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Topic: Some Ballet Music

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  1. #1

    Some Ballet Music

    Hi Everyone!

    Here are some selections from my Ballet, "The Enchanted Attic"

    It is a children's ballet, written and produced 10 years ago. The dancers were comprised of the choreographer's students aged 18 and under. Some very advanced. It was an amateur ballet, but produced on a professional scale. The Choreographer is a Juliard School grad and has over 80 students. I did this back before I had any training in theory, composition, orchestration or really ANY kind of musical training other than piano lessons. The music is rather simply constructed and didn't modulate much within each piece. But it was a success and I was pleased.

    The choreographer approached me in December of this last year with plans to perform it again in MAY of this year. She wanted to re-choreograph it. I told her I would be interested if she would let me re-orchestrate it with GPO. She said that was fine, but wanted me to leave the music itself alone. This was hard for me - It is like giving a senior in high school a crayon drawing he or she did when in Kindergarten and having them add color without changing the picture.

    I originally composed this on a Roland MT-200 sound module/sequencer and my Yamaha Clavinova. Rather than re-recording everything live, I imported the original Roland Files into Tracktion, and then went to work editing the CC data for each and every note of each and every instrument (changing velocity-based dynamics to mod-wheel based ones ).

    Actually, with the exception of one newly added piece (the Dance of the Vintage Dolls, which was formerly known as Dancers in the Painting in the initial post) the 1995 orchestrations were left completely alone - but I think they sound much better and more lifelike in GPO. I did not undertake to fix my mistakes - but rather to simply have the pieces play through GPO. SO KEEP THAT IN MIND when listening to these.

    The Ballet is about a young girl named Emily who spends the weekend at her grandma's home. Emily isn't a happy girl - missing her parents, but Grandma has a pet bird named Tootzu who cheers her up. After being terrified by a thunderstorm, tootzu escapes and emily chases the bird to the attic, where there are a whole bunch of toys and other things that would be in an attic (like an old painting). Tootzu flys into a trunk, where she magically appears in full human sized form (how else are you gonna have her dance? ) She does a dance and brings the toys to life. (very Nutcracker-like, I know) Each has a dance and makes friends with Emily. Some bats come and terrorize them until they fight back, and scare the bats away. Afterward they go back to their places (and tootzu goes back to being LITTLE again) and grandma takes emily and tootzu back downstairs.

    That is the Reader's digest version - I left out a lot of stuff and have hastily summarized the ending, which is much more emotional.

    So here they are: I think the titles are self explanatory.

    Enchanted Attic Main Theme
    (Remember I wrote this 10 years ago - BEFORE Harry Potter!!!! )

    Grandma's Theme

    Dance of the Teddy Bear

    Dance of the Ballerina Music Box

    Dance of the Vintage Dolls

    Tootzu's Lullaby

    Even though I really cannot change these (I had to have the new version completed and submitted two weeks ago), I'd still like some feedback.
    MacBook Pro Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5ghz 4GB Ram OSX 10.5.8
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    T3, Logic 9, DP7, K2, GPO4, Strad, Gofriller, C&MB, Finale 2010

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  2. #2

    Re: Some Ballet Music

    Jerry,

    This is such a charming group of pieces. I wish I lived near you to come and see the kids dance. It's just going to be swell.

    Congratulations,

    Karl

  3. #3

    Re: Some Ballet Music

    Perfectly delightful! Very colorful and tasteful orchestration too--especially the Teddy Bear dance. And don't worry about modulating. As Debussy once said to his teachers, "Why should I modulate if I'm enjoying the key I'm in?"

    One suggested adjustment: the entrance of the piccolo (?) at :28 in Grandma's theme is very loud and jarring. Otherwise I'd agree--don't touch anything!

  4. #4

    Re: Some Ballet Music

    Quote Originally Posted by Karl Garrett
    Jerry,

    This is such a charming group of pieces. I wish I lived near you to come and see the kids dance. It's just going to be swell.

    Congratulations,

    Karl
    Thanks Karl! That is something that I forgot to really emphasize. This music really is incomplete without the dancing that is created for it. There will be six performances of it in May. I know that Jeff Turner and his wife will be seeing it. And if you are really interested, I know a way you can see it too! PM me and I'll explain.


    Quote Originally Posted by neoTypic
    I've listened to them all. The themes are delightful and a wonderful breath of fresh air.

    Thank you for sharing them.
    Thanks NeoTypic. That is one of the reasons I wanted to post them - It took me a long time to appreciate this music again. I had convinced myself it too much of an immature piece of music and wasn't very good because I wrote it before I had any training. There are parts of the original score that make me cringe even today (One of them was a dance where Emily is terrified by a storm - lasted 6 minutes and the original music was just horribly repetitive. It worked, but got old bigtime. But, I re-wrote that section and it is much better. And revisiting each and every note of the whole ballet forced me to appreciate it for what it is. It has a LOT of nice, memorable melodies and a child-like innocence about it that really fits the genre. The main character dances are still good - even after all my academic training. Simple? Yes, But totally appropriate for the story, and the dancers. I doubt I would have improved it by re-writing the whole thing. "Dancers in the Painting" was a brand new piece added this year. It is also a simply constructed little piece, but is very appropriate for the ballet and doesn't distract or feel out of place witht he surrounding music.

    Anyway - wow - sorry about rambling. Thanks again.

    Quote Originally Posted by danveach
    Perfectly delightful! Very colorful and tasteful orchestration too--especially the Teddy Bear dance. And don't worry about modulating. As Debussy once said to his teachers, "Why should I modulate if I'm enjoying the key I'm in?"

    One suggested adjustment: the entrance of the piccolo (?) at :28 in Grandma's theme is very loud and jarring. Otherwise I'd agree--don't touch anything!
    Thanks for the comments, Dan. I had actually planned on re-orchestrating these, but after hearing them in the original orchestrations, but through GPO, I found myself thinking, "You know? these aren't so bad after all" As a side note, I found myself able to really sail through my orchestration classes in school partly because of my experiences with this ballet. Many of the techniques and "colorings" taught there were things I had already done in this piece. There were tons of technical mistakes too, but for the most part, its orchestrations are fine.

    The piccolo entrance is indeed a bit loud - I still have to produce a "performance CD" of the ballet. I'll try and bring that down a bit. It is illustrating Tootzu flying back in her cage that Grandma is holding. Each of the characters are associated with both a small theme and a particular instrument. Grandma is a flute (usually plying at the lower end of the register), Tootzu a piccolo and also a flute, Emily, a clarinet (in Dancers in the Painting you hear her) Her parents are trumpets and horns, etc.

    Anyway. Thanks for listening. I appreciate your time and comments greatly.

    JW
    MacBook Pro Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5ghz 4GB Ram OSX 10.5.8
    Korg TritonLe & MAudio Oxygen 8
    T3, Logic 9, DP7, K2, GPO4, Strad, Gofriller, C&MB, Finale 2010

    My Website!
    New Film Scores!
    Also, Ever think about having your very own personal documentary? See my new Website!
    http://www.mylegacyfilm.com


  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    1,175

    Re: Some Ballet Music

    I'll be there!

    JT

  6. #6

    Re: Some Ballet Music

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Turner
    I'll be there!

    JT
    I knew you would be, Jeff! Thanks again.

    I'll let everyone know how things go.

    Jerry
    MacBook Pro Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5ghz 4GB Ram OSX 10.5.8
    Korg TritonLe & MAudio Oxygen 8
    T3, Logic 9, DP7, K2, GPO4, Strad, Gofriller, C&MB, Finale 2010

    My Website!
    New Film Scores!
    Also, Ever think about having your very own personal documentary? See my new Website!
    http://www.mylegacyfilm.com


  7. #7

    Re: Some Ballet Music

    I enjoyed your pieces, great orchestration! Good luck with the ballet!
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  8. #8

    Re: Some Ballet Music

    This word recurs in this thread, and I must add it again myself: DELIGHTFUL!

    Dancers In The Painting is particularly lovely, with very strong writing in the piano opening... I'd love to hear this thematic material developed further, Jerry. To me, it's just begging for elaboration.

    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    464

    Re: Some Ballet Music

    charming, delightful, enchanting...i really enjoyed them all...and if i were you, i wouldn't give john williams any more advice

  10. #10

    Re: Some Ballet Music

    Jerry, this is amazing work I'm so jealous!! I hope that the show goes as planned, and that your expectations are more than exceeded Good luck

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