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  1. 2 points
    Movements: 1. Kyrie 2. Gloria 3. Sanctus 4. Benedictus 5. Agnus Dei Scoring: Mixed chorus a cappella (SATB) Style: Baroque stile antico, circa 1700 Composed: June 23 – July 9, 2014 at Wichita, Kansas, USA I here present my second attempt at a Missa Brevis. This one is a cappella, and in the Dorian mode throughout. The first was composed in 2000, modeled after the short Masses Mozart wrote for Salzburg Cathedral in his youth; I posted it here some years ago. This work was commissioned in 2014 by a Roman Catholic church in Colorado that supports and highly values the best in traditional church music for their liturgies. A long-time friend and colleague happened to be the director of their small but well-trained choir, and he regularly programs 16th Century polyphony for them to perform during Masses. When he proposed the commission to me, he specified that I would compose a short but solemn Mass, as well as a set of Propers (the variable parts of the Mass, including the Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Offertory, and Communion) specifically for the feast day of the church’s patroness, Our Lady of Mount Carmel; he further stipulated that ideally the work would emulate Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611) – his favourite composer – in style and substance. Flattered that he thought highly enough of me to think that I was capable of this, my response was that the style would be a tall order – Victoria was one of the giants of Renaissance liturgical music, and not easily imitated – but that I would gladly do my best to present him with the best polyphony I could manage. My friend was satisfied with that, so we negotiated what I thought was a fairly generous stipend, and I accepted the commission. Though it was not due to be fulfilled until the following spring, I immediately set to work (I’ve rarely been one to procrastinate on a commission), though not without some trepidation; I am relatively facile in several historical styles, but I had never attempted to write 16th Century polyphony before, and I wasn’t altogether sure I would succeed. I worked diligently and completed the entire Mass in 15 days. While the final product did not disappoint me, despite having employed all my knowledge and skill, I knew I had not produced an authentic piece of 16th Century at all. Rather, I had written a solid work in stile antico. For those unfamiliar with the term, to quote Wikipedia: “Stile antico (literally "ancient style") is a term describing a manner of musical composition from the sixteenth century onwards that was historically conscious, as opposed to stile moderno, which adhered to more modern trends. It has been associated with composers of the high Baroque and early Classical periods of music, in which composers used controlled dissonance and modal effects and avoided overtly instrumental textures and lavish ornamentation, to imitate the compositional style of the late Renaissance. Stile antico was deemed appropriate in the conservative confines of church music, or as a compositional exercise as in J. J. Fux's Gradus Ad Parnassum (1725), the classic textbook on strict counterpoint. Much of the music associated with this style looks to the music of Palestrina as a model.” I had done my best, so I presented the Mass to my patron, and to my relief, he was very pleased. The work was premiered by my friend’s choir at a festal Mass on July 19, 2015, the Sunday following the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (July 16) when the patronal feast was observed, on which occasion the present recording was made. The following year, I was invited to come to Colorado to join the choir in performing the Mass again, and I accepted. The appreciation of the choir and congregation for my work was most affecting – a memorable experience indeed. I hope you enjoy this little Mass, and do let me know what you think of it. I’d especially like feedback on the counterpoint from any of you out there who may be experts in the art. Thanks for your time!
  2. 2 points
  3. 2 points
    This is an interesting scenario. I've done both things (written for specific people, and written stuff without anyone in mind,) and I think that the most important thing is that if you're writing for specific people, they should know and you should tell them what you're doing to some degree. You should be very familiar with what repertoire they can play well and what's their overall technical level. I've had mostly good experiences with this as people I've written things for trust me enough to let me do whatever I want, and it's worked out pretty well. However, you can't count on that being the case and it could as well be that they can put restrictions on what they want you to write, etc etc. If it's an outright paid commission, then sure it doesn't matter that much that you cater to their wishes since a job's a job, but in my experience I've always done things in a way where I have the freedom I need to do my thing first and foremost. However, I understand that may not be always possible or reasonable. The best way to go about it, in my opinion, is to write for no specific person and write what you actually just want to hear. Then, after you've written the piece, see if there are any comments on possible changes or interpretations that you may be willing to compromise on. I think this gives off the best impression of you as composer since you are sure of your work but at the same time you are open for suggestions, just remember that you are the boss in the end, with all the responsibility that entails.
  4. 2 points
    I love Mieczysław Karłowicz (1876 - 1909), he was a Polish composer and he died so young because of an avalanche when he was in mountains. I praise his Violin Concerto in A major and symphonic poem "Odwieczne pieśni". I am very glad you've put Vasily Kalinnikov on your list, if only he had lived longer... but what he already composed is amazing
  5. 2 points
    Well, here's an interesting discussion. Would that they were not so rare these days! To answer the original question, most (but not all) of my music falls within an immediately identifiable historical style. Within the fairly narrow confines of that style, I invariably try to do certain things differently and uniquely according to my own sensibilities, while remaining as faithful to the style as possible - creating something new with old tools, as it were. I've been told this gives much of my historicist music a flavour that is uniquely my own, and I would like to believe this is true. It is certainly something I continually strive for on some level as I compose. There would be little value to my self-expression in this manner were there nothing about it that is mine, and mine alone. That said, it is not of paramount importance to me that my personal expression is as unmistakable as that of Beethoven, for example, only that I have been at once true to the historical style in which I am writing, and to my own artistic sensibilities. Likewise, in my "modern" voice, I follow the dictates of my own sensibilities in hopes that what results is something that is my own unique expression.
  6. 1 point
    Birthday Gala – Waltz for Orchestra Scoring: 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets in B-flat, 2 Bassoons, 3 Horns in F, 2 Trumpets in C, 3 Trombones, 2 Percussion Players (Cymbals, Triangle, Snare Drum, Bass Drum, Glockenspiel), Timpani, Harp, and Strings. Style: Late-Romantic, ca. 1880-1900. Composed: November 10 – December 1, 2017 at Austin, Texas. A little something different from my usual Classical-style fare! As its title might suggest, this work – my second waltz for full orchestra – was composed as a (somewhat belated) birthday gift to my husband Max. I began writing it on his birthday and completed it exactly three weeks later – a rather quick turnaround for more than nine minutes of music for full orchestra, but I was inspired! It’s marvelous what love can move us to accomplish. Like most Viennese waltzes, the piece begins with an introduction, starting with a glittering fanfare interspersed with rushing scales in the violins, and followed closely by a zany, almost Disneyesque section evoking fun and celebration. The fanfare returns once more in the brass, modulating to A-flat from the tonic C major and slowing down. A languid “love theme” follows (this was written for my husband, after all), eventually modulating back to the tonic. After a frenetic connecting section building excitement, the waltz itself begins in earnest. After the main themes reprise at the end of the waltz, a faster coda dramatically concludes the piece. It should come as no surprise that Johann Strauss II (1825-1899), the Waltz King, was a significant influence in writing this piece; but perhaps a more important model, and one from whom I learnt quite a few handy tricks of the trade, was the later composer Franz Lehár (1870-1948) – famous for his operettas, but who also wrote some very nice waltzes full of interesting orchestral colours, different from Strauss. While my models were Viennese, and the pattern of the piece is Viennese (Introduction – Waltz – Coda), some of the melodies have taken on a flavour more reminiscent of American popular music from around the turn of the last century, giving the work a somewhat American feeling overall. I have never before made such extensive use of brass, harp, and percussion in any of my work, and learning as I went how best to employ forces relatively new to me was quite an adventure. I really must apologize for the score – it’s a wretched mess, I know. I wrote this piece very quickly in short score, with multiple instruments on each staff, and the glockenspiel line slipped in below the strings as an afterthought. My primary interest was in playback, not readability. Add to that a few bizarre glitches Finale inserted that I can’t delete, and the wreck is irreparable. Eventually, I’m going to have to redo the entire score, but that’s a task for another day. Apologies again, and I hope you’re able to figure out what I was doing. By the way, in case you were wondering, Max was thrilled with his gift, I’m pleased to say! He’s always supportive of my efforts, and with his fine ear and keen sensibilities, he often gives me excellent advice on how my music might be improved. In that, along with everything else in my perfect marriage, I am indeed the most fortunate of men. Happy listening, and I hope you enjoy this lighthearted celebration in sound.
  7. 1 point
    There is a time-honoured tradition of this, especially in the days of court orchestras. Haydn, for example, had an orchestra of virtuosi at his disposal for Prince Esterházy's entertainment, and he often made special use of individual players' strengths, especially earlier in his career. When writing specifically for his patron the Prince, who played a bizarre, now-extinct instrument called the baryton, he was careful to give the Prince interesting things to play while staying within his limited technical abilities. When he went to London, he was also well aware of the fine orchestra he was going to be writing for, and his final 12 symphonies show it. When writing for a specific ensemble, I almost always take into consideration what I know to be their strengths, and almost more importantly, their weaknesses. For example, when writing my Missa Brevis 4 vocibus (posted here), the commissioner advised me that his soprano section wasn't really capable of singing above F at the top of the treble staff, hence I only once wrote a G for them (having no other choice in that spot), but otherwise kept the range of the soprano part capped at F. Though it was limiting, had I not done so, it would have caused problems for the very people who were paying me for the composition. However, he had a stellar tenor section, including himself (and I knew his fine voice well), so I several times took the tenors up to A above the staff, and they performed admirably. When not writing with a specific ensemble in mind, I'm freer with my expression, though I still usually take into consideration the technical abilities of the typical professional musician, unless I am writing something like a concerto, in which case the solo part is written with virtuosi in mind and is considerably more difficult.
  8. 1 point
    Hi Gustav - thanx.. This was all done in Logic Pro in my living room studio. . . I have a rather extensive Kontakt library, and own almost all of UVI's libraries, played thru the Falcon virtual instrument. On the acoustic sounds, yes they are samples of 'real instruments' also a couple of hardware synths.. I also have a fair amount of virtual instruments. Lately. I compose a piece, and then spend a fair amount of time, 're-voicing' it. That is I search thru libraries, and patches, and find sounds that 'fit better'. It often means re-recording parts, in a round robin manner. That is I pick a new bass sound, (go from electric bass to an acoustic bass). Then I re-record the piano part, then the guitar etc. The new bass, piano, guitar, then suggest to me to re-do the drums, etc. I had read years ago, Prince would do this. Eventually recording a fair amount of the instruments in a piece several times. The end result is the piece, sometimes has little to do with how the piece originally sounded, So I've been doing the same.. The good thing about DAWs, of course, is you can save all the takes, Sometimes I add a few parts, then a couple of days later, I decide, I took a wrong turn, so I go back to the earlier version, and go in a different direction.. I feel pieces, especially 'sound paintings' as you call them, have a personality of their own, and just as it takes some time getting to know someone. It can sometimes take time for the personality of a song, or piece, show it's face. I spent my whole life, playing music, most of the time, doing what paid the rent, sometimes composing, and working with people, that wouldn't be my natural choice. (not that I ever worked on music I hated).. Now in my senior age, I want to explore 'musical landscapes'.. Not too concerned with all the formal music rules I have learnt and abided by. (of course a lot of that is still there).
  9. 1 point
    @Theodore Servin Where has Chesnokov been all my life? Wonderful piece, and I do very much enjoy Russian liturgical music. I presume you must have heard Rachmaninov's "All-Night Vigil" or "Vespers" from 1915...one of the last great masterworks of Russian liturgical music before the Revolution put an end to it all. I enjoyed the Kuula too, with all that delicious chromaticism and the parallel major thirds in a minor mode. He reminded me of Grieg in spots, but his is certainly a very unique voice. I wonder how many other Finnish composers there are from this period that don't get their due. Sibelius doesn't seem to leave room for them.
  10. 1 point
    @HoYin Cheung I love Moszkowksi and Chausson as well! Both pieces that you mentioned are masterworks too! I also love the Piano Concerto no. 2 in E major from Moszkowski and the Piano Quartet in A major from Chausson.
  11. 1 point
    I would praise Moritz Moszkowski too Moritz (Maurice) Moszkows (1854 - 1925) was a German composer, pianist, and teacher of Polish-Jewish descent. I particularly like his Piano Concerto No.1, because of both the breathtaking melodies and well-balanced arrangement. Although I am not a pianist. but I can see his works are great for pianist to show off. Also: Ernest Chausson (1855-1899) was a French romantic composer. His wrote a few orchestral pieces, concerti as well as ensemble works. Personally, Poème for violin and orchestra is very nice.
  12. 1 point
    @Theodore Servin Wow...your introductions make me want to get to know these guys better!
  13. 1 point
    Thank you responding, @J. Lee Graham! I suppose I should give some introductions to my list, as you have done with yours. Viktor Kosenko (1893-1938) was a Russian-born Ukrainian-Soviet composer and pianist. He wrote for almost every genre of music, including concertos and piano music. He is probably best known for his Passacaglia in G minor for piano, a magnificent work of epic proportions. Even though he was around during the Soviet era, he mostly wrote in a late-romantic manner. It's wonderful stuff to listen to. Toivo Kuula (1883-1918) was a Finnish composer. He wrote mostly songs and chamber music, and has an unfinished Stabat Mater. Personally, I love his massive Piano Trio in A major, particularly the 3rd movement. It's some very emotional and passionate music. Unfortunately, he was killed at age 34 from a scuffle with a drunken soldier at the end of the Finnish Civil War, from a gunshot wound to the head. Wilhelm Reinhard Berger (1861-1911) was a German composer, pianist and conductor. He was a very prolific composer, have completed over 100 opuses, although much of it remains unperformed. I consider his Piano Quintet in F minor to be among the best piano quintets ever written, and, like Kuula's Piano Trio, is a huge work, lasting roughly 50 minutes. A criminally underrated genius, in my opinion. Giuseppe Martucci (1856-1909) was an Italian composer, pianist, and conductor. He was the first Italian composer in decades (if not centuries) to not write an opera. His output includes 2 symphonies and piano concertos, and much chamber and piano music. It's very sophisticated music, and is definitely worth checking out. Vasily Kalinnikov (1866-1901) was a Russian composer. His life was a tragic one, to say the least, having been impoverished most of his life, and dying at aged 34 from tuberculosis. Probably his best known works are his 2 symphonies, both of a fresh and magical quality, with touches of Russian nationalism incorporated in the music. Wladyslaw Zelenski (1837-1921) was a Polish composer, pianist and organist. If at all, he is probably best known for his chamber music, including his Piano Quartet in C minor, an excellent work, that I would highly recommend to any chamber music-lover.
  14. 1 point
    This is a piece which I wrote in december. The theme is a polish christmas carol "Gdy się Chrystus rodzi" (When Christ is born). MuseScore performance of dynamics in 3rd variation isn't good :/ but you can use your imgination ;D Let me know what you think!
  15. 1 point
    Theodore, thanks for your list, I will check it, I really appreciate that. Yes in fact, nowadays, tonal music is not well considered in the academic circles, I started the bachelor of composition some years ago, and despite I had a scholarship, I decided to abandon the bachelor due the pressures of some teachers asking me for a change in my creative orientation.
  16. 1 point
    Interesting. I'm often sceptical of such studies as my first question is what they seek to achieve in practical terms. Some application is fairly obvious but trying to understand the perception of music is always going to be fraught with problems. Whether you attempt analysis with scientific method or the softer approach of semiotics you hit problems straight away as you're dealing with individuals. And if there's one thing that psychology can't get at it's an individual's raw data, having to rely on anecdote and social norms and things. Even phsyiological psychology still has to treat the individual as a "black box". I did read the papers and had comments on both which would take rather a lot of space to list. #1 raised more questions than answers: narrow, relying on music attempting to communicate emotions (and fairly basic emotions at that) - not all music aims to communicate emotion. It speaks of universality but I think we already knew of that. An aficionado of Far Eastern or African music will be well aware of these regions incorporating western styles particularly in popular music. It probably appeared in the Far East thanks to interest in "classical music" (particularly Japan but also Hong Kong) brought in a century ago when these countries opened up to the west. In Africa probably through colonisation. Japan created westernised orchestras across the last century, sent its music students to Germany, France, the UK and the States. [Edit]My far and away favourite Bruckner conductor was Japanese (alas now deceased). The second paper interested me in that it extended questions raised in Die Reihe, a series of periodicals from the 1950s but addressed more by musicians than scientists but who were nonetheless engaged in all aspects of the avant garde. Even so, Eimert did an excellent piece in Vol 6 Sprache und Musik, about information theory and communication - bordering on what became semiotics. It's the source of my interest in semiotics. However, semiotic research re music is probably wasted effort. Although music does contain quasi-linguistic elements they're too vague and the cultural/philosophical pressures external to the music itself are in themselves complex. So trying to relate sign to signified will never be more than hypothesis. More in the line of philosophy and what reality is about? I noticed both papers emanated from Germany. What we need now is research into whether and how symbolist music communicates a mood/picture. Does that have universality? An interesting topic.
  17. 1 point
    One of the things found in all the research is that, since you can get emotional responses out, well, basically any kind of communication (languages you don't understand, noises, whatever,) you can argue that the degree of "understanding" you have of a language just allows it to trigger finer and more nuanced responses (expectation breaks, comedy, etc, all that.) The "problem" of something like serial music or any kind of music that is "random" sounding enough that it makes you default to basic responses is that it can't immediately engage you on the level of stuff that you're familiar with. This obviously changes drastically the more you expose yourself and familiarize yourself with different kinds of musical languages. One thing that happens when you ARE familiar with the musical language, enough to have actual expectations, is that a curious things starts to happen which is that music that constantly breaks expectation is more "interesting," or "pleasurable" to listen to, but the break has to be just right. Too tame and it doesn't excite the brain centers enough, too harsh and it pulls you out of it. This kind of expectancy "curve" is what drives a lot of music composition from all sorts of people, Beethoven, Bach, you name it. They did it, obviously, purely on intuition, but we know now that they were "guided" by how the brain actually perceives those breaks in expectation. There's a lot to unpack in this theory, but I've been investigating this subject for the last 10 years, I think it's amazing how much we have discovered. Additionally, this can apply to any musical language, all it takes is enough consistency and familiarity to develop expectancy. Here are two papers you can read that back up my statements: http://www.stefan-koelsch.de/papers/Fritz_2009_CurrBiol.pdf and http://www.stefan-koelsch.de/papers/Koelsch_2008_ERAN_EDA_music_meaning_syntax_emotion.pdf There are a bunch of other papers that go in depth into both things, usually with new studies and some new insight, but these are good starting points. You need to brush up on some neurology to really understand what's going on in the brain itself, but you can get a pretty good idea of what's going on even if you just look at the graphs.
  18. 1 point
    Noah, you bring up a good point in that labels of style or originality are usually pinned on artists by "the audience," and most composers, myself included, do not feel so defined by an identifiable style. I have propensities and weaknesses, and I put in a lot of effort to keep them hidden. 😉
  19. 1 point
    A beautiful piece to listen to, not just for the music itself but the purity of the voices. But the music is so accomplished that comment is barely appropriate. You asked about the counterpoint. I learned species counterpoint and though this in rather a different league from V, I looked at the Sanctus in a modicum of detail. If you have broken any rules I didn't spot them - besides, nothing was apparent in the sound itself. But I can hardly claim to be an expert. I noted the fugue form - that alone takes some mastery - you turn to it often (if not a fugue then imitative entries). And the modulations were handled always with skill (it was something with which I always had problems). I noticed the way you marked phrasing. I'd guess your study went deeper than just looking at the famous renaissance composers' scores - as if you assessed how they were really sung and captured that in score. Altogether it had a beautiful solemnity about it. Edit. A propos your declaration "While the final product did not disappoint me, despite having employed all my knowledge and skill, I knew I had not produced an authentic piece of 16thCentury at all. " If true you seem to have come very close. I doubt WIlliam Byrd could have got much closer.
  20. 1 point
    Well this is an interesting discussion, @Ken320. I'm sorry to have missed it when it was new. When I started writing 'concert music' or whatever a few years ago, I was writing in what I now understand to be a terrible perversion of the Classical style. This is mainly because I had just fallen in love with that style (cuz that's what they play on classical radio stations). Since then, most of my scraggy has taken on a more Romantic or Impressionist style (though still pretty mangled), with wider-ranging techniques. It's kind of ludicrous for me to say my music has a distinct voice, since there's so little of it altogether and my grasp of theory and orchestration is still ... in development. My audience is so miniscule that I doubt any of this matters (yet, I hope). To the point made by @Monarcheon, I'm certainly guilty of stealing techniques from things I hear and read about online. I suspect most of us are, whether that's from a website or a classroom. I think the challenge is using these techniques well and responsibly. Polychords, secundal clusters and stacks of fifths all play into my latest piece because I read about them on one website or another. I do try to fit them into places where they make sense aesthetically or dramatically. To be fair, though, the entire history of music is full of people making subtle adaptations or innovations to the existing body of music theory, and borrowing the rest from those who've come before. I think the current conception of artists and composers as solitary geniuses who must offer radically original works (or be considered worthless) is a relatively new concept in the history of art and music. I think in the past, there was a lot more admiration of technical mastery over pure originality. I'm interested to hear others' takes on this, though.
  21. 1 point
    Seems like a bit of a straw man, no? My point is simply knowing the artistic concepts doesn't translate to good art inherently. That takes time, and yes, experimentation.
  22. 1 point
    I can only echo the comments of J Lee Graham, particularly your highly skilled handling of the smaller resources. A very pleasant work to listen to. The scoring is most delicate in places.
  23. 1 point
    For improvisation it flows well. Nice spread in harmonic rhythm, a graceful tune and pianistically accomplished. An occasional hesitation but that's a risk with all improvisation (I suppose...until you've 'learned' the bits you like for use in subsequent performances - how it is with me anyway!). It could easily pass as a composed piece on paper. Improvisation is composing on the fly to me! Some very nice moments in it.
  24. 1 point
    @Muhammadreza. What problems do you have? I think a Nocturne is (or comes from) a "mood". The form of it is not the most importante. Nocturne and waltz (Gm)
  25. 1 point
    John Cleese: Dead dead dead dead dead dead dead!