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Topic: Serenade for Karen Friedman

  1. #1

    Serenade for Karen Friedman

    Here is an orchestral piece I wrote that I kindly ask for feedback on. In particular I am looking for musical and notational feedback, rather than "sonic" (how to use Garritan more effectively). Any comments about the orchestration, themes, pacing/form, etc. are welcome.

    And if you don't have time to listen to the whole thing, it's fine if you pick one movement and comment on that. The movements are quite self-contained.

    This was written for a woman named Karen Friedman who every day speaks effortlessly with eloquence and poetry. She inspired me to create some art.

    This is the first orchestral work I have completed (there are several incomplete ones floating around). The piece took about 90 hours of work over the past three months. It incorporates musical ideas from many eras, primarily classical and impressionist.

    First movement: molto allegro

    Second movement: adagio

    Third movement: allegro, andante

  2. #2

    Re: Serenade for Karen Friedman

    Hello Luke,

    Good to see you in here!

    Unfortunately, you can't control responses or critiques. I hope my past review was at least encouraging and friendly.

    I'm sure you will get many replies here from all different view points.
    Here is mine from YC.

    First movement:
    Wow, this is very impressive!
    Extremely well thought out themes; and well executed; perfect orchestration and clear sections.
    This really is amazing - I don't know your background but you have a great talent.
    ...The second section sounded more coloristic and the first and third more formal/classical. Your grasp of the orchestra is beautiful. Your creative spectrum is near romanticism ...
    ... I would demand a live performance soon!"
    __________________________________________________ _____________

    I know you also wanted more information on improving your score; but that's not my "thing". I know how frustrating and painstaking it is to complete a score and to feel satisfied.

    I studied with a music professor and local composer here in Phoenix privately. My scores are much, much better now For me, it is about hearing and focusing on one voice and learning form it, than many different opinions.

    Again, glad to see you here. Hope you will post more of your great music soon.

    "...Wiktor's a Jekyll-Hyde personality..." - Lycos Music

  3. #3

    Re: Serenade for Karen Friedman

    Wonderful! I hesitate to comment too much because I think I need another couple of times through to catch everything. But my initial reaction is that the themes are well related between movements and each movement is also planned well.

    I do question the difficulty of some parts like the trombone 1 "lick" in the first movement. Let's just say I'd sweat bullets if I had to play it in a concert

    I think overall though it's a very engaging piece and I hope you get a live performance of it someday.

    Edit: You said you were looking for notational help as well. One simple thing that's standard is I believe you need to show the entire instrumentation on the first stave of the first page. It was also a bit confusing at times to distinguish the divisi of some parts. For example some of the brass and strings had a particular label on the staff but were divisi which would indicate an additional part even though the staff name didn't indicate a 2nd part (Hope that's clear). I know there are some "rules" to make Human playback work properly in Finale so maybe that plays into how the score looks. Anyway if you look at some published scores and study them with a notational point of view I bet you could whip it into shape with not too much difficulty.

    Steve Winkler

  4. #4

    Re: Serenade for Karen Friedman

    A very warm welcome to the forum, Luke!

    Sonically, clearly, you are no stranger to the art, as this
    is rendered quite, quite well... a pleasure.

    As far as your scores, please forgive my old eyes for
    looking at them only briefly -- necessarily due to the
    detail and density, it's difficult for me to look at more
    than small sections, closely.

    In general:


    Neatness counts... a little more attentiont to placement
    in mark-up -- especially avoidance of "interferences": for
    instance, where markup collides with note stems.


    This is a personal preference; but one which many con-
    ductors will likewise voice: For a "conductor's" or even
    for a "study" score, I strongly dislike "optimized" score.
    Even if only a few parts are sounding, use the full form,
    all instruments shown, all pages. Save the "optimization"
    for such a time as an unduly frugal publisher wants to
    skin a few nickels off his costs by saving paper.


    Detail. The Four Horsemen of Performance (tempi,
    phrasing, dynamics, articulation) are likewise the guides
    of good scoring. While I would say the detailing of your
    work is adequate, I would encourage you to take this
    further... especially in concern with hairpinning and
    phrasing. Assuming a conductor or performer will just
    "know what you mean" or falling back on "basic musician-
    ship and practice" are among the most dangerous errors
    a writer can make.

    To the writing, Luke, I must add only applause. This
    is very well thought out and executed; well orchestrated;
    original; and cogently framed, paced, and developed.

    Superbly done, and I am looking forward to hearing much
    more from you!

    All my best,


  5. #5

    Re: Serenade for Karen Friedman

    wow...just one post in this forum and then presentating such a mature composition. welcome luqui!

    I listended to the adagio and highly enjoyed it. I really like that composition style. space and expression. these two words came to my mind. all very well balanced. and wonderful harmonies and melody lines. loved it.

    If you're asking for improvement using gpo as a tool, that's always the same: ride the mod wheel as often as you can. concerning the string ensembles there are partially too static volumes. always think in curves/bows/exhales articulating each tone and realize that via the mod wheel. but these are only nitpicks in the face of your composition skills. another thing: i would exchange the solo strings with other samples, if you have. soundwise they are the fewest convincing part of the mock-up. the woodwinds although sound quite good.

    listening again....

  6. #6

    Re: Serenade for Karen Friedman

    Impressive beginning Luke.

    I get the feeling in a lot of places that you
    like Bach a lot. A lot of your melodic lines
    are formulated around his style.

    You have a good grasp of how to use the
    instruments and for your first orchestral
    endeavor, you have done a marvelous

    Keep writing (and sending us your results).

    BRAVO, Luke

    Jack Cannon--MacBook Pro (2015, 13") GPO4/5, JABB3, Auth. STEINWAY, YAMAHA CFX, Gofriller CELLO, Stradivari VIOLIN, COMB2, WORLD, HARPS, PIPE ORGANS, FINALE 25.5, DORICO 1.2.10, Mac Pro 2.66 GHz CPU, 8 GB RAM, DP 9.51, MOTU Traveler, MOTU Micro Express, MacBook Pro (2012, 13") 2.2 Ghz CPU, 8 GB RAM.

  7. #7

    Re: Serenade for Karen Friedman

    Thank you everyone for your comments. David especially, thank you for your encouraging words and very helpful feedback! I expect to spend quite some time exercising meticulousness and pedantry in the annotation of this score. I'll post again after this thought and work, hopefully for some yet more advanced technical feedback.

    Jack, you're partially incorrect :-). I do like Bach a lot, but he appears quite far down in my list of influences, which begins: Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Terry Riley, Stravinsky, ...

  8. #8

    Re: Serenade for Karen Friedman


    First off, for just 90 hours this sounds great and for a first jab at a Symphony, you have every right to be proud. Keep this in mind, as you progress in your composing, you will probably get better.

    I have listened to all 3 this week, just never all together. I may not get the chance in the next 5 weeks to listen all the way thru, but as you said, each piece does stand alone very well.

    The themes in this stand out and I think you varied them nicely as well. I have nothing bad I can say about any of this..
    Well done


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