Marc O'Callaghan

Airs from Titus Andronicus

7 posts in this topic

Hello all,

This is my entry for this summer's Shakespeare contest. It is based on two soliloquies from the play Titus Andronicus.

Enjoy!

 

Marc

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Now this was rather ambitious! I expected an orchestral work from Austenite, but I'm pleased to see he's not the only one. Good luck!

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This was definitely a cool piece. My main criticism (if I'm allowed to do that) would be that some of your textures align a little bit strangely, and to me don't sound completely natural. But seriously; kudos for getting this in rather quickly and for such a larger ensemble. Now I feel kind of meek for only doing solo cello. :D

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Thanks to both of you for your comments !

On ‎17‎.‎08‎.‎2016 at 5:35 PM, Monarcheon said:

This was definitely a cool piece. My main criticism (if I'm allowed to do that) would be that some of your textures align a little bit strangely, and to me don't sound completely natural. But seriously; kudos for getting this in rather quickly and for such a larger ensemble. Now I feel kind of meek for only doing solo cello. :D

 

Criticisms are always welcome! I can see what you mean, but do you have a particular example ? I've been listening to it and working on it so much these last weeks that I may have missed something important in the end x)

And don't worry, you master the cello far more than I master orchestration !

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I was quite impressed by this piece from its beginning, with the brass and tubular bells teaming up to a majestic opening. As the work progressed, I started to wonder why did you choose to score for single strings rather than sections, since some of the passages were almost begging for a full string compliment. As it is now, there can be a few balance issues, as winds outmatch strings almost in a proportion of 2:1, and are also more likely to drown the voices as well, so you might want to take a second look at it unless you're actually attempting to keep the ensemble as small as possile (which, of course, is perfectly valid).

I'm pointing this out because the music itself displays an outstanding quality (despite how ill-suited are the most common sound libraries for large works involving voices) and, quite possibly, because of my own tastes when it comes to large-scale pieces. Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure that this work is already a major runner for the competition.

Great job!

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2 hours ago, Austenite said:

I was quite impressed by this piece from its beginning, with the brass and tubular bells teaming up to a majestic opening. As the work progressed, I started to wonder why did you choose to score for single strings rather than sections, since some of the passages were almost begging for a full string compliment. As it is now, there can be a few balance issues, as winds outmatch strings almost in a proportion of 2:1, and are also more likely to drown the voices as well, so you might want to take a second look at it unless you're actually attempting to keep the ensemble as small as possile (which, of course, is perfectly valid).

I'm pointing this out because the music itself displays an outstanding quality (despite how ill-suited are the most common sound libraries for large works involving voices) and, quite possibly, because of my own tastes when it comes to large-scale pieces. Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure that this work is already a major runner for the competition.

Great job!

 

Thank you very, very much for that assessment and your compliments! I am flattered.

Yes, I am aware of the potential balance issues due to a orchestration. I meant this both as a challenge to compose something balanced and as a functional wish for as small an ensemble as possible. It was also symbolic, though the symbolism behind it probably isn't obvious - the idea being that each instrument is meant to be on its own, representing the different thoughts that emerge in Titus' mind during the soliloquy, and the only "solid" part is the choir, which represents both his conscience and the Roman population. But I must admit I have never played any orchestral instrument, being a singer and folk musician myself, and as such, I am not really aware of what such an ensemble would sound like live, although I know it's delicate. 

Many thanks for you review !

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23 hours ago, Marc O'Callaghan said:

Criticisms are always welcome! I can see what you mean, but do you have a particular example ?

The imitative polyphony in your eighth note, dotted half rhythms can sometimes go in weird directions... sometimes they cross voices, sometimes they add a strange tone to transition out of. It's nothing you would really notice without the score, for most people, so I wouldn't worry a hell of a lot.

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