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Topic: Care to write that symphony again?

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  1. #1

    Care to write that symphony again?

    One of my very favorite composers is Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991). When Panufnik had to leave Poland because of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, he left behind all of his manuscripts. When he returned, he found that they had all been destroyed.

    Some of that work is lost forever, but Panufnik did something extraordinary. He reconstructed some of this work from memory. Notable among the pieces he reconstructed was his Tragic Overture (1942, lost 1944, reconstructed 1945, revised 1955). I own the score to this work and love it deeply. I can tell you it must have been a bear to rewrite, as there are heavy, complex harmonies and a lot of activity. We will never know for certain how accurate the reconstruction was, or even how accurate it was intended to be. But the thought of even making an attempt must have been daunting.

    So now I want you composers to imagine one of your best, big orchestral works suddenly vanishing. All printed copies, computer files, and recordings are destroyed. Would you attempt to reconstruct it? How close to the original do you think you could make it, and would accuracy be important to you?

    Personally, I don't think I would reconstruct anything, as tragic as the loss would feel to me. First of all, I don't think I could do it very well, even after hearing my own pieces hundreds of times. But I also think that the amount of effort it would take could be used to compose two or three new works in the same time. I'd probably use some of the more memorable ideas and motives if I could find a natural home for them in a new work, but accuracy would not be an issue in this case.

    What's your take?
    - Jamie Kowalski

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

  2. #2

    Re: Care to write that symphony again?

    I'm with you Jaimie.

    I could reconstruct my piano comositions because I can play
    them and that would help me reconstruct the notation, but
    as far as a 15 minute symphonic piece, no way.

    Unlike the old masters, we construct our works as we go along
    and don't think, at the time, about what is actually being written.
    I mean, we analyze what we are about to do, but when it is done,
    we carry on with our composing construction.

    Reconstructing the melodies and harmonies would probably not be
    so hard, but remembering what the WWs or Brass or Strings played,
    not to mention what ensemble combinations played, would be a
    daunting task.

    Interesting thread as I have thought of this many times.........

    I also think about composing for the piano. I am a pianist basically,
    and most of the time, I have to rehearse MY OWN works to be able
    to perform them correctly. Can you imagine?

    But, I have read the lives of many composers and Aaron Copland had
    this same problem. So, I'm not alone.....

    Jack
    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.

  3. #3

    Re: Care to write that symphony again?

    My pieces weren't worth the effort they took to write the first time. I'm certainly not going to write them twice.
    "An artist is someone who produces things that people don't need to have, but that he - for some reason - thinks it would be a good idea to give them."

    - Andy Warhol

  4. #4

    Re: Care to write that symphony again?

    I don't think I've written anything that's 15 minutes long... but even so, I'm not sure if I would take the time. I tend to agree that the time could be better spent continuing to create, and chances are what I do remember will eventually find its way into something new. If it's something really old that nobody ever really heard, I'd probably look at it as an opportunity.

  5. #5

    Re: Care to write that symphony again?

    Quote Originally Posted by Skysaw View Post
    But I also think that the amount of effort it would take could be used to compose two or three new works in the same time. I'd probably use some of the more memorable ideas and motives if I could find a natural home for them in a new work, but accuracy would not be an issue in this case.
    As Edna Mode from The Incredibles said, "I never look back darling, it distracts from the now."

    I have lost some pieces due to computer crashes or software crashes, and, though I might reuse some melodies that stay stuck in my head, I won't attempt to reconstruct entire pieces, even if I know them well. I'd rather spend the time writing something new, something I've never heard before, which would be more interesting to me, and would be worth more to me.
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  6. #6

    Re: Care to write that symphony again?

    I hate to say I have dealt with a system crash before, and am currently in the process of rewriting it. The only thing I have to go by (which ismore than you proposed here), is an mp3 recording from my previous life. It was one of the first orchestral compositions I completed nearly 4 years ago, when I was a youngling. There'
    s a lot structurally I want to change about it, but I am doing my best to leave it as it's original creation...very tempting.

    Here's how its going. I have most of the notes and such, but there's some reprogramming, and the computer doesn't have enough memory for the heavy orchestration, so I may have to section it.

    Original recording - http://www.box.net/shared/35oaw43s48 (way too wet)

    Dream Awakening Re-creation - http://www.box.net/shared/r00y8nnk85


    BTW. I do agree that the time could be better spent, but I heard of people wanting to buy it, which is relatively impossible if I don't have the original score.
    Yours Truly,
    TubaJediMaster
    May the Fourth Be With You

    My demos:
    http://www.box.net/shared/ejtluyupfb

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