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Topic: George Orwell's 1984: First 2 movements

  1. #1

    George Orwell's 1984: First 2 movements

    Hello all. Earlier I had posted the first of 3 movements that would make up an original marching band show inspired by George Orwell's book 1984. I have since finished the second movement (aside from filling in a few more measures of the mallet book) and am probably a week or so away from finishing the whole thing.

    One thing that became rapidly apparent to me as I finished the first movement and started in on the second was that I felt I was on to something really good. Some projects are hard work, some work out well, and every now and then you stumble upon something that really feels right. For me, this project was that. It started as something I just was inspired to write without having anybody lined up to perform it. The response I received on my site after just posting the opener was truly surprising. When it's completed, I am going to go back, expand upon a few ideas, and turn it into a single movement work for concert band.

    This was created in Finale 2008 utilizing samples from GPO, JABB, and CAMB. It is an original work for marching band that is now a commission for the Bloomington HS Band this fall. It may also be showing up in a couple other states as well, we'll see. Battery parts will be written by somebody else at a later date.

    1) The Negative Utopia
    This is the file I had posted before. Before, the opening mello solo didn't make a ton of sense without the context of the second movement. Hopefully this should clear most of that up. That opening solo is Winston's "creative" motive. The rest of the opener is rigid and militaristic, establishing life under Big Brother. There is no color on the field

    2) Winston's Secret
    The opening section is a brass quintet that leads into a trombone solo. This is where color starts to appear on the field. One of the things that struck me about the book was that in the beginning, when Winston starts writing a diary (something that he shouldn't be doing), he has been so beaten down by conformity that he has absolutely no idea what to write or how to be creative. I tried to recreate that with the awkwardness that pops up through the movement. Also, during the trombone solo, you will hear an extended awkward note. During that note, half the guard in the back of the field will toss their opener flags while everything on the field stops. This is a musical and visual reminder that creativity is not good and that you need to be watching over your shoulder that you don't get caught doing something you shouldn't be doing.

    The end of the ballad will bring out a rainbow-esq flag soloist during the final moments. What comes along in the third movement is Big Brother coming down hard. This is a good versus evil show where evil most definitely is going to win.

    I hope you enjoy it, I'm looking forward to finishing the closer and sharing a complete package with you soon.

  2. #2

    Cool Re: George Orwell's 1984: First 2 movements

    Exciting percussion in the first mov! Sophisticated like Frank Zappa would have done it!

    I've seen the movie with Richard Burton, dramatic choice for your musical pieces... exactly 33 seconds into the second mov, it sounds like the opening of one of the songs in Bowie's "Diamond Dogs" album called, ("Sweet thing").
    Correct me if I'm wrong!

    Thanks for sharing!


  3. #3

    Re: George Orwell's 1984: First 2 movements

    Diamond Dogs, eh? I know I have that album around here somewhere, but I have not listened to it. Completely coincidental if it does, although now I'm really inspired to go dig through the vinyl and find it...

  4. #4

    Re: George Orwell's 1984: First 2 movements

    You'll forgive me, Trimpe, we all have our specialites;
    marching band isn't one of mine, and I rarely listen
    to it; so it's practically another musical planet for me.

    But these are wonderful! I love the vitality of them
    when they get rolling; the sonorities and tenderness
    of the softer moments; and I appreciate the well
    built ensemble writing and thematic work quite a lot.

    Whether on the field or later if you choose to do a
    version for concert band, these are good listening!

    My best,


  5. #5

    Re: George Orwell's 1984: First 2 movements

    Thanks David, I appreciate it!

    I do indeed intend on making it into a concert piece. I'm looking at possibly having it be a commission for a university in honor of their new music building. I figure that to completely appreciate the value of creativity and music, one need only imagine a world without it.

  6. #6

    Re: George Orwell's 1984: First 2 movements

    I really miss the Strings, so I have never been big on Bands. I like the Cheerleaders, so does that count?

    I would like to see some guy carrying around his contrabass during halftime, maybe in a wagon he pushes in front of himself?

    The music though is very nice. Very full of energy and spice.


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