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Topic: Howard Hanson Symphony No. 3 for Wind Ensemble - Movement 3

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  1. #1

    Howard Hanson Symphony No. 3 for Wind Ensemble - Movement 3

    After a long hiatus, I've finally gotten back to working on the Hanson project (too many other music projects). This third movement was one tough piece of music to transcribe. Though it is the shortest in duration of the four movements of this symphony at just over five minutes, it has the most amount of measures, 429! I trimmed about a minute from the original. It's in a fast 3/8 Scherzando.

    One of the challenges in doing this transcription has been finding a substitute for the strings. Sometimes the woodwinds work and other times brass. There's a long section of lyrical strings in this piece that I chose to use the brass. I love a brass choir and though I wasn't sure this would work I think it did. Again, this is a Finale 2009 audio file, so the only mixing done is what I can get out of Finale...no time to put this through a DAW. I used Aria for most of the instruments and Concert/Marching Band for the saxes and euphonium.

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated (especially you, Michel) as I get started on finishing the last movement before sending this whole thing to the publisher.

    Gary A.

    http://www.box.net/shared/brce44ianr
    Serenity Musician Productions (Gary A.)

    Lenovo ThinksStation S30, Windows 10 Professional 64-bit, 20 gig ram, 2 terabyte hd., M-Audio Fast Track, Finale25, Sonar Professional

  2. #2

    Re: Howard Hanson Symphony No. 3 for Wind Ensemble - Movement 3

    That's a nice piece of music. From this, I would never have guessed it was composed in the USA in the '30s (I discovered that on the great Interwebz). The tonality and the rhythmical drive reminded me of Hindemith, a composer I admire.

    I understand your concern about the lyrical passage, but the brass works just fine (but I don't know the original). It tends to overpower the faster lines of the woodwinds, I can hear around 1:56, but not elsewhere. Perhaps it's the only place they occur? A good conductor should be able to get the balance right, anyway.

    A commendable work. Good arrangement, and thanks for bringing this composer to my attention.
    Theo

  3. #3
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    Re: Howard Hanson Symphony No. 3 for Wind Ensemble - Movement 3

    Hi Gary,
    I played one of Hanson's works in High School (55-58.)
    I Believe the title was ALLELUIA and it was on the Texas UIL
    list. I played it in college or the Navy. I don't remember.
    When I started teaching in 1964 there was a music publishing
    company named Hanson which primarily published choral music.

    I have used FINALE forever. When I try to bring out the woodwinds, I go to the mixer and adjust the brass down in the 40-55 range and woodwinds up to 100+ with the master volume as high as possible.
    I keep the mixer open and adjust volume by instruments so as to bring out a balanced sound.
    The tympani sounds malnourished. Maybe a lower note would project more.
    Nice work!

    Gary

  4. #4

    Re: Howard Hanson Symphony No. 3 for Wind Ensemble - Movement 3

    When you started this project I KNEW that this movement would turn out well. It's probably the movement that has the most potential for the translation to wind symphony.

    May I make a single "complaint"?

    During the Trio section (the lyrical part), I think the orchestration could use with a tiny bit of tweaking... I think it would benefit from a tiny bit more differentiation between the canonic entrances of the lyrical theme. Being all more or less "solid brass" sort of loses some of that subtle contrapuntal texture, and does have a TINY propensity toward "wall of sound".

    Still lovely. This, as I said earlier, is my favourite of Hanson's 7 symphonies.

  5. #5

    Interesting link(s)

    My ears didn't deceive me. Or at least, someone else's ears were fooled in the same way. I found this document discussing Hanson's composition system, and its similarities to Hindemith's Tonal System.

    I also found that our rich cousins of the VSL branch of the family also have an interest in Hanson. One of their best programmers (Jay Bacal, you should check out his rendition of the Sacre du Printemps) also did some pieces by Hanson. Check here and then click on Händel-Joplin.
    Theo

  6. #6

    Re: Howard Hanson Symphony No. 3 for Wind Ensemble - Movement 3

    Hanson is among my favored composers, and this is a piece
    I know quite well. I must say, you've done a really superb
    job on this, Gary.

    Bravo!

    The minor balance problems -- getting the woodwinds up
    in Finale -- you might try what I do. I make a separate
    set of markup expressions with the values set higher, for
    use with the winds... gives them a little more kick; yet
    remains correct on the page.

    Best,



    David
    -----
    David Sosnowski
    www.DavidSosnowski.com

  7. #7

    Re: Howard Hanson Symphony No. 3 for Wind Ensemble - Movement 3

    I want to thank all you who listened to this piece and for giving me lots of food for thought. I am glad you all liked it and I really appreciate the input and suggestions.

    First thing I'm going to do is to "tone down" the brass (again). I did try this before (like both David Sosnowski and Gary Mosse suggested), but it still wasn't enough. I really fought over trying to get the woodwinds to project more. Then again, Finale was not really intended to be used as a DAW anyway (though I'm still thrilled to hear what it does produce with Aria...only wish Aria was available for COMB). Anyway, I'm going to try different sets of brass instruments to both tone it down and to bring out the woodwinds more and get away from the "wall of sound" you mentioned, Michel. I haven't tried the brass from COMB yet, only GPO4 (because of Aria) so I will give that a try. If that doesn't work I may have to run it through the DAW I have and try it that way.

    I hesitate doing this but I did start reworking that whole passage substituting woodwinds instead of brass (and vice versa), but I haven't had a lot of time to get back to it. This would require a major rewrite, but I am trying to be faithful to what Howard Hanson originally wrote (I only wish I still had the score...had to send it back to Carl Fischer). Using woodwinds produces a very different sound, however it might be the way I will need to go in order for that passage to project a more lyrical quality.

    Thanks everyone!

    Gary A.
    Serenity Musician Productions (Gary A.)

    Lenovo ThinksStation S30, Windows 10 Professional 64-bit, 20 gig ram, 2 terabyte hd., M-Audio Fast Track, Finale25, Sonar Professional

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