It's been a good while since I posted anything--I'm usually pretty guarded about sharing things, being a perfectionist in the highest degree, but I felt that this new string quartet was worth it, and good enough to share:
..."The Quartet is one of the only pieces I have ever written which did not have a pre-conceived program dictating its composition. Instead, I wanted to focus on the craft of composition: how to manipulate melodies so that they are properly developed and yet, still new; how to transition between sections so that the music has at least an internal “flow”, if not an external one. Above all, I wanted to see if I could drop my programmatic tendencies and still communicate something to the listener, whether it was pictures, feelings or anything else. I hope that, at the end of the piece, you feel as though you’ve been, in the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, “there and back again....”
I wrote the piece using only the solo strings from Synful Orchestra, and orchestrated directly from the midi file. As far as the performance goes, I was pleased. There are shaky parts, particularly in the viola (poor guy suffers from bad nerves), but I thought the performers did a nice job overall. The piece was performed this past Tuesday, April 11th, at New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall in Boston Massachusetts.
I hope you enjoy the work, and any comments are very much appreciated!
NB: The file may take a bit to download as it's approximately 10 minutes long and encoded at 320kbps.
Congratulations on this recording! It's very nicely done with solid intonation - well, solid enough anyway. The dynamics and expression are wonderful, as is the energy of the performers. I very much like the writing, especially your call and response sections.
This is very well crafted indeed, excellent writing, and the performers are also very good. You are certainly a gifted composer.
About the piece itself I can hear everything : Bartok, Beethoven, some english music (Moeran?) and other stuff put together.
So it's difficult to figure out what is really your personnal style and what you wanna say with this piece ( I never read the composer notes on his own pieces), no offense but the word "patchwork" comes to my mind, nevertheless as I said above the writing is very good.
JF: It doesn't sound like samples, this is true, but one of the interesting things I learned when writing it was how one must be able to really discern the differences in sample orchestration versus live. We all know this, of course, but during rehearsals, I had to get used to the fact that the opening passages in the cello simply were not going to be as locked into a groove as the samples were. Turns out that was a good thing, I think... Perhaps I should put a link up to the sampled version for comparison... Thanks for taking the time to listen and for sharing your opinion!
Roberto: Thank you for your kind words. As for an "enfant prodigue", I most certainly am not. Just an average college student trying to figure out what to do with his life. Very glad you enjoyed the piece!
Sicmu: You have wonderful ears. My two biggest influences at this point are Bartok and Shostakovich. And, when writing the piece, I had to admit that I needed help; nothing was flowing. So, I went to Beethoven's first quartet and found my inspiration. And as far as English music goes, for me it's all Vaughan-Williams. As for my personal style, I hope that something unique comes through, although one of my mentors admitted the same thing you have. He felt that the piece worked, but he didn't understand how or why, seeing as there were so many "flavors" all over the place, as he put it. In any case, thanks for listening, and I'm glad you enjoyed the work.
Steve, great job on this. It's always wonderful to hear real players (sorry but I'll never take samples over the real thing...ever!).
I like how you go from a terse 4/4 to what sounds like a 3 against 2 rhythmic section. And nice colorations using the different string techniques (metered tremolo) and such.
Also good use of motivic immitation between the parts in the "Bartok" sounding section.
Very inspiring. Glad you were able to get a live reading of this piece. As good as samples have gotten this really breaths with real players (as I'd expect them to be breathing during the performance- who wants players hyperventilating? )
Thanks so much for your input. A N.B. about my website. It is unfortunately very much out of date in terms of images and things. I think those photos were from my senior year of high school. Most of the compositions are recent, however... If you want any more info, or links to the newer works, let me know.
Something I'm throwing together for my mock-ups. Until now, I only used samples to give sort of... give voice to the colors I thought I heard in my head, if that makes any sense. I never really went for realism until recently.
Here's an opening to an orchestral piece I've started. A Concerto for Orchestra, I guess:
Not much there yet, but if anyone's interested... I'm mainly using this to improve my mock-up skills, so if anyone has any advice as far as the production goes... reverb and whatnot... Right now it's difficult to write bigger tutti brass sections, because they get muffled in the reverb (GigaPulse), and lose their clarity. Anyhow, there we go. Also, if anyone listens to the Octet (Folksongs for Winds) on my site, I have a newer and slightly better performed version if interested. Class time now...