Hi folks, it's good to be back. I wrote a bunch about why I’ve been away so long, but due to a computer glitch I lost it. Suffice to say I missed you all.
Below is something I’m working on – I included my composition teacher’s comments as you might find them-- as I always have-- instructive. Aside from the slump I’ve been in after my mom’s death, I think another part of the reason for the long silence is that I am going through changes musically (albeit gradually and not without some struggle) and that results in a necessary but uncomfortable confusion for awhile, which I am still enduring and probably will be for some time to come.
http://soundclick.com/share?songid=7358220 Piano verion
http://soundclick.com/share?songid=7358234 Orchestral verion – very rough work in progress
Words adapted from Phillip Vellacott's translation of Euripides' play "Medea"
Dear Sons, why do you stare at me so? You smile at me your last smile -- why? Oh, what am I to do? My courage is all gone! Their young, bright faces! Their young, bright faces! I can't -- I can't do this thing!
What is the matter with me? Are my enemies to laugh at me? Medea, steel yourself, steel yourself to do the deed. Boys, go indoors. Now! Go!
Oh my heart, don't do it! Oh! Miserable heart, let them be! We'll live together safely in Athens -- think how happy we'll be!
No! But no! By all the fiends of hate in hell, no! Come, my accursed hand and take your sword! Forget forever they were once your sons! Forget that of this body they were born and steel yourself to take your sword, your sword, and do --- the deed!
Ofer (Ben-Amots’] comments:
Thank you, Karen. I took only a brief glance at the song and I have both
praise and some comments to you. It is a good draft and we can talk about
it when I return from Europe. Regarding the melodic line: It is very
dramatic and well suited to the text. hHowever, If you have a chance
please study the abilities and possibilities of the soprano range. Ask
yourself if the words and vowels you choose for the very high notes are at
all possible or audible. A great book for instrumentation would be Andrew
Stiller's Handbook of Instrumentation. This should be every composer's
bible when using any instrument (including the voice)
Give yourself a nice New Year present in the form of either the book of
the CD-ROM. Take a look at: http://www.kallistimusic.com/catalog.html
The accompaniment is a bit more problematic. While its character is very
suitable it goes into a routine which is too long and too repetitive. Try
to discover the many different "faces" of the text and the melody you
wrote and build your piano accompaniment accordingly.
All the best wishes to you for an amazing new year!
Hope you have a great trip to Europe. I assume you are going for a performance of one of your pieces.... may it go splendidly!
Some more questions/notes -- which can wait for the next meeting ---
I'll re-work the piano part; i admit I did not put as much care into it as into the melody. As for the soprano range, I consulted Wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soprano#Coloratura_soprano (it lists all the types of soprano, and it seems the range of this is within the range of many types of soprano (I am assuming a semi-professional at least -- I can sing it (not exceptionally well though) for the most part, and with practice, the rest will come, so I figure if I can sing it, there are plenty of others who can do it and do it much better?)
I'll re-visit the vowel sounds, though. That seems to be a complex issue -- with vowel modification, the note might be able to be sung, but the word may or may not be understood. But if there are enough contextual clues and/or other parts of the word in question in the vocal line, then it might be OK. I'll look at it again and consider all these things. (BTW, before I was a music school dropout, I was a voice major....)
I do have a question about the repetition, though -- is it the repeating "pounding" bass or something else? And, I have always thought that some repetition helps hold the audiences attention and give form to a piece -- perhaps you could, next time, tell me more about your thoughts on that issue?
All my best to you!