sections out in the SoundCloud file. I apologize that it's such a hassle to try to review, but I'm grateful for any and all advice.

    Ingo Lee said:

    Very impressive Jorfi, an extended work that has great sounds, drama, contrasts and sophistication. You have made wonderful use of orchestral resources, all of the colors and dynamics, structures from small and simple to overwhelmingly large and complex. Amazing really.

    It is intimidating though. I gladly listened to it all together but I couldn't really comprehend it. For some reason I wanted to find an overall arc to it but I couldn't, not that it has to have one of course.  I feel I'll either have to study it or perhaps break it into bite size pieces, possibly via the sections you have laid out, which I didn't use although you advised us to. I certainly don't think you should rework this, it is great as is, but for me at least it needs to be more accessible, possibly by physically separating the sections since I couldn't find them on my own without using the time counter. Thanks for posting, I'll happily listen again!

    Symphony (compliments of quarantine)
    Edit: Added the score. Happy quarantining, everyone! Though I haven't been as productive as I'd wish, I did find the inspiration (and time!) to piece…
  • Hi Jörfi,

    I listened all 4 movements once.  I would like to listen it once more with the score if it is available.

    Rendering is perfect.  I liked it very much.

    Instrument colors and the management of tension through the control of loudness, percussion+brass,

    and some dissonance are the strong points I believe.  You decrease the tension and relax and then

    either suddenly or through buildup comes high tension, which is what most symphonies do.

    Orchestration wise, I would like to see more thin textures with less loudness and more clarity, or 

    something in between them and the high density parts.  It sounds a bit like black and white.

    A symphony, short or long requires a tremendous effort and motivation.  Your motivation

    can be sensed through your work.  It is gorgeous.

    Thank you for sharing your work.

    Ali R+

  • Ali,

    I am, once again, appreciative of your perceptiveness. To my ears, this symphony sounds "young." Although I'm quite finished with it—at least at this point in my life—the starkness of its color contrasts cannot be ignored and there is very little to be found in between. It is, as you said, "black and white," and I'm quite inclined to agree with you. I believe the tendency with compositions early in one's career is to recreate one's experiences as a young man or woman: and, let's face it, those experiences are often reactive and impulsive. As I get older, I hope that I become more even-tempered and dwell in the subtleties of life rather than the absolutes. And I would hope that my compositions reflect that change. It's certainly what I desire to have happen.

    In any case, this starkness is what I'm capable of producing right now. I'm glad that you pointed it out to me and I hope to address this in future endeavors. Don't get me wrong—I'm quite proud of my work, but I'm also not so naive to think that it couldn't be better. With time, and with perceptive feedback such as yours, I'm very hopeful that the depth of my compositions will deepen.

    I am working on the score now and will post it as soon as I have finished it. I appreciate your patience with me!

    I'm glad you enjoyed this, and thank you again for taking the time both to listen and to provide such helpful feedback!

    Cheers,

    Jörfi

    Ali Riza SARAL said:

    Hi Jörfi,

    I listened all 4 movements once.  I would like to listen it once more with the score if it is available.

    Rendering is perfect.  I liked it very much.

    Instrument colors and the management of tension through the control of loudness, percussion+brass,

    and some dissonance are the strong points I believe.  You decrease the tension and relax and then

    either suddenly or through buildup comes high tension, which is what most symphonies do.

    Orchestration wise, I would like to see more thin textures with less loudness and more clarity, or 

    something in between them and the high density parts.  It sounds a bit like black and white.

    A symphony, short or long requires a tremendous effort and motivation.  Your motivation

    can be sensed through your work.  It is gorgeous.

    Thank you for sharing your work.

    Ali R+

    Symphony (compliments of quarantine)
    Edit: Added the score. Happy quarantining, everyone! Though I haven't been as productive as I'd wish, I did find the inspiration (and time!) to piece…
This reply was deleted.