It is a winter composition. What I have so far is the beginning, the cold coming in and freezing the ground; and the middle (which is what I'm still working on), the children waking up and playing in the snow. The next parts will be a blizzard, and then finally the snow melting as spring comes.
Robert Sheldon, who is a great composer for concert band, and a rally nice guy, said this to me:
"If I was to offer any suggestion it would be that the piece appears rather disjunct at this point ( I understand it is a work in progress) due to the unrelated mood, style and thematic material between the intro and the Allegro theme."
I had already know about that since, as he said, it's a work on progress. I wanted to know if you guys had any suggestions as to how I could make them more connected.
I listened, and to be honest, the transition doesn't bother me. That being said, as somebody who is used to working with many incomplete "works in progress", I may not be the best person to ask.
Here would be my thoughts, and you may very well already have thought of some of this and not yet gotten to it. The two sections have clearly defined styles and themes, and for my tastes, they don't necessarily have to line up. However, given the current length of the opening chunk, it feels like we will be coming back to that theme at some point. Your "justification" for the opening dark material may be that it starts to get woven into the lighter material that comes after it.
I'm currently working on a 3 movement work for concert band where the opening theme doesn't really show up again at all in the first movement as it comes back more strongly in the 2nd and 3rd. Taken on its own, it may feel a little disjointed, but in the context of the entire work, it's really an exercise in delayed gratification. It's actually one of my favourite techniques. I like writing the opening last usually as I can weave in hints of themes to come much better.
If you don't come back to the opening material again, some might feel that you should either drop it or develop it a bit further. In the end, it's your piece, and until you get closer to the final bar line, you have time to figure out what you want to do with it. I'll often sit on an idea that feels under-developed for quite a while before I finally figure out how to make it great.
Yeah, I have the options of either coming back to it at the end or developing it more by throwing in some stuff from the second theme. I think the latter was what he was suggesting, and I also like that idea.
Also, what does everyone think of what I have so far?
I think you did a good job defining the two different moods and the second part evoked the imagery for me.
I'm not sure about the transition between the two parts. It sounds a little awkward to me.
Maybe fade the first part a little with less of the brass. Then use more of the higher bells gradually increasing velocity and give the heavy bell a more distant sound, then bring it closer as the scene begins to unfold to create excitement.
Anyway,that's what my ear is telling me but it's just an idea.
This is sounding great! It's already seeming to me that a live Concert Band could make a very effective performance with this material. The Coplandesque second half is very engaging.
The erudite comments you quoted from Robert Sheldon are ones I would echo, though I wouldn't be able to say it as well as he has.
The dark opening has a nice mood, but is sounding tacked on, with the transition into part two not really working for me. The effect is awkward.
If the opening was longer, and there was the sound of more struggle for the second half to establish itself - more of a melding of the two themes, then the second half would more organically grow out of the first. How? There would have to be a million different ways.
Thanks for the peek at your work-in-progress. I enjoyed it!
Very nice writing (and rendering) for band, Cransworth.
I'd agree with Mr. Sheldon the transition might be slightly
improved; though I did not find it poorly done, perhaps it
could be a little tighter, imply a little more preparation
for the forthcoming more energetic section.
I look forward to the completion of this, Cransworth;
what I've heard thus far is strong, able work that will
play very well with an audience and easily hold their