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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi everyone.

So I had a crazy idea to write a symphony. Ok, it's not a unique idea. But it's certainly a bit crazy for me.

I got 9 minutes into movement 1/3/4 (haven't decided which it is) and hit a roadblock, so decided to write something with a horn solo, a la Tchaik 5 or Borodin 2.

This is the result.

It also kinda conveys how I feel about this whole Ukrainian situation. So terrible.

EDIT: updated link to longer version


Any comments gratefully received.

Thanks

Adrien
 

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Hi Adrien,

This is quite promising, very cinematic. I don't know where you might go with it next but I hope you keep at it, I think it will be worth it.
It does have a bit of a fatalistic feel so far and it would be nice to feature a bit of the heroism that Ukrainia is showing in the face of it's opressors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Adrien,

This is quite promising, very cinematic. I don't know where you might go with it next but I hope you keep at it, I think it will be worth it.
It does have a bit of a fatalistic feel so far and it would be nice to feature a bit of the heroism that Ukrainia is showing in the face of it's opressors.
I agree about the heroism. I've already done a bit in this vein, but also thinking about the rest of the symphony. It could be that each movement shouldn't tell the whole story, but each tell a part. There has definitely been some cause for despair about this whole thing. I guess if I pushed myself harder to actually make this about the Ukraine war, then I would have to tackle some very difficult feelings and events. I'm not sure I want to take it there, but such things are typically great inspiration.
 

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Wow, this is really nice! I agree that a horn solo might be a good central section, but the music up has been so serene so far, I would like to hear something more agitato. Maybe introduce a horn solo with some growling in the bases, developing the rhythmic motif in the timpani at D. Something along the lines of what Mahler does at the beginning of the final movement of his second symphony. And expression of anger at the tragedy in Ukraine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow, this is really nice! I agree that a horn solo might be a good central section, but the music up has been so serene so far, I would like to hear something more agitato. Maybe introduce a horn solo with some growling in the bases, developing the rhythmic motif in the timpani at D. Something along the lines of what Mahler does at the beginning of the final movement of his second symphony. And expression of anger at the tragedy in Ukraine.
Hi thanks! I wasn't planning a second horn solo, just re-use that theme later on in full orchestra.
 

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Hi Adrien,

I'm just listening a second time to your new 12 minute version, It's quite lovely. I also think it fits well with being a second movement, the first (which I haven't heard) is usually more boisterous, as possibley is the last, although this too has some fairly boisterous moments, it has an overall feeling of tragedy about it and some very sweet moments of hope, that to my mind, suit a 2nd movt.

I liked your use of the percusion by the way, very well done. (Something I have yet to master)!

There are 1 or 2 instances of consecutively repeated bars here and there that would (for me) benefit from a tiny tonal extention of the repeated second phrase, just to further the tension, or at least I might have done that myself, it is your creation and as I said, I really do like it as it is. So much so that I downloaded it to keep a copy, hope you don't mind.

How long did it take you to produce this version?

I hope you get the other movements done because I think you have something good here and I know you would be very pleased with yourself if you could finish it, and rightfully so, it would be no mean achievement, but it really would be worth it, even if just to your own sense of pride and accomplishment, and I for one would certainly like to hear it.

best Regards
Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks so much Mark.

It took me a couple of weeks from the first version to the one I posted yesterday. I could probably spend another 2 weeks on it, and then another 2. It's never done.

I have written part of another movement, but that got stalled, and that's what prompted me to start on this 2nd. Unfortunately (or fortunately) the colour of this movement doesn't really mesh with the other work, and it's much stronger thematically so I will have to do a lot of re-work and ruthless pruning and rewriting of the other movement. Maybe that will unblock it.

Every time I think about it I start to have bad thoughts, like "I wonder if I could get away with a 2 minute 3rd movement". I guess I must be very lazy. Or ill-disciplined!

Percussion has always been a struggle for me as well. I often find the un-pitchedness to be quite off-putting. In the end the thing that I think helped me a lot with this latest piece is that I got new studio monitors and calibrated them for my room (still waiting on bass traps). Being able to hear what is going on makes a massive difference, since I compose 99% by ear.
 

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I know what you mean, I find it hard to leave them alone too, there's always something that you could change but at some point you have to say "enough"! lol.

I too write by ear and you're right, the quality of the rendering makes a lot of difference, in your case, your set up sounds really good. I use sibelius and noteperformer, it's not bad but not quite on the same level as some of the more expensive (and therefore out of my range) virtual instruments.

I don't know if it will make any difference to you but I have a bit of a trick, when it comes to writing blocks. Take the whole thing and transpose it up or down a semitone or so. Not to keep it there, but to hear it in a different key brings out things you perhaps didn't hear in the original key. When your done, put it back to where it was.

Anyway, I wish you luck with the other movements, (there's no rule, by the way, about what length any movement needs to be), but I bet once you start, you'll find more than a couple of minutes worth of material.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
This was also all done with Sibelius and NotePerformer, but I use reverb and EQ plugins as well, from FabFilter. A long time ago now I heard someone's render with Altiverb, and it made such a difference. I tried things like Vienna Ensemble Pro with MIR, but in the end, just go back to trusty FabFilter. It steps the render quality up a notch once you have the EQ etc dialed in. Fabfilter is a fraction of the price of Altiverb, and doesn't use a dongle either which is the thing that has prevented me purchasing that software. You do need to turn off reverb from Sibelius though (set to dry rather than disabling it, otherwise it forgets the setting).

I could imagine a symphony with a 2 minute 3rd movement. I guess in the end what even is a movement for? Is it like a chapter in a book? A place where we let the reader take a breath?
 

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It's astonishing how far technology has come. To think someone could sit at home to compose and render this fantastic score using virtual instruments on his computer would absolutely floor Shostakovich, Mahler, Wagner (whose influence I think I'm hearing), etc. Can't wait for the entire symphony!
 

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It's astonishing how far technology has come. To think someone could sit at home to compose and render this fantastic score using virtual instruments on his computer would absolutely floor Shostakovich, Mahler, Wagner (whose influence I think I'm hearing), etc. Can't wait for the entire symphony!
Probably for the best. If Wagner had access to a computer and score writer, the Ring Cycle would have been 48 hours long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
It's astonishing how far technology has come. To think someone could sit at home to compose and render this fantastic score using virtual instruments on his computer would absolutely floor Shostakovich, Mahler, Wagner (whose influence I think I'm hearing), etc. Can't wait for the entire symphony!
Thank you! I’m glad you like it.
 
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