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Topic: Complete "Petite symphonie" (Little Symphony)

  1. #1

    Complete "Petite symphonie" (Little Symphony)

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  2. #2

    Re: Complete "Petite symphonie" (Little Symphony)


    Yippee! I’m the first to get to reply. I never get to do that.
    Really excellent orchestration here. I particularly liked how you did the “Variation” movement
    I was wondering how you were going to orchestrate the left hand in the Promenade. I think your choice of string pizz. was perfect.

    I agree with you that you need to add a percussionist, but not in the Adagio. The center portion of the Promenade, the subito f section, needs some accent reinforcement, at least I hear it begging for some.

    The Variation moment could benefit from the addition the most, as you said.

    The use of the harp glissandi in the quiet arpeggiated variation was well done and not over used. I really liked the pf notes toward the end of the movement, very effective.

    The only thing that bothered me on this particular movement, and I’ve now listened to it several times, are the Portentous chords which usher in the final variation. As it quickens in tempo, the chords are all “mushed” together. In my ear, they should be of shorter duration and marked as to make the “heralding in” of the final variation more effective. When you repeat these same chords at the end however, just before the codetta, the slurred articulation works. I wouldn’t change that.

    And yes, you need to add this to your catalog, it’s would be a very accomplished and satisfying addition to anyone’s catalog.

    My Best,


    PS Michel, you seem to orchestrate with such ease and command, I would like to know your experience and training in this venue. Thanks

  3. #3

    Re: Complete "Petite symphonie" (Little Symphony)


    Definitely a percussionist or two in the final movement. I hear battery type percussion sounds as well as mallet sounds (xylophone glisses in the final movement for sure). Anyway brilliant job. Sounds like things were just flowing effortlessly for you on this one and captivated your imagination enough to rob you of sleep

    I would think this piece would be appealing for an orchestra to play because of it's length and accessibility and the forces required are very modest. I would even venture to guess a good student orchestra or youth orchestra could manage it. At any rate I do hope you can get a reading and/or performance of this. It's very good as are all your works.
    Steve Winkler GPO4 JAAB3 Finale 2012 Reaper Windows 7 Pro 64-bit VSL SE+

  4. #4

    Re: Complete "Petite symphonie" (Little Symphony)

    Thanks Cass and Steve.

    I've actually been working on some minor modifications... I've now linked the movements a little bit, for example, a solo french horn note holds through the last chord of the first movement, and into the first chords of the 2nd movement.

    I actually like it as a "single-movement divided into three parts".

    I haven't linked the 2nd and 3rd movements yet, however. I think there needs to be a (brief) pause before the horns blare out "J'Ai du bon tabac" in 4-part unison. So I'm adding "attacca" as an indication at the end of the 2nd movement.

    I am probably going to back off the idea of adding percussion. Or at least, put it on hold for a little while. But I'll post the new "one-movement" version of the piece soon. After all, it's only six minutes long.

  5. #5

    Re: Complete "Petite symphonie" (Little Symphony)


    I can already hear the changes in my head and the one movement version is an excellent idea!! Perfect for its length. Can't wait to hear the revision.


  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Wilton, NH

    Re: Complete "Petite symphonie" (Little Symphony)

    I really enjoyed the 4 hand piano version but this brings it to a new level - I think your sleepless (or nearly sleepless) nights paid off as the orchestration works perfectly - it is not "a mere "amusement"".

    I think you are right - for a piece this short a one movement format might be better.

    Kind of funny, when I heard the piano version I thought of Debussy, particularly the first movement, but the orchestrated version has, to my ears, a more American sound. Sure, more of a French accent than Schuman or Barber, but I find the orchestration closer to their style.

    I really enjoyed this great little piece.
    Trent P. McDonald

  7. #7

    Re: Complete "Petite symphonie" (Little Symphony)

    When I was in my late teens and early 20's, I discovered the music of Samuel Barber and William Schuman... they were for a LONG time my two favourite composers.

    Last year, I produced a series of concerts to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Barber's birth. It was most exciting. We performed works of his throughout the week of concerts (6 in all), ranging from very early works, to the very final work Sam composed, on his death bed (Canzona, for Oboe and strings, meant to be the middle movement of a new oboe concerto).

    At every concert, I spoke about Barber, about his life, about his music. I don't know how many times I repeated, during that week, that Samuel Barber was probably one of the greatest composers of the 20th century... and yet, so much of his catalog is relatively unknown. The most embarrassing thing was, I cried almost every time I got up to speak about Barber. His life, and his music, move me to tears. He was a truly great artist.

    So, a HUGE thank-you.
    It is a great honor to have something I've written be compared, even modestly, to anything of Samuel Barber's.

  8. #8

    Re: Complete "Petite symphonie" (Little Symphony)

    The initial post will be corrected within a few minutes to include the "single-movement" version of the Little Symphony.

    There's not much really changed, but the music links physically between movements now.

    I have continued to adjust minor details of the orchestration, and those are reflected in the new version. I'll leave the "separate movement" version up as well.

    The complete thing is still only 6 minutes long.

  9. #9

    Re: Complete "Petite symphonie" (Little Symphony)

    I listened to this as 3 separate pieces and the move to one movement is (in my opinion) a good idea. Each section is very charming and I like the harmonic structure you developed throughout. I am listening to it now as a complete one movement work and it really works well that way. I really love the adagio melody. It has so much depth and feeling. It somehow reminds me of Adagio for Strings by Barber in the emotional impact of the section. Of course, the ending is well suited to the piece and wakes you from a reverie more than once.

    Thanks so much for allowing our community to hear this piece. It made an enjoyable afternoon listen.
    [Music is the Rhythm, Harmony and Breath of Life]
    "Music is music, and a note's a note" - Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong


  10. #10

    Re: Complete "Petite symphonie" (Little Symphony)

    thank-you Rich

    I've finished preparing the "condensed" score, and it is now up in the original post.

    (I normally work from a "single instrument per staff" score while composing or arranging, only later taking this very large format and reducing it to have pairs of instruments sharing staves (for example, both flutes on one staff)

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