Thanks for the super detailed feedback! I actually really struggle with my phrasing and "phrase spacing," as you call it. It's something I would love dearly to improve upon. Any suggestions for exercises or materials to look at/listen to to help with that? I'm impressed with your ability to get into this much detail so quickly--are you a composer by profession?
To address your question regarding stagger breathing, that's common practice in the band practice world when groups have a long sustained or ostinato section. I trust the musicians to make a good musical decision.
1. This was the strongest of your entries. The articulations were kind of strange. Maybe a soundfile export problem, but the placement of slurs was interesting, and didn't come out in the file. Reminds me of this for some reason: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJJb2SoBl_A
If there's one thing I would change it would be the spacing and feel of the piece. It feels close to engaging for me, but not quite. A lot of your phrase spacing in this one kept taking me out of the atmosphere and the buildup to a natural chord progression was almost there, but not quite.
2. Your portion at m. 28 is awkward since you're using the minor 6th with the dominant chord when the dominant note and subdominant note are present. A lack of percussion I think is what took away from the impact of this one. Subtle cymbals or timpani rolls or tam tam hits could have helped, especially when the brass come in alone. I'm also a little confused as to why you ended the last phrase only 1/4 in, but that's okay.
3. I feel like this was the weaker of the all of them. The middle interlude section of this one is what threw me off the most. I know it's technically the same tempo, but loses a lot of the charm and support of the beginning and end. The feeling of rise in that section was a bit jeopardized by the chords you used in that section as well. I can see what you were trying to do, but it felt very fragile.
4. m. 7: In your dominant chord you have both the major and minor third in your chord. The section at 9, I was confused about kind of feel you were going for a little bit... it felt urgent but wasn't backed up by percussion or incredibly high notes in the woodwinds, but it also felt like a kind of drag down, but wasn't supported by descending low tones. It just felt it lacked direction.
5. This one jumps all over the place... there's a definable climax which is nice, but everything around that seemed to keep starting and stopping which is my main problem with, for example, the Wicked soundtrack (especially Defying Gravity). It loses the feeling of putting on the brakes and starting again (which is perfectly fine in some cases) and ends up becoming frustratingly inconsistent. You had a good idea with the pitched percussion, but maybe some more would have been nice.
Engraving problems... staff spacing is important. Even if nobody is ever going to perform this, it's always nice to have things spaced out well.
Also, I see that you're a band teacher, so I'll differ to you on this, but there seems to me to be a lot of breathing issues, especially in your ostinato in the final one. Were you planning on stagger breathing? It would almost be necessary.
A lot of good ideas for a quick write series, I'm impressed. Maybe some development would have been nice in addition.
This is a project I did as part of my Quick Write Challenge. I was inspired on a tour of some caves in Kentucky, thinking how nifty it would be to have a performance in such a resonant space. The cave idea transformed into something almost as metaphorical as literal, and hence this was born. Let me know what's strong and what needs to be stronger!
First of all, I love the track name. Second, I couldn't tell if much had changed past the volume of everything. Were there melody changes? Just to see if it worked better, I played Silent Hill Shattered Memories as LostSamurai had pointed out with this track in headphones and I think it pretty much works.
The tubular bells maybe could have been spaced out a little more to be more motivic rather than an instance, you know?