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Topic: Firefly Etudes (Garritan Steinway) - JAMIE KOWALSKI

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  1. #1

    Firefly Etudes (Garritan Steinway) - JAMIE KOWALSKI

    Here is the complete set of five etudes I've been working on, a couple of which have been posted under different titles on these forms. The mp3 is the complete set as one file (7 minutes), and the pdf file is included for your printout for performance or study if desired.

    Firefly Etudes (Five Etudes For Piano)
    Audio - mp3
    Performance Score - pdf

    Each of these tiny works has its own little set of performance problems to resolve, as well as a few tests for any sample library where the Garritan Steinway really shined.

    Etude #1 puts sustain and sympathetic resonance to the test, since much of it is performed with full sustain pedal, and there are points where the pedal is lifted to expose a held chord. It is also quite a finger- and brain-twister to play up to tempo.

    Etude #2 calls for good balance between the extremes of the registers, and especially crisp delicate higher notes.

    Etude #3 is all about simple legato lines, concentrating mostly in the middle register. There is a lot of cross-hand technique as well as passing a melody back and forth between hands.

    Etude #4 is extremely delicate and chorale-like, and again concentrates on extremes of register, especially paying attention to keeping the left hand from overpowering the right.

    Etude #5 is about dexterity, and has more cross-hand demands. For the Garritan Steinway, I think this shows off the sound of short staccato notes very well.

    Along with compositional and mastering points, I'd be very interested in hearing feedback on the notation on this set, as there were some very difficult decisions to make in that regard, and I've tried as much as possible to make everything as clear to the performer as I can.

    Thank you in advance for your feedback.
    Last edited by Skysaw; 04-30-2008 at 08:09 PM. Reason: New version of pdf file uploaded 4/30
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  2. #2

    Re: Firefly Etudes (Garritan Steinway) - JAMIE KOWALSKI



    I listened and followed the score. #3 and #4 absolutely held me! I didn't read for the copy. (I used to be a copyist, and might make notes . . . but the music and the techniques they demand overpowered my "red pencil" obsession!).

    The melodic content is incredibly strong in these etudes. In my second listen my "inner ears" were stealing lines - parts of the first etude as introduction, the others orchestrated in numerous ways.

    You've captured me with these etudes the way Klose brought me in when I was woodshedding on Clarinet. In those days, though, the challenge was to find the melodic content through interpretation; in this case it jumps right out.

    Nicely done, and (of course!) yet another "kudo" for the Steinway.

    Thank you for asking for input - but there's nothing I'd change.


    Joe

  3. #3

    Re: Firefly Etudes (Garritan Steinway) - JAMIE KOWALSKI

    Hi Jamie,

    I was again delighted to hear your little miniatures. One can say it all in just a handful of notes cleverly put together...
    I printed out the score and had my first reading and playing. Quite an adventure...

    From the player's point of view there are two things that imo could make the reading easier, especially for the first time:

    1. Since this isn't written in any key, I would suggest notating all the accidentals in a bar, even if they were already notated with a previous note. This is especially needed in etude # 1.
    2. The third stave in some of the etudes is there for clearness of the structure, but it is a brain and eye teaser. Since these voices are not very complex I would suggest using only two staves with stems up or down for each voice.

    Thanks for posting all the etudes and for the PDF!

    Yudit

  4. #4
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    Re: Firefly Etudes (Garritan Steinway) - JAMIE KOWALSKI

    Hi Jamie,

    I enjoyed your etudes. I followed along with the score but really don’t have too many comments on it except to say that it is very clean looking – my scores are really jumbled up and hard to read.
    Trent P. McDonald

  5. #5

    Re: Firefly Etudes (Garritan Steinway) - JAMIE KOWALSKI

    Jamie,

    I want to congratulate you on a superb set of études. I was completely captivated from the first note. They are simply adorable, I want to almost say «cute», not taking away the serious nature of the technical difficulties each presents. Fantastic work on this, also on the rendering with the new Steinway, it sounds exquisite. Thank you.
    Kind Regards

    Louis Dekker
    My Music Site

    Pour être grand, il faut avoir été petit.

  6. #6

    Re: Firefly Etudes (Garritan Steinway) - JAMIE KOWALSKI

    Jamie:

    Well thought-out etudes and good study material
    for all pianists. The Steinway really shines here.

    Thanks for some educational materials that can
    enhance performance techniques of today's contemporary
    piano music.

    Jack


    P.S. Love your method of employing "Stones" examples
    of entered "time signatures" (pp. 178-180). They are so
    unencumbering and easy to read.
    Jack Cannon--MacBook Pro (2015, 13") GPO4/5, JABB3, Auth. STEINWAY, YAMAHA CFX, Gofriller CELLO, Stradivari VIOLIN, COMB2, WORLD, HARPS, PIPE ORGANS, FINALE 2014.5, Mac Pro 2.66 GHz CPU, 8 GB RAM, DP 9.5, MOTU Traveler, MOTU Micro Express, MacBook Pro (2012, 13") 2.2 Ghz CPU, 8 GB RAM.

  7. #7

    Re: Firefly Etudes (Garritan Steinway) - JAMIE KOWALSKI

    Quote Originally Posted by jmpaquette View Post


    I listened and followed the score. #3 and #4 absolutely held me! I didn't read for the copy. (I used to be a copyist, and might make notes . . . but the music and the techniques they demand overpowered my "red pencil" obsession!).
    Joe,

    I greatly appreciate the comments. I'm glad you liked the pieces, and appreciate that you spared them the red pencil! (Although it would have been perfectly fine, since I requested it. )

    The melodic content is incredibly strong in these etudes. In my second listen my "inner ears" were stealing lines - parts of the first etude as introduction, the others orchestrated in numerous ways.

    You've captured me with these etudes the way Klose brought me in when I was woodshedding on Clarinet. In those days, though, the challenge was to find the melodic content through interpretation; in this case it jumps right out.
    I know nothing of Klose and only slightly more about clarinet literature, though I get your meaning through the context. I'm not sure how easy it is to spot the melodic content on the page, but I think it does work once you start hearing the notes. Some years ago a fellow composer once told me "Your music is a lot less boring in real life than on paper." LOL! What a twisted compliment! Of course he was a little twisted in the first place, so I appreciated what he was saying.

    Nicely done, and (of course!) yet another "kudo" for the Steinway.

    Thank you for asking for input - but there's nothing I'd change.
    Thanks Joe. And if you do happen to pull out the red pencil on this one later, let me know!
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  8. #8

    Re: Firefly Etudes (Garritan Steinway) - JAMIE KOWALSKI

    Quote Originally Posted by sunbird View Post
    Hi Jamie,

    I was again delighted to hear your little miniatures. One can say it all in just a handful of notes cleverly put together...
    I printed out the score and had my first reading and playing. Quite an adventure...
    Thank you, Yudit. I'm glad you took on the adventure. It's very interesting to hear from a performer's perspective. I am a pianist, but not so accomplished that I don't find these really rather difficult to play.

    From the player's point of view there are two things that imo could make the reading easier, especially for the first time:

    1. Since this isn't written in any key, I would suggest notating all the accidentals in a bar, even if they were already notated with a previous note. This is especially needed in etude # 1.
    Thank you for the suggestion. I do understand that keeping the accidentals straight for that first movement is slightly burdensome. The version you've looked at represents about the 5th generation of respelling and renotation for that etude (Many of my pieces are rife with spelling difficulties). I took another hard look at this section this morning after reading your comment, and have found a few sections that I've marked up to make it clearer on my hard copy.

    I don't want to go for too many repetitions of symbols or I'm afraid of getting stuck in Stockhausen-style notation, which I find ugly and cumbersome. The danger as I see it is notating just enough that way that people assume the entire piece is in that notational style, and I have to either convert entirely, or run the risk of having a non-repeated sharp or flat interpreted incorrectly as a natural. Still, adding in a few more cautionaries may help, so I appreciate this idea.


    2. The third stave in some of the etudes is there for clearness of the structure, but it is a brain and eye teaser. Since these voices are not very complex I would suggest using only two staves with stems up or down for each voice.
    Thank you also for this. I had already cut down on them quite a bit, and will probably be able to remove almost all of them, I think. The only one where I will certainly still run into stemming issues is at the last three bars of #4.

    By the way, do you find the cross-staff beaming on page 7 to be a distraction? Without it, I have a lot of trouble clearly showing the rhythmic relations, but I don't want it to add to the confusion.[/quote]

    Thanks for posting all the etudes and for the PDF!
    And thank you very much for the comments and suggestions. I'll try to post an updated score this evening.
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  9. #9

    Re: Firefly Etudes (Garritan Steinway) - JAMIE KOWALSKI

    Jamie,

    Just delicately exquisite stuff. You exhibit such a deft touch on the instrument and with the thought process behind the notes.

    This style of composition -- so exposed and airy -- really sets the Steinway sonically apart from other sampled piano libraries I've heard. I'm all bruised from kicking myself for not ordering it during the Go Round sale (next time!), and pieces such as this really do accentuate what I'm missing.

    Terrific performance of a terrific piece on a wonderful instrument. Bravo!

    Danny

  10. #10

    Re: Firefly Etudes (Garritan Steinway) - JAMIE KOWALSKI

    Listened to all of them while reading the score. Sublime!!! Maybe the first one a tiny bit too much pedals, but that is just a thought. At least it makes a comprehensive soundcluster with those pedals. The second part of #1 without those pedals all over, sound a bit better for my ears. Listening to it the second time. Still sublime!!!

    Raymond

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