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Topic: Descent - Work in Progress

  1. #1

    Descent - Work in Progress

    Hey everyone,

    Still hard at work here, working on writing my big final pieces for the Senior Recital! However, since I realized I haven't posted anything new in forever, I should offer up a bit of a sneak preview for what is my current project

    (The MP3 is at the moment a direct rip from Sibelius playback, so a lot of things including extended techniques and glissandi aren't represented 100% acurately. Once the piece is finished, I'll be going back and doing a tooled mockup of the whole thing.)

    One of my classes is called Composition Seminar, in which each semester we write for an in-residence ensemble. This time around it happens to be the extremely talented Seattle Chamber Players. And so, each of us is tasked with the assignment of writing a 7-10 minute piece for the ensemble.

    The piece I'm writing is called Descent, and comes in 5 "gradiented" movements. I say gradiented because, in developing the concept for the piece I wanted a continuous stream of movement as the piece is the depiction of literally decending through a physical space.

    The movements are designed to be symmetrical in length: 1 2 3 2 1

    The instrumentation is: Flute (Piccolo, Concert C, Alto), Clarinet (Bb, Bass), Violin, & Cello.


    The piece begins in space, where atonality is a representation of a lack of oxygen. Eventually we begin to enter atmosphere as pitch shifts to tonality and higher registers.


    Split up into two halves: above the clouds, and below, with a descent through turbulance in between. As we descend further, the ocean is seen below us. Eventually, the shore of a primative land becomes visible.


    An oceanside village is seen on the horizon as we begin to touch down. Firmly planted on the ground, the sounds of the village and the people are loud and cheerful as they welcome the day's beginning. The ground ramps downward and we begin to be plunged into darkness, entering a cave that continues our descent.


    Through earth and dank darkness, the descent continues.

    The first few bars of the 4th movent are as far as I've written so far... The final movement will be representing the core of the earth, and bring things to a conclusion.

    Descent WIP

    Anyways, hope I haven't rambled on too long Enjoy what I have so far, and I'll be sure to post the finalized mockup (and eventually the live performance!) once it's all finished.

  2. #2

    Re: Descent - Work in Progress

    Leif, you never disappoint, and you often delightfully surprise!

    Fascinating work! Brilliantly original writing and conception in this; and though I can still clearly hear your hand in it, there's an adventurous and highly successful manipulation of both tonality and texture that I have not heard from you previously.

    Excellent, highly skillful composition, Leif! I look forward to the completed piece!

    All my best,


  3. #3

    Re: Descent - Work in Progress

    Thanks David It's definately encouraging to hear that my attempt at compositional growth isn't going unnoticed. It's really been a fun experience putting together interesting sounds and tones using the limited instruments. But then, I've also obviously got to put in some fun melodies as well to balence it out

  4. #4

    Re: Descent - Work in Progress

    Hey, I just wanted to do a slight resurrection of this thread so I can post the recording of this piece's live performance from last Thursday evening Didn't make much sense to start a new one, so may as well use this.

    DescenT - Live!

    I added a bit of 'verb since the room it was performed in is rather dull, but otherwise this is a direct take from the performance. Was really pleased with how it turned out. Enjoy!

  5. #5

    Re: Descent - Work in Progress


    And wow again!

    Really fine performance.

    I liked this piece a great deal as I mentioned earlier -- but in live
    performance, it's a knock-out!



  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Edinburgh, Scotland

    Re: Descent - Work in Progress

    this contains some of the most ravishingly beautiful scoring i've heard on the forum and a number of striking passages which, as David says, come across even better in the live performance which is technically excellent!

  7. #7

    Re: Descent - Work in Progress

    Congratulations Leif.
    It is very satisfying to see a piece go from mock-up to live performance.
    Superb use of the ensemble, throughout, and the sense of narrative driving the piece, definitely aids, rather than inhibits the flow.

    Beautiful Work.!!!

    regards Joe

  8. #8

    Re: Descent - Work in Progress

    Very nice. Keep up the good work. Not much to add that the others have not already said.

    // Ars longa, vita brevis
    // http://edosbear.blogspot.com/

  9. #9

    Re: Descent - Work in Progress


    Great stuff! I love to see the transition from mockup to live. Congratulations!


    Jim Jarnagin - no not THAT Jim Jarnagin, the other one.

  10. #10

    Re: Descent - Work in Progress

    Great performance! Yes, it is interesting to hear the comparison with GPO and live players. Great composition too .
    Kind Regards

    Louis Dekker
    My Music Site

    Pour être grand, il faut avoir été petit.

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