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Thread: Fantasy-Variations

  1. #1
    Senior Member Vasks's Avatar
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    Default Fantasy-Variations

    Well, here’s a post by me that is very wordy.

    Back in late Spring I saw a call for scores for a city/province in South Korea that wanted to celebrate an historical event that involved a citizens uprising. The composition contest involved using a copyrighted protest song written in the 1980’s called “March for Our Beloved”. I have attached at the bottom of this post a Youtube link so you can hear it. The contest called for an orchestral piece that “transforms song enhancing universal, audience friendly music, showing the way of rich and colorful composition method of composer.” So that meant for me, being highly tonal which, while not my normal thing, I really don’t mind doing. Another drawback to even composing for this competition was that the copyright owner gave permission for all to enter, but NOT permission to use the entry piece for anything else. I had to give that some time to think about whether I wanted to commit composing time to a piece that can not be used for other performance considerations and of course little chance of winning what with an international “call for scores” that will most likely result in many hundreds of entries. And I hestitated also because the actually melody is so plain that I initially found it unappealing to work with. But in the end I decided to write a set of variations.

    Here’s the program notes that was also required when submitting:

    The fantasy aspect of my title “Fantasy-Variations” is born out right from the start, as first, mysterious quasi-march material unrelated to the the song is heard. Then motivic fragments of the song appear before much, but not all, of the song is presented. The remainder of the first section becomes a full-fledged march that rises and then recedes.

    The second section, ushered in by the tuba, presents all but an interior phrase of the song
    in a slow compound meter. This gives the song a completely different feel than its original
    march style. The entire section is about growing more intense throughout; culminating with
    the entire orchestra at full strength.

    A short scherzo is the third section. It explores exclusively the single interior phrase that
    was missing in the first two sections. While quite more modern sounding in design, and
    giving the percussion section a chance to be featured, this section is intended to provide
    some relief from the serious minded, minor tonality of the song.

    I wanted for the fourth section to provide a calm and beautiful experience by means of it
    being in a major mode; but I quickly discovered that the melody itself did not do well being
    altered in such a manner. So the solution was to keep the melody in its minor key format, but
    have its accompaniment in a major. This creates a blend of both and at times produces hints
    of the lydian mode.

    The final section starts not unlike the first, in that fragments of the song and other opening
    material build up slowly until it all coalesces into a complete and powerful presentation of the
    entire song; replete with countermelodies in the woodwinds and horns.


    So here’s my Fantasy-Variations on the protest song:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/es40bcnba0...tions.mp3?dl=0


    The accompaniment is pop music oriented, but the tune itself is unaltered. You only need to hear the first one and a half minutes

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsgVR9DBJ9w
    "Music in any generation is not what the public thinks of it but what the musicians make of it"....Virgil Thomson

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    While overall, I enjoyed the piece, the first few minutes feel rather sparse... Is the piece meant for a smaller scale orchestra?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Vasks's Avatar
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    Just a touch smaller than normal (2/2/2/2 4/2/2/1 Timp 2 Perc Strings)

    As for any sparse-ness, anywhere in any band/orchestral piece of mine, there will always be some. I save full instrumentation passages for only a few key spots. This allows for more color throughout, individual wind/brass players to shine and for climatic sections to have greater impact.

    Thanks for giving it a listen. I think I'm going to disable the link in a few more days for a couple of reasons.
    "Music in any generation is not what the public thinks of it but what the musicians make of it"....Virgil Thomson

  4. #4
    Senior Member Vasks's Avatar
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    The link will be disabled today.

    Next year, I'll be posting only live performances of pieces old and new. No mockups in 2019.
    "Music in any generation is not what the public thinks of it but what the musicians make of it"....Virgil Thomson

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