Well... After all you have listened to my first movement 'Uneasy Peace', the logical thing to follow is a war... And that is what I tried to capture in the second moment. I think I didn't do bad...

So, here it is: the second movement of the War Symphony, in 2/4, 80bpm (halfnote). Brass has something to do... Better: they have to work for their money...

02 - War.pdf

02 - War.mp3

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  • General comment: I think there's a lot of good material here to work with, and the brass lines are definitely "in-your-face", as appropriate to something entitled "war". There's also the relentless driving tempo pushing onwards mercilessly.  But I feel like I'm missing something here... the opening timpani beats are very nice, but then the piece proceeds to basically a steady, regular beat, which makes it sound like a kind of victory march or tribal war dance. Maybe that was your goal, but I didn't feel there was enough "violence" to justify the title of "war". There wasn't enough tension to depict the brutality of war. While you did a great job in bringing in the typical "war" instruments -- the timpani, the cymbals, the blaring trumpets, etc., I felt the rhythms were too regular, and that spoiled it. Maybe I just have the wrong expectations, I don't know.  But based on the title, I was expecting some conflict.  Some moments of terror, hiding in the dark, not knowing whether you'll live to see tomorrow.  Some sudden explosions, figuratively speaking, that interrupt the steady flow of the music. Some syncopated beats as the soldiers stagger onward in spite of the descending shells and dead comrades. Some out-of-rhythm crashes as bombs explode around them and buildings fall. Some jagged, irregular descending scales as civilians flee for their lives. The obligatory fortissimo tutti (dis)chord of pain as the horror of war descends upon the innocent. Brutal, inhumane, merciless, and senseless violence that is war.

    Or maybe I've been listening to Holst too much. :-P  But I feel like the many good ideas you have here (good job on the horn alarm sound btw!) are tarnished by the overly regular rhythm and pace. There are a few moments of sudden pause, but not quite enough of them, and not quite "violent" enough. As a result it sounds more like a jaunty romp in the wild west, or a stomping tribal victory dance, than what I was expecting to be "war".

    Anyway, some minor notes:

    m.121: while the horn *can* go that low, and probably *can* negotiate this passage, I think at this tempo and in this register the line is probably better given to the tuba or trombone, for better firmness of sound and stronger statement, esp. the ascending 8th notes.

    mm.171-173: I think the correct term for "scale" is "glissando", or "gliss." for short. (Or am I missing something here?)

  • Hey Erwin, you certainly keep busy!

    Although of course Tylers erlier comment (on the first movement) of the use of the orchestra still applies to some degree it feels as if you use the orchestra a lot more in this movement.

    I enjoyed it very much and felt as if it represented a march into the war, and as such it did great!

    I like the way that you set the sections up against each other sometimes taking over the melodic content after it's been finished and sometimes letting them interupt each other, that makes it interesting all the way to the end.

    Sometimes I feel that the resting instruments could be added as "chordal support" to enhance the mood of the particular section of the piece. In those cases the parts wouldn't have to be elaborated in the way that most of your entries are, but rather static and just playing long notes or ostinatos. That could make the piece sound even more orchestral.

    I think that you might benefit from looking at what's going on in this movement and go back to the first to make that one stronger as well. The symphony isn't at all going in the wrong direction - it is interesting all the way through and it feels connected in terms of harmonic and melodic content - rather the oposite, but a bit more of "boring" parts filling up the space and enhancing the mood and the orchestral colour wouldn't hurt either movement I think.

    Thanks for posting, I'm looking forward to hearing the entire symphony as it is being finished.


  • Hi guys,

    thanks for the responses. A few things I would like to clarify.

    This movement I have been writing along the first, although finishing it was more difficult. That may be a reason the orchestra is not fully deployed. Still working on that.

    It is absolutely not meant as a march to war or a march of victory, so in that case I guess I have failed a little. The tempo was supposed to be killing, and I tried to get it sound agressive (hence the brass doing overtime). I am working on that at this very moment. I have some idea.s

    About the air alarm (horn). That was an idea that just popped up and I think it worked out quite well. The lower horn part I will do something about.

    Would love to hear some more comments.

    Oh, and thanks for listening, for the compliments and most of all for the advice. :)

  • I have been making some adjustments. Let's see if it sounds less march-like and a little more ... yeah, how to put that...

    Listen for yourself... :)

    02 - War.pdf

    02 - War.mp3

  • Erwin,

    I finally listened to this movement.  I am quite impressed.  Full of life and dynamics.  This particular movement does not make me think about war, however.  There's definitely a "marching forth" and strong determination.  But seems more of a hopeful enterprise to me rather than an aggressive incursion...


  • Thanks. Did you listen to the original post or to the one directly about your post? ;)

  • Erwin,

    I had listened to the original post. But just now I listened to the revised version. Although it sounds less march-like, I think that my comments still apply, in my opinion.  What do you think?

    Erwin van Delft said:

    Thanks. Did you listen to the original post or to the one directly about your post? ;)

    War Symphony, second movement
    Well... After all you have listened to my first movement 'Uneasy Peace', the logical thing to follow is a war... And that is what I tried to capture…
  • I did the best I could...

    I think that if the music doesn't comply with the title, one or the other must be changed... Since I changed one, and that didn't help, I might have to change the other... Like 'warmarch to victory' or so...

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