I have, for a long time, been primarily a song writer. I have written a fair amount of praise and worship songs, 5 children's musicals and the occasional choral work. So I am used to writing in song forms that usually last about 3 - 4 minutes.
Now I am working on my Lilly Endowment funded 1.5 year project that includes writing an approximately 45 minute orchestral work that will serve as a soundtrack for a DVD full of Indiana rural images.
I am using Finale with GPO as I compose - later I will do final rendering live in Digital Performer using EWQL Platinum Orchestra (and some GPO!). The DVD will have a number of sections - broad landscapes, macro work, some time lapse scenes, structures, funky yard art, cemeteries and headstones, etc. I have not laid out a sequence of images yet, but I know what is in my Aperture images library (15,000 +) - so in the back of my mind I know what I will be using.
This new writing process is a lot of fun for me, but I struggle at times to extend the movements. I am not used to developing themes for longer periods of times. Or doing many variations. Right now I have roughed out 4 "movements" or sections that last 5 - 7 minutes each. I will be revisiting the first section or two and do some variation work, I think. I believe I will end up with 7 or 8 sections and that should work well within the DVD.
I have a BME and MS in music, but never had a lot of training in orchestration. That is my weakness, but I am finding that my ears tell me what works. I do refer to other music as a guide - Ken-P's works and some film composers - James Horner, Mychael Danna, John Williams and Aaron Copland (met him once long ago - college choir concert with local symphony). Paul Gilreath's MIDI Orchestration text is great too.
Any of you made the transition from song writing to symphonic works?
Any words of wisdom?
btw - GPO is really a great product at such a low price - excellent work Gary and crew! Looking forward to the Steinway.