J Joe Townley replied to SunJunqing's discussion Symphony No.0 written in 2013
"Here are my initial impressions, Sun (disclaimer I didn't listen straight through I jumped around quite a bit):
Your orchestration is top-notch; you obviously have a grasp of the instruments and how to blend them. This is your greatest strength. But…"
Oct 22, 2018
J Joe Townley replied to J Joe Townley's discussion Ghostly Waltzes Op 3 Would Appreciate Any And All Opinions, Critiques, etc.
"A premier would be nice, yes but I am realizing more and more that it just might be too impractical to do given the extreme complexities of arranging one. I'll settle for an in-studio videotaping of the singers if I can find a studio and a choir…"
Oct 22, 2018
Ingo Lee replied to J Joe Townley's discussion Ghostly Waltzes Op 3 Would Appreciate Any And All Opinions, Critiques, etc.
"I guess what you want is a premier, a video and a quality recording all at once for one price?  That's possible but it's very difficult even for top of the line professionals who will want a lot of money.  You need singers, directors, recording…"
Oct 21, 2018
J Joe Townley replied to J Joe Townley's discussion Ghostly Waltzes Op 3 Would Appreciate Any And All Opinions, Critiques, etc.
"Hi  Ingo and thanks for your input. Yes, I must have gotten Colin's post confused with yours because I answered your questions in his post to me. Good software like Vienna is outrageously expensive 8-12K but Miroslav is very reasonably at $500 and…"
Oct 21, 2018
Gavin Brown replied to J Joe Townley's discussion Ghostly Waltzes Op 3 Would Appreciate Any And All Opinions, Critiques, etc.
"Good news!"
Oct 21, 2018
J Joe Townley replied to J Joe Townley's discussion Ghostly Waltzes Op 3 Would Appreciate Any And All Opinions, Critiques, etc.
"Thanks for that recommendation, Gav. What happened was my response was there, then it wasn't, then it was back. May be i need glasses but it appears to be there now for good.  Gav Brown said:
Hi J Joe,
I would suggest #5 in addition to the first…"
Oct 21, 2018
Gavin Brown replied to J Joe Townley's discussion Ghostly Waltzes Op 3 Would Appreciate Any And All Opinions, Critiques, etc.
"Hi J Joe,
I would suggest #5 in addition to the first one. Saw something from you about a post being deleted - you can do this and I can do this. I am pretty careful, but it is possible I could have removed something accidentally, if so, sorry!
Gav"
Oct 21, 2018
J Joe Townley replied to J Joe Townley's discussion Ghostly Waltzes Op 3 Would Appreciate Any And All Opinions, Critiques, etc.
"Hi Colin
Thanks so much for taking the time to give me some extremely pertinent observations about the music and the scores. Re being able to read the score: if you go to the bottom right of the screen on the video and click on the "Settings"…"
Oct 21, 2018
Gavin Brown replied to J Joe Townley's discussion Ghostly Waltzes Op 3 Would Appreciate Any And All Opinions, Critiques, etc.
"Sure J Joe, 
Be in touch in a bit with recommendations -
Gav"
Oct 21, 2018
J Joe Townley replied to J Joe Townley's discussion Ghostly Waltzes Op 3 Would Appreciate Any And All Opinions, Critiques, etc.
"Hi Gav, 
Thanks much for your excellent advice. Actually, it would help tremendously if someone impartial could suggest which two they think are the strongest to program. Might I ask you to recommend what you feel are the two best? I think one of…"
Oct 21, 2018
Ingo Lee replied to J Joe Townley's discussion Ghostly Waltzes Op 3 Would Appreciate Any And All Opinions, Critiques, etc.
"Hi Joe, I enjoyed what I heard here, I did only listen to one walz (time is short).  Your writing and orchestration are very good and the concept of piano concerto with choir doing cinematic music is new to me at least.  The music itself is not new…"
Oct 21, 2018
Colin Dougall replied to J Joe Townley's discussion Ghostly Waltzes Op 3 Would Appreciate Any And All Opinions, Critiques, etc.
"Hi Joe

I've listened to the first three of the waltzes - I'm definetely a fan of waltzes and by extension what I've just heard from you. I have to say I'm not a fan of the voices and I tuned them out and concentrated on the rest instead. I didn't…"
Oct 20, 2018
Gavin Brown replied to J Joe Townley's discussion Ghostly Waltzes Op 3 Would Appreciate Any And All Opinions, Critiques, etc.
"Hi J Joe,
Yes, it’s worth it, though I would suggest picking 2 of the works, rather than all of them, to start. Your music has polish and is well put together, and that’s enough to justify the effort (I will get to what I think of it as a ‘work of…"
Oct 20, 2018
J Joe Townley posted videos
Oct 20, 2018
J Joe Townley left a comment for Steve Chandler
""I enjoyed the ghostly waltzes. Do you really look like Elvis?"
No, not anymore. Thank you much for the waltzes. I just did choral arrangements of the first two. They are on my YouTube channel. You might enjoy them. I cannot upload them here anymore…"
May 26, 2017
J Joe Townley left a comment for Mariza Costa-Cabral
"Hi Mariza, just wanted to let you know that I've collected the three waltzes together and added a fourth which you might like. I've tried to turn it into a short concert piece for piano & orchestra. It is my latest video entitled "Ghostly Waltzes"…"
Dec 19, 2015
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  • You are welcome Joe, and sorry for such a delayed reply. How are you now? Hope you have fully recovered. 

  • Hi Joe,

    Thanks for your prompt response! I'm sorry to hear about your illness. I hope you will be fully back to normal soon.

    About performing your concerto, I saw Shao Ying Low's comment on your comment wall; did you ever take up her offer to arrange for a performance in Singapore? Perhaps audiences there (or more importantly, musicians) might be more receptive to this sort of music. Who knows, if it does well there, it might give you a stronger negotiating edge with local orchestras here.

    As for myself, recently I managed to win 2nd prize in a little competition here on this forum. Would love to hear your feedback on my entry, if you have the time to listen to it. Thanks in advance!

    Fireworks contest entry
    Now that a few weeks have passed since the end of the Fireworks contest, I'm putting up my contest entry for analysis and critique. Even though I won…
  • Hey, don't know if you're still around on this forum, but just wanted to drop you a note that I very much enjoyed your piano concerto, so much so today I started listening to it again.  The 3rd movement is playing right now, actually. Really enjoyed it.  I hope you will continue to try to find an orchestra that's willing to play it... Don't listen to the naysayers; there is still an audience for this sort of music.

  • Hi Joe,

    Thanks for your reply and so sorry for the very late reply. Have been busy with work. 

    I agree with you about feeling so dis"concerting" about music these days. The contemporary works that are in the market nowadays give me the feel that they cater more to the composers themselves than the audience.

    Recently, I was asked to learn and play a "mathematical" piece for piano and string quartet in 2 weeks. I looked at the score and listened to the midi. Immediately I rejected it. First of all, the rhythms (because of the "mathematics" theme) in the piano part will take you the rest of your life to figure out, not to mention the notes. Secondly, the piece just sounds like a mess. I must say that the beginning 1/10 of the piece was rather tuneful, but the rest was pure improvisation on the musicians' parts. If you play it 10 times, 10 times will be totally different. One of the string players told me that this piece has no shelf life. They will never touch it again. That is a really sad thing to hear about your piece if you were the composer. But the end result of the performance of the piece sounded better because the performers played it at a slower tempo that indicated, and they basically improvised. So what's the point of writing a piece if the performers have to improvise?

    Like you, I fear for the future of classical music. Although the great classical pieces are still performed today, the quality has greatly gone downhill. Gone are the souls of the music. Classical music is (to me) now more like an Olympic sport: whoever can play the fastest and loudest wins. Musicality and the original intention of the pieces don't matter anymore. And with the addition of contemporary pieces makes it even worst. It's a really sad reality....

    In Singapore, there are a handful of non-professional and semi-professional orchestras which stage regular concerts. I'm sure they will be more than happy to premiere new works, instead of always letting professional orchestras have the upper hand. I've already asked a very good graduate student who is interested to look at your concerto. He is a very skillful and musical pianist. I was moved to tears by his Rachmaninoff 2nd piano concert when he played it in a competition a few years back. I'm very sure he will do just as well for your concerto. His only request is to perform it anytime from next year onwards because he is busy with his own recitals and concerts this year. 

    May I know your charges if I can get an orchestra here to perform your concerto if they can put it as part of their programme? And where can your score be downloaded?

    Thanks a lot for your suggestion for "By The Fireplace". It is the 4th and final movement of "On Vacation", a set of short pieces for string quartet:-

    1. "A Walk In The Woods" --- a couple stolling in the woods.

    2. "At The Carnival" --- 2 boys spending a day at the carnival.

    3. "Out At Sea" --- a family going out to sea.

    4. "By The Fireplace" --- a couple spending time together before the vacation ends.

    The above are just short gist of each piece. I hope they will get the same attention as Borodin's 2nd String Quartet too. Hahaha. I will be getting them properly recorded in June for my joint-album release with my sis. 

    Thanks and keep in touch! 

    Shao Ying

  • Hi Joe,

    Thank you for your very kind message and welcome! :-) Yes, I also am very pro-melody. Anything that's atonal or something like that should not be considered music. It's more like noise (I'm sorry if this comment offends any atonal contemporary composers). I went to a concert once featuring a very atonal orchestral piece. During interval, I heard an audience comment "what a horrible piece". This made me realize that audience still prefer works with melodies that they can hum to and are memorable. I have a colleague (who's an atonal contemporary composer) who said that anything with melodies are crap, indirectly hinting that the music of Bach, Chopin and classical composers are crap. This, a few of my friends (one of them is a classical music reviewer) and I found, is because atonal contemporary composers can't craft a proper tune. Also, they are trying to create their own "identity". Basically, I write what I love to write and also I write what I think I went to a concert once featuring a very atonal orchestral piece. During interval, I heard an audience comment "what a horrible piece". This made me realize that   the audience would like to hear. Just like you, your piano concerto should be heard. In concert halls in Singapore, it's always Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Rachmaninov, Chopin, works you've heard millions of times before. I think I can introduce your concerto to a few conductor friends and get them to premier it in Singapore. I know a handful of good pianists who will be able to perform it very well. I love hearing new works and I think living composers (with melodic works) should have their works heard more often. 

    Thanks for your compliments for "By The Fireplace" string quartet piece. I intend to put it up on YouTube but I'm still deciding how to do it to make it more impactful. The other same-titled piece you heard is indeed by my twin sister, who is also a pianist and composer like me. We do not really have videos of us playing together on YouTube, because we are trying to promote our works and ourselves as composers rather than promote ourselves as pianists. But thanks for your suggestion. :-)  

    Hope to hear more of your wonderful music! 

  • Hmm. I realize the piano part is quite virtuosic, but surely you could at least get a less-than-top-tier orchestra to perform the orchestral parts for a lower price? I mean, sure, it would be nice to get a premier in a top orchestra, but that doesn't usually happen unless you're already a well-known professional composer. Also, is your injured finger still a problem? If not, perhaps you could play the piano part yourself. That would be a nice premier. :-)

    I did listen to the SoundCloud version the second time round, and it sounds a little better, but still, as you said, it's an electronic rendering. While it is possible to alleviate the most egregious aspects of a mechanical rendering, it's also a lot of work, and the result may still be obviously imperfect. But at least one immediate thought that comes to mind is to look for better instrument sound patches / soundfonts, some of which are floating around online, which may eliminate most of the squeaky-screechy parts of the electronic rendering. The opening chords of your concerto could sound a lot better if you had better brass soundfonts installed.

    I'm currently working on a complicated setup with a software synthesizer (TiMidity++), cobbling together an orchestral setup with instruments selected one by one from the haphazard collection of soundfonts I've been collecting over the years, manually tweaked with different amplication levels and other (crude) tweaks, that hopefully would give me at least a tolerable sound output. Originally, I was just playing around with various one-off tweaks so that I can work on my little orchestral overture without my ears bleeding, but it quickly turned into its own project, because good orchestral soundfonts are so hard to come by! And even when they do come, they don't tend to play well with other instruments unless a lot of effort is spent balancing them.

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