Hi everyone, hope you don't mind if I post something before my other post is off the first page -- I may be away for awhile -- I was informed today that my Mom is dying (she is 2000 miles away, so I have to fly out soon). I'm her only child, and want to be with her when she dies if I can. And then, there are all the details -- financials, funeral, etc, etc. So, I don't know when I will re-appear....
Thanks for listening, and for your friendship.
ps neither of these is really complete. The second is the beginning of an attempt at a "real" symphony -- ie, using the traditional development methods and forms... just a start. But as usual, I find myself breaking into my typical wildness about 30 seconds from the (current) end...
Top flight, world class writing. I especially like the "Samuel Barberesque" strings in the "Chanson Triste" but all of your orchestration is handled masterfully. I truly hope you get some live performances because this is GOOD music and needs to be heard.
Very nice work on these, Karen, especially bearing in mind
that these are roughs.
The symphonic movement I found particularly worthwhile.
I wonder, though, if this material might be asking you to
consider a non-traditional structure. To me, this single
"movement" contains elements of 2nd, 1st, and 3rd
movements if considered in more standard structural
Perhaps you might consider developing this as a single-
movement or two-movement symphony. Until the end
of the Romantic and into the Impressionistic periods,
four movements were considered essential; and this is
still more or less the case; but thereafter, there is also
more than ample precedent in the symphonic literature
for anything from one movement (notably, Barber Op. 9;
Sibelius #7 Op. 105 -- both of which might serve as
superb models) to many more than four (Hovhaness #9,
for instance, in twenty-four movements!).
David -- I am thinking, based on your comments, to leave it as it is, a very short symphony. I had been musing over a second movement (the Chanson Triste was not intended to be part of this necessarily), and hadn't come up with any inspirations. I pretty much like it as it is, maybe with some poilshing. I'll bring it to Ofer Ben-Amots and get his input on this, too, maybe bring a copy of this thread and your notes about symphonic form.
Steve, well perhaps someday it might be performed... that would be lovely. I have started writing all symphonic works to the instrumentation of the modern "full symphony" as Mike G. described it to me(2+pic/2/2+bc/2 -- 4(or 2)/3/3/1 -- timp+3 and strings with optional piano and/or harp) so they might be more likely to be played... this piece is pretty well put together, I think, but it was primarily an exercise in writing with more form and technique.... next step, I think, is to explore more modern harmonies, a process I started before this and the Requiem, etc. Then, I hope, I can unite the forms and what I have/will learn about harmony into a new work with a new voice.... just my thoughts.
Thanks again everyone for your kind and helpful feedback.
Beautiful work, Karen, full of emotion. Your woodwind writing, in particular, is just outstanding in these. I read through the other comments briefly (never as thoroughly as I should) and I would give some consideration to David's thoughts, if you haven't done so already -- just for the sake of flow and continuity to your work.
Thank you so much for listening and for your kind comments.
Yes, I may just leave the first movement as a mini-symphony (is there a word for that?) in and of itself. I am so busy that it seems to be in the cards that I leave it alone (except for a little cleanup whenever I get to it) and the comments here support that. And yes, I always consider everything people on the forum suggest, especially from those who have taken so much time to encourage, inspire, and mentor me. You all know who you are. I feel very lucky to have such talented composers as you all giving me advice.
About a week or so ago, I had a gestalt. Out of the blue, after all the self-doubt, and indeed, doubt from others (who probably hadn't actually listened to my music much if at all I suspect), I suddenly knew I really am a composer. I can't explain the feeling, it wasn't intellectual -- rather a kind of holistic comfortable-in-my-"composer"-skin feeling that I had never had before. What a liberating feeling! It wasn't the kind of thing that changes the fact that I have much, much to learn -- for I know music, as most any endeavor, is a life-long learning process -- but suddenly, I felt as comfortable calling myself a composer as I used to feel calling myself a software engineer (which is what I did for 14 years as you may already know).
Three amusing stories:
1. "Classical Fusion" LOL!
I remember walking into a local classical radio station, on the advice of a friend, to give them a CD of my music. This was a couple years ago now. I was dressed in my usual bohemian-gypsy-retro-hippie type style. The guy at the desk, a locally prominent music commentator, asked me what kind of music I write. I was at a loss to categorize it, so I fumbled out "um... classical fusion", thinking of my use of different styles, and also some influences from the world of rock and folk music. He looked at me very skeptically. "Classical fusion?" he almost sneered. LOL!
2. Faking it
One day I was giving my business card to a few music professionals in a choir I was in. One woman said to me "Oh, 'fake it til you make it, huh?'". I just replied with a smile, "yeah, something like that" and moved on. I was, thankfully past the point where I felt I needed to argue with such attitudes. But it did hurt. If she had actually listened to the music, and then offered the opinion that I was "faking it" then I would have asked her reasons and considered them.
3. The "grace" of the church
I have been ignored by two of my own churches (churches I attended and with whom I sang in the choir) in my offers to write pieces for them, to their specifications, free of charge -- after initial encouragement, suddenly dead silence -- I mean not even the courtesy of a No thank you. That was really hard, because one would think that a church would be most open to encouraging one of its members. But I have found it to be the opposite, at least in those two instances. I can understand no response from an organization that doesn't know me, but those really hurt. However, luckily, it didn't destroy my confidence. Tom, the local conductor with whom I met last April, said he had seen that before in churches and had his opinions on why that happens (and it wasn’t all that complimentary). That comforted me a lot.
Thoughts on professionalism:
I consider myself to be a professional in attitude at least -- which means, in part, that I don't get offended when my work is not chosen for performance. I understand there are many reasons for that in addition to quality issues. I graciously thank the conductor (or whoever) for taking the time to listen and leave the door open for future possibilities. It takes time and effort to listen and respond, and that deserves a thanks (at least). Likewise, a composer who takes the time and expense to burn a CD, write notes, print scores, etc. deserves some kind of response. I generally ask if I may send a package of my work first also -- another courtesy. And frankly, if they say yes, I do expect them to listen to it. I would rather hear No otherwise – it saves me time, effort, and money.
I also have realized that I do not need to deal with people or organizations which act on invalid assumptions or act "unprofessionally" -- ie, without common courtesy -- and this seems, I am finding, to have very little to do with whether they are paid musicians or not, but more with character, good will, and communication skills. So, the way I feel right now, childish as it might be, is that I probably won't deal with these people in the future at all, even if I were asked. Because as Dave S. once told me, it is our responsibility as musicians and composers to encourage people in their music (I forget his exact words but that is my understanding of it) -- just comes with the territory -- like the movie "Pay it Forward". Those who don't do that, or who act destructively without first getting more info (ie, make assumptions) to me have not matured as professional musicians, regardless of their position. I have learned a lesson from that and I hope and pray that I never act that way with anyone who aspires to write music.
Gratitude to the folks on this forum, and others, who have listened, encouraged, mentored, and taught both me and many others:
I give much of the credit for my being able to retain my confidence in the face of these sorts of things to the folks on the forum who have taken the time (and I know how precious that is) to encourage and help me grow as a composer. I never take that for granted. It is a most precious gift.
********************************* Wow! that turned into a long monologue!!!