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Gustav Johnson

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Gustav Johnson last won the day on August 29

Gustav Johnson had the most liked content!

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46 Excellent


About Gustav Johnson

  • Rank
    Advanced Composer

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
    https://transcendaudio.weebly.com/ https://soundcloud.com/transcend_audio
  • Yahoo

Profile Information

  • Biography
    I teach 5-12 grade band in El Paso-Gridley school district in Central Illinois. I've been "composing" on and off since my first music theory class in college (Illinois State University!). I enjoy writing in many genres and for many ensemble types, and have even been recognized as the winner of the Urbana Pops Orchestra composition contest in 2010. I'm on this forum to help myself improve, as teaching takes the bulk of my time and I have little left to take lessons or courses in composition.
    Please visit my website or soundcloud to see my recent work, and feel free to message me!
  • Gender
  • Location
    Minonk, IL
  • Occupation
    Band Teacher
  • Interests
    hiking, fishing, teaching, church band, drawing, reading, composing (obviously!)
  • Favorite Composers
    Most modern film composers, and anybody from the dawn of time to present day.
  • My Compositional Styles
  • Notation Software/Sequencers
    Sibelius 7, Ableton Live 9 Lite
  • Instruments Played
    Bass Clarinet & Woodwind guru, although I'm well versed in all concert band & jazz band instruments for teaching purposes

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  1. Tonskald! I’m excited to listen to your piece – I’ve often considered the idea of symmetry and asymmetry in music, although your approach and source material (Olivier Messiaen) are new to me. Can’t wait to listen! This is my first listen to the work, so you’ll get my first impression thoughts (I type and listen at the same time). Here we go! I. Nice cello sample (and piano when it enters). I wish my sounds were that nice. #SoundSetsAreExpensive... Your theme offers some good possibilities. I like the style and emotion it presents. Cool tremolos, wasn’t expecting that twist. Also the double stops are quite effective. Good interplay between the piano and the cello. Everything is well-balanced and sounds good with the other part. @2:50, wow! In general this is really good stuff, and is very cohesive despite being through-composed. II. Interesting re-use of the shared material. The harmonization especially is sublime. To be honest, I’m going to sit back and enjoy this because so far this piece is awesome. Less typing, more listening! III. A little harder to follow the opening idea in this one – although it’s great composing. IV. The uneven time signatures pushed you into some really cool ideas – good idea. V. Cleverly and carefully done! Overall some really lovely music. The piece is super mature and very carefully thought out, and well executed to boot! Sorry I don’t have much to offer in the way of things that could be better, I’m not sure if there is anything I’d change. Good work! Gustav Johnson
  2. HoYin! I’m listening to this piece for the first time while I free-write some comments for you. I’m excited – your description is really intriguing and I can’t wait to hear it! I. Captivating opening theme. I must admit that music in this style is hard for me to follow, modern harmonies/etc. isn’t my strong suit, but I’ll do my best. Your theme which will be used as shared material is robust enough to be recognizable, but also flexible enough to allow for sufficient material to be born from it. Good percussion accents within the piece, I wonder if maybe they could have been used to create a sense of motion that might help drive the phrasing? We finally get that around 2:00-2:15, which is really nice. The ethereal section is nice (2:30-3:00), and a nice use of pizzicato to create a new texture. 3:30 is really nice style-wise. Very emotional and brooding! II. Same opening, until the horns! That’s exciting, it lifts the energy a little bit. I can tell a difference in the texture of this one already. Careful on the low drone notes – be careful that they don’t clash or create unintentional dissonance. Good snare drum ostinato, it gets stale after a while. Some flams, rolls, or variations to help accent the phrasing may be nice. Another possibility is to share it across instruments (i.e. pass it to the brass or strings occasionally). I like when you alter the ostinato rhythm, it’s a good rhythmic pattern. I expected some more power from this movement, something indicating the vast strength of the prince’s army, but it seems reserved. Don’t be afraid to let out all the stops! Sometimes writing full orchestration with lots of doubling at loud (ish) volumes can be appropriate and effective! III. Good compositional techniques. Your interplay between voices is effective and well balanced. Waiting for something that sounds like a “Rite”, though, and while I hear plenty of spooky sounding stuff nothing screams “HEY WE’RE AT A FUNERAL!!” to me, haha. Around 2:20 (ish) we start getting to something that sounds more mournful. Around 3:00, now we’re getting somewhere, and this seems more like what I expected. Maybe I was expecting the wrong type of thing – I shouldn’t let my expectations get in the way of the music you’ve written. Oooh, I like the ending. That’s really nice, and I could have used more of that type of idea throughout the piece. Overall, you write well in terms of your individual lines. The complete picture is somewhat muddy for me, but there are also probably things I miss because I don’t have the best ears and I haven’t taken time to train them in this style. Your second movement felt the most cohesive to me, probably because of the obvious shared ostinato. I wish there was some core idea that each movement would have had unto itself. A good composition! Gustav Johnson
  3. Hi Luderart! I’m going to free-write some thoughts while I give your piece my first listen. I’ll come back and listen again later and see if any of my thoughts change, but I hope my comments are helpful. I’m super excited – I really admire your work and can’t wait to hear this one! Here we go… I. Good range for the violin, let’s get that right. A strong idea to build from, I’ll be interested to see where you take it. The double stops are really nice, they add a nice character to the phrases. II. The 16th notes were a little strange to me, in the first set mainly. I think it’s because there were some repeated notes in those ones (i.e. C4 then C4, like that). The other 16th note groups were all unique notes, and that helped. Also, it may have to do with how abrupt/out of place they seemed? Almost disconnected from the phrase. Maybe play around with the phrase length as you approach/leave them to help. Or maybe I’m nuts. Probably! Hey… a pizz. note? Interesting. III. AH! The staccato is wonderful. Golly, this movement is wonderful. Your development here is textbook, really nice. Two pizz. notes this time. A pattern, maybe? IV. Good decorations on your melodic ideas, this is another strong movement. In your expressive phrases (4:20 ish), some double stops/octave leaps may have brought something special to the table. Also back to one pizz. note haha. V. I think your incorporation of the previous movements’ ideas is good, but maybe a little too literal. Something more of an impression would have satisfied me more, maybe. Contrived is the wrong word, but the melodies seemed to try too hard to be something they didn’t want to be naturally. Annnd two pizz. notes! Overall a really strong work. Very successful in terms of your incorporation of the main idea into new ideas. So far I’m impressed by how well you all have done that, when that’s what I struggled with – making new ideas without quoting the original. Anyway, good work! Gustav Johnson
  4. Alrighty! I’m going to do a first listen and free write while I do that – hopefully my comments come out sensible. I’m a little tired, I hope that doesn’t come across in my writing tone though (I’ve been told by some of my students that it does sometimes). I’m excited! Here we go. “O Haupt Voll Blut und Wunden” I. Good opening chorale. Not checking the voice leading right now, but most things seem okay. Your sound is consistent – I might like to see greater exploration of range/timbres. Solid writing here, nothing that really got me up out of my chair and itching for more though. What’s supposed to hook me into this piece? II. Hey, a new tonality! Wasn’t expecting that, it’s nice. Maybe to go along with that new tonality you feature a new instrument or two? i.e. put the melody in the violin rather than the oboe, etc. Cool bass notes (2:45). There are some pretty radical decrescendos/crescendos – I’m not sure it does a whole lot to advance the phrasing as much as you intended, though they are an interesting effect for sure. Being a bass clarinet player, I appreciate the bass you’ve set up. It reminds me somewhat of Bach’s foot pedal writing for organ. III. I LOVE the ornamentation you’ve featured in this melody! Also the fact that you’ve given the main idea to the strings (finally) is really refreshing. I’m beginning to think that what my ear is really craving is a change in texture – range, number of lines playing, way ideas are presented, something like that. Everything right now is presented in “melody + chorale chords” format. I’d love to hear some new ideas and not only new melodies/harmonies. Does that make sense? IV. 7:20 – I love the bass pattern with the eighth notes. Could we carry that through to other sections of this movement? Again, love the ornamentation. Hey! A tempo change?! (8:00 ish) That was a surprise. I also didn’t expect the dark turn this movement took. As you progress, your compositions get more mature – the melodies stand alone better and the harmonic material supports in more interesting ways. I really like your recapitulation here, it’s very satisfying while not being too predictable. Good job, that. Overall, very well done. The hardest thing for me about this challenge was NOT being able to quote too literally from the original melody. You managed to create new material in a very seamless way, I feel it fits the requirements very well. You should be happy with your work here, and start to be more adventurous. I tell my students all the time that God invented backspace/delete keys for a reason. Try something crazy and if you don’t like it, get rid of it. Sometimes great things are discovered by mistakes and accidents! Again, a good piece! Gustav Johnson
  5. I'm hoping to listen/review sometime tomorrow - I'm at a special performance festival with my students today until late. Maybe I'll get one or two in today during the afternoon session or when I get home, but no promises. They look really exciting! Thanks to those who have already left comments and who will leave comments evenutally 👍 Gustav
  6. Yippee! All versions in this submission are fixed from the previous problems I had while uploading. Enjoy! Gustav Johnson
  7. For piano and special effects (optional instrument rack, basic reverb/delay). Intended for live performance using either (1) an acoustic piano mic'd and FX'd, or (2) an electronic piano filtered through ... well, electronics. The piece, temporarily titled "unknown", is based on four altered states of mind, which loosely follow a story: (1) drunk, (2) concussed, (3) ICU: Slipping Into Coma, (4) Near Death Experience: A Glimpse of Light. Composed for entry into the Young Composer's Forum Composition Contest, November 2019 - "Poor Form" competition. PDF of score is also attached. Thanks, folks! Gustav Johnson
  8. No preference - just finished mine up! Woohoo! If we're given more time I'll spend some time polishing - let me know. Either way I'm submitting tonight to take the pressure off myself. Gustav
  9. I'm super excited to listen to everyone's work!! #FinishingStrong
  10. A decent composition! The arpeggios around 2:25 & 3:45 were really exciting. To me, it gave a much needed sense of motion. I might try to find ways to incorporate more of that into the piece as a whole. Right now it just kind of "floats" there, without moving much. I suppose that's probably the intention, since your subject is Heaven. I'm not in love with the audio editing. I would do two things now to improve it: (1) transcribe the final version and (2) use a computer playback or re-record it straight through. That way you don't have the cuts and bumps. If you choose to go the re-recording route, look up some tutorials about microphone placement when recording pianos. Good composition, keep it up! Gustav Johnson
  11. Not crazy about the percussion in this one - feels somewhat scatter-brained and out of balance with the other material. The odd mixture of some parts having a prominent pulse which doesn't quite lock together and some parts not having any pulse at all is strange to me. Normally I'm into this style, weird stuff is cool, I think this could be pulled off more effectively though. Don't give up on it! Gustav
  12. Agreed! A good piece, hope it gets sung! I'm not analyzing the progressions/voice leading/etc., just the overall feel of the piece. Good work, Gustav
  13. Sometimes folks will post stuff related to the competition separately if they aren't able to follow the timing or the rules or what have you. I look forward to hearing your work!
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