Symphony mov. III


This is one of my earlier compositions, but not more than 15 years old. Remember the bad old days before composing software, when cut and paste meant with a scissors and a glue stick, and Wite Out was a composer's best friend? Just think how Bach composed with a quill and ink, by candle light and no bifocals. I wonder if his first practices went like ours.

Jim: Hey, Larry , is this an A or a G?

Larry: “Well, it looks like an A but it could be a G. Ask Rod, he has his glasses on.

Rod: It's a G. It's definitely a G, but it sounds wrong.

Jim: That's because you're playing it on a trumpet. Play it up a step.

Rod: It still sounds wrong.

Larry: You have the music up-side down. It's an B.

Rod: It's still wrong.

Jim: Oh, wait. It was a pizza stain. It brushed right off. Never mind.

This piece was composed on paper for chamber orchestra and was performed about 12 years ago. This March I gave it a Beethoven orchestration to use in the symphony. It only works if you listen carefully. So turn up the volumn and consentrate.


Moderato Appassionato gpo.pdf

Moderato Appassionato.mp3

You need to be a member of Composers' Forum to add comments!

Join Composers' Forum

Email me when people reply –


  • Lawrence, overall I enjoyed the piece.  Nice phrasing and overlap of different instruments to carry the melody.  Only suggestion I can think of to offer some contrast would be to incorporate an Oboe or English Horn solo (for just a few bars) somewhere in the middle, supported with light sustained low woodwinds and or low strings.



  • Lawrence,

    Will this segue into the next movement?  (V as the final chord?)

    The tympani part as written is not practical unless you have 3 players and 12 kettles.  They can be retuned during the piece, but not as rapidly as would be needed here.  (It's unplayable with one player.)  Also, the tymp part should be placed between the brass and strings.

    The other thing you might want to consider is an assai part for the DB's.  Depending on the group performing, not all players have the capability to go down to the low C you have written for them.

    There's a lot of nice interplay in the way you passed the melody through the voices.




  • Tim,

         I have only written simple parts for timpani, nothing so comlex as a symphony.  I need to know the practical limitations of tuning.  The conventional orchestra will have six drums and one player, correct?  How long does it take to tune a single kettle?  Should a movement be restricted to six different notes?  This symphony is about 70 minutes long in all different keys major and minor.  I am beginning to understand why classical works are written in one key.  Your imput is much appreciated.

    I did intend for this movement to end up in the air, as most every line is ever ascending.


  • Lawrence,

    Conventional orchestra will have 1 player but only 5 drums.  (For community and younger groups probably only 3-4)

    The sizes and there ranges are;

    32"     D2-A2   (this would be the fourth drum)

    29"     F2-C3

    26"     Bb2-F3

    23"     D3-A3

    20"     F3-C4   (this would be the 5th drum)

    As a practical matter the "standard range" for writing would be F2-F3.

    The player is able to tune using a pedal on each kettle and needs to have enough time to adjust to a new pitch.  (I would try to give at least 5-10 seconds.  This can be done more quickly using a guide on the timp, but this is less accurate regarding intonation.)  Between movements, retuning is not a problem as the conductor can wait as long as necessary.

    Here's a link to a site with more info as well as videos explaining in more detail.                                                            


    Hope this helps!


  • Tim,

         It helps a lot.  I was under the impression that they just adjusted the foot pedal and they were automatically in tune, almost like playing the pedal on an organ.  String players don't know what goes on behind them.  Thanks.


  • Kristofer,

         You know what improves a score even more than coffee?  Wine.  We used to practice on Sunday afternoons with a few bottles.  You wouldn't believe how much better you sound after two glasses of merlot.


This reply was deleted.