My fisrt impressions are: many repeated notes, hazardous counterpoint, complicated writing, difficulties for the listener (I mean: me, of course) to follow too many ideas. A good thing would have been simpler and fewer ideas, thus more easy to follow through the entire piece, and also more suitable for different characterizations and moods throughout the piece. When I heard the first pizzicato note, I thought someone had just opened a bottle of good wine, sorry to say this, it's probably because I'm French! I liked best the last part of the song, after these dramatic interrogative chords, actually Haydn-esque, when the tempo slows, and a more comprehensible melodic climate develops.
In general, since you wanted to write in the classical style, and since we speak of Haydn quartets, the first of the great masters of this form, I find that we do not really feel for dialogue between four instruments here. That's what classical string quartets are: four people talking to each other, reacting to statements by other, continuously. I think you should consider this in your writing, the same way that Mozart certainly thought of opera characters by writing the melodies of his non operatic works.
I realize you've made a real work of writing in this piece. Can I ask you a question: how do you compose? Do you write all the work directly on the computer, or do you write first the whole work only with a sheet of music paper and a pencil (and perhaps with the help of a piano), and next you type it in your daw when it's almost all finished? What I heard gave me the impression that you work the first way. If I'm right, try the other way, I'm sure you'll see the difference.
Gerd, I did not intend to hurt you, I told you what I thought and I think that's what you expected, rather than someone who exclaims that's fine, outstanding, I love, but offers no constructive comment.
thank you for your remarks, but I must admit that I don't understand them. You speak of
"many repeated notes, hazardous counterpoint, complicated writing, difficulties for the listener to follow too many ideas..."
I don't think that the piece is too complicated and has too many ideas. The exposition is very clearly structured and has some - as I think - very melodious themes, the development is based only on the first few notes of the main theme and is developed together with some simple counterpoint ideas. The recapitulation corresponds to the exposition with a supplementary development of the second theme in Ab-minor. In what way is the counterpoint - as you say - "hazardous"? Maybe you should listen to the piece a few more times, thank you.
Furthermore to answer your question regarding my way of composing:
First I "hear" the basic melodic lines in my mind. This then I edit into the computer and work out the details. Why would it be better to write every thing down on paper first?
Well, I've listened to the piece a few more times, as you advised me to do, and you're right: I shouldn't have used those words, hazardous counterpoint, complicated writing, too many ideas. I wrote that too fast, sorry, I apologize.
Regarding my impression of a complicated writing, maybe I felt that way because of certain measures containing sixteenth notes, like this short bridge in measures 34 and 35 leading to D flat-major, or at measures 150 and 151. These sixteenth notes seem to be there because we need a bridge there. It would be nice building bridges that are not only bridges, but also have some meaning. The B minor episode at measure 70 begins well. At measure 170, an espressivo episode in Ab-minor evolves into some fugue form in a very interesting way until measure 183. At 184, the cello part begins sounding odd to me (from 184 to 186 included). And... And... I am perceiving that it is late (in Darmstadt too, I guess) and I work tomorrow! In fact, it takes some time for me to write in English, even with Google traduction help. Please, let me know if you want me (or not) to review in details what I liked best and what I liked less in your piece. I do not pretend to possess the truth, these are my feelings, that's all.
Regarding composing tools: I think when one writes with only a sheet of paper and a pencil, the mind is freer. The ideas fall into place faster and more naturally, because we are not disturbed by the manipulations of the computer interface. Also, we do not run the risk of losing a good idea or an interesting mood because of problems in using the software. Finally, the sounds of the sound bank can also disrupt the inner listening and guide us even without our knowledge.
What would interest me even more is what you think of this, which I once presented in this forum (it is based on the latest sketches from Beethoven for a planned string quintett):
Pretty good quartet. The GPO instruments don't always do there best in a string quartet setting - there were times I was hearing the sound instead of the music.
To my ear the slow section seemed a little out of place. If there was a slow introduction a slower section at the end would be OK but I can't think of any classical era pieces (I'm admittedly not an expert) that has a slow section at the end of a fast movement like this.
Over all, though, I enjoyed it.
I don't write with paper and pencil enough, but I almost always notice a great improvement when I do. I can see the music better on paper than on the computer screen. I think that since there is more work involved my mind works harder to ensure it is correct. Even if I do simple counterpoint exercises I make about 1/10 the number of mistakes on paper when compared to using the computer.That being said, I don't write on paper nearly enough... Anyway, just my experience on the matter.
Trent P. McDonald