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Theodore Servin

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Theodore Servin last won the day on October 6

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About Theodore Servin

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  • Biography
    My name is Theodore Servin. I’m a 17-year-old composer of late romantic music. I am also a pianist, and I usually play my own works.
    My favorite type of music is Romantic, though I also love Baroque, Classical, and a little bit of Impressionist music. I also like some jazz music, particularly Baroque-style jazz. I absolutely adore Russian music, both classical and popular folk music.

    My Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk5ruZl0V4gHj5R_q2d5OJg/featured
  • Gender
    Male
  • Interests
    Music, drawing
  • Favorite Composers
    Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Saint-Saens, Catoire, Dvorak, Bach, Beethoven
  • My Compositional Styles
    Tonal: Late-romantic
  • Notation Software/Sequencers
    Sibelius
  • Instruments Played
    Piano

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  1. There is now a score video for the first movement of this piece!
  2. This is really good! There is so much color and emotion, the orchestration is so rich, and the melodies are fantastic! It's rare to hear such clear and beautiful melodies, and with such amazing harmonies to accompany them! Admittedly, though, I did think some parts were a little too long, but overall, I really enjoyed this piece! It's an epic work, and that's great! Well done!
  3. A fantastic concerto! Obviously, I've listened to this piece before, but good music deserves all the praise and attention it can get! I couldn't say anything about the orchestration, since I don't have enough knowledge or experience, but I will say that the music itself is amazing!
  4. There are many moments for me, too many, in fact, for me to remember, but I'll list a few of them. In my eyes they're all equally beautiful, so I wont give them any ranks. -Philipp Scharwenka: Piano Quintet in B minor, Op. 118, mvt. 2: recapitulation and coda. Scharwenka's Piano Quintet is a masterpiece in its own right, but that section in the second movement has to be the most beautiful one in the entire piece. All the section really does is repeat the first subject in a different orchestration, and then blend the first and second subjects in the coda in a sort of condensed format, with the strings muted. But what makes the section in that movement so gorgeous is how it's orchestrated. I can't explain it in words, it's just so beautiful. Honestly, I'd recommend checking out the whole piece, but especially the second movement. -Richard Wagner: Liebestod, from Tristan und Isolde: grand climax. For me, this piece is beautiful beyond words. Everything is paced so carefully, the orchestration choices are phenomenal, and then the peak, after the perfect pace, gives me goosebumps. Also, those special harmonies unique to that opera are just incredible. I wont say much more, because I'm sure most of you know that piece very well. I'll just close this by saying that it has to be one of my favorite pieces. -Toivo Kuula: Piano Trio in A major, Op. 7, mvt. 3: entire movement, but especially G-sharp minor (middle?) section. This rarely-played piece is, in my opinion, one of the greatest works in the entire piano trio repertoire. Unfortunately, it's extreme length (50 minutes) prevents the work from being performed as often as it deserves. The whole piece is fantastic, but my favorite movement from the work has to be the 3rd movement. This movement is one of the most tragic pieces I've ever heard. The key is in F minor, and begins rather mysteriously, with octaves in the piano, followed by the violin and cello playing a poignant melody in unison. After this comes the main theme, a very romantic and passionate melody. The theme gets played around briefly, before being transited into a section in G-sharp minor, with descending scales in the right hand of the piano, while the strings play a tragic variation of the theme, all fortissimo. The opening of this section closes with dark chords in the piano, followed by a section with lighter chords in the piano, while the strings continue with another variation of the theme. After some time, the piece repeats, the same exact musical format, just with the keys flipped, and slightly condensed. After the peak plays in F minor, the piece ends with a coda very similar to the opening of the piece, just with the orchestration reversed, the piano having the haunting melody, and the strings playing the mysterious octaves. The piece ends with a slower version of the main theme, combined with the old melody at the same time, before the piano ends by playing the octaves (which are on C instead F, giving movement a haunting close).
  5. Hello everyone, This is hopefully going to be the first of many posts on the lives and music of rare romantic composers. This series can be thought of as a continuation to my post entitled "The Rare Music Conundrum", and is meant to widen the audience attraction to forgotten romantic-era musical geniuses. I hope it's something that interests you, and you can learn something from. This installment is about the life and music of Soviet-Ukrainian composer, pianist, and teacher Viktor Kosenko (1896-1938). Kosenko was born in St. Petersburg to a large family, but moved soon after to Warsaw. Though musically gifted, he only began music lessons in 1905. He was preparing to enter the Warsaw Conservatory, when the First World War began, which forced him and his family to leave Poland for Russia. He studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where he excelled in his studies, and received excellent evaluation from the faculty, including from Alexander Glazunov. At this time, he also began to compose, writing works for piano. After graduating, he moved to Zhytomyr, where he began teaching at the local academy, and where he married his wife, who became one of his main sources of inspiration. Here, he also began to perform and organize concerts, promoting fellow Ukrainian composers in the process, and was an active member in much of the musical life of Soviet Ukraine. With the arrival of Stalin's regime, he moved to Kiev, where he taught, performed, took part in local music competitions, and, above all, composed. Despite his activity in the world of music in Ukraine, he lived very poorly for most of his adult life, often being forced to share living quarters with other families. Due to insistent persuasion from his wife, the Soviet Government finally awarded Kosenko with the Order of the Red Banner for his efforts in the promotion of Ukrainian nationalistic music. Several months later, in a poor state, Kosenko died from kidney cancer, aged only 41. His wife continued to promote his music long after his death. The music of Viktor Kosenko, in my opinion, is of the highest quality. His music was in the vein of the late romantic era, and possesses deep emotional value, and contains elements of Ukrainian folk-song, as well as melodic, harmonic, and formal clarity. He wrote in most genres, including symphonic music, chamber music, concertos, solo music, vocal music, and even film music. His music is only performed with some frequency in Ukraine; everywhere else in the world, he is practically unheard of. The YouTube channel Pentameron describes his work nicely in this text: "Kosenko's life is conclusively divided into three distinct phases, in Warsaw, where he studied with renowned teachers Mikhail Sokolovsky and Iryna Miklashovskaya, in Zhytomyr, where he began teaching piano and music theory at the Music Technicum, later becoming director of the Zhytomyr Music School, and finally in Kiev, where he devoted more time to symphonic compositions such as his Heroic Overture, which brought him due recognition in the world of Soviet music. A true artist in the very sense of the word, he was a leading figure among the broad-minded artistic collective of the 20th-century Soviet music. Kosenko's legacy is filled with romantic feeling and intonations of Slavic folk songs and Western-European influences. His vocal, chamber and symphonic works are among the most important pieces of that time in USSR. He composed over 100 compositions for piano among waltzes, preludes, nocturnes, sonatas and mazurkas, in a total of about 250 musical works such as his symphonic Moldavian poem, violin and piano concertos, trios and string quartets during his short musical career. His vocal compositions include a large number of ballads, choral and folk arrangements as well." His music most definitely deserves to be heard in much greater number than at present. Among his more well-known works include the 11 Etudes in the Form of Old Dances, Op. 19 (which includes a masterful Passacaglia), 24 Pieces for Children, Op. 25, the Piano Concerto in C minor, the "Classical" Piano Trio in D major, and Mazurkas and Poems for piano.
  6. @Tónskáld, @bkho, and @AngelCityOutlaw, thank you all very much for your responses. These are all very plausible answers, and I do agree with many points. It's true, organizing orchestral concerts is a huge investment, so it would probably be safer to stick with more familiar music. And of course, tastes come and go, as with generations, like @AngelCityOutlaw said. I'm not arguing with any that. I guess what I would prefer (and this is outside of the performance world) is at least some official historical acknowledgement of these rare composers' works and existences by official musicologists and professional musicians, instead of just a complete neglect. But I can't help but think of the history of the performances of the music of Gustav Mahler. Towards the end of his career, his music became more and more unpopular with both audiences and critics alike, and after his death, his music for the most part fell out of the spotlight (though it did have some smaller-scale popularity in the Netherlands and among early modernists). However, during the second half of the 20th century, his music became world famous, in part thanks to promotion by Leonard Bernstein and Leopold Stokowski, and now, his symphonies are some of the most-performed pieces in modern times. Perhaps, though, there is still time for these composers to finally be acknowledged. For example, it took time for Mahler's music to become world-famous - maybe it will be the same for other obscure composers. Like @bkho said, with the growing audiences for these composers online, maybe there finally will be a true renaissance for these works later on. In the mean time, I hope to join this small-scale revival and help promote these composers, starting here on this forum. Again, thank you all for taking the time to respond.
  7. Hi @Monarcheon, thank you for your response. I probably should have clarified that I was not entirely asking in a historical context, but more within a contemporary context. Obviously, historically there were many reasons why certain composers and their music did not become as well known as others, though I do appreciate your input on the matter. But my main issue is why there is very little attempt to promote these rare composers now, in the present era. As I mentioned earlier, now that this rare music is available to anyone on the internet, people are beginning to discover this music, and for the most part are reacting very positively towards it. Some people have even tried to request performances of it in classical radio stations, or concert venues, but often get little to no response. An often-said reason for this is that it won't appeal to general audiences, who like familiarity in music, and aren't willing to have programs changed around. But as an audience member of many concerts, I have never been asked which music I want to hear. My personal experiences have shown me that the audience doesn't get to decide what is performed - the audiences hear whatever gets played, period. And I am referring to mainstream concert venues, like the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, or the London Philharmonia. I do acknowledge the attempts that have been made to promote rare music in present times. Even several major musicians have successfully brought previously little-performed works into the light. However, these attempts have usually been limited to small scale performances, or CD recordings that don't circulate very far, outside of the internet. What I wish to know is the reason why there are very few (or no) current mainstream efforts to promote this music by major performance companies.
  8. This is a really beautiful piece! As someone who likes more lyrical music, this was a real pleasure to hear. And you really did capture the feelings of the struggles between winter and spring! It reminds me of the music of late-romantic Scandinavian composers, like Grieg, or Sibelius, or Kuula, for the beautiful wintry sound, though you still managed to make it sound like it belongs in the present era. Well done! 🙂
  9. Thank you, @Tónskáld, for your suggestion! The issue is still open, and though I have figured out a temporary solution, I'm going to try out your suggestion. 🙂
  10. Hello everyone, I take great interest in rarely-played music from the romantic period, and have discovered some true gems among the literally thousands of composers from that era alone. These discoveries have naturally brought the following questions to my mind: why aren't these composers played more often? And why haven't I heard of these geniuses and their music before? The reason I started this post is because of another made by @Maarten Bauer, called "How original do we need to be?", where he asked interesting questions regarding originality in music. I began to consider these questions in an historical context, particularly in the case of lesser known composers. Music historians often say that the music of these lesser-known composers isn't often played because it wasn't "original" enough, and they often refer to them condescendingly. Take, for example, Harold C. Schonberg's comments on the lesser-known composers Sergei Taneyev, Erno Dohnanyi, and Nikolai Medtner, in his chapter about Rachmaninoff from "The Lives of the Great Composers": "Sergei Taneiev (1856-1915) was a Russian academician and specialist in counterpoint, whose music, if his Second Symphony is a fair example, was devoid of life and character and is as individual as a toothpick nestled in a box of toothpicks. Nikolai Medtner (1880-1951) was another Russian eclectic who, like Rachmaninoff, was a pianist-composer and who did Rachmaninoff the great honor of imitating him. Medtner's music has all but disappeared from the repertory. He was a composer in the order of Erno Dohnanyi - a good craftsman who seldom came up with an original idea." Such pleasant writing, huh? But just how "unoriginal" are these composers? Having listened to their music, I personally think that their music is far from unoriginal. Or at least, not entirely conventional. And I'm not the only one who thinks this way. Looking in the comments of videos of these pieces, I see a lot of people saying that these pieces are just as good as many famous compositions, or just people expressing their admiration of these works - quite unlike Schonberg's deprecatory descriptions of them. Obviously, Dohnanyi, Medtner, and Taneyev are not the only rare composers - in fact, there are far more unusual and under-performed masters than those 3. I shall list a few examples: -William Henry Fry, USA (1819-1864) - Niagara Symphony -Franco Alfano, Italy (1875-1954) - Concerto for piano trio -Bernardino Custodio, Philippines (1911-2001) - Nocturne for the Left-Hand -Max Trapp, Germany (1887-1971) - Piano Concerto While all of these composers are arguably late-romantic, some of their pieces are in styles I have never heard before. For example, I have come to believe that had Fry's Niagara Symphony been written by one of the major names in music history (say, Berlioz or Liszt), that piece would have been considered a revolutionary achievement! (It was never played during his lifetime.) I think its safe to say that these composers are not underrated because of supposed "lack of originality". Obviously, the "originality" conundrum is not the only supposed reason for burying certain composers. I hope to go into those other reasons in future discussions, and also mention some remarkable and shocking examples of this apparent historical blacklisting. So, this brings us to those same questions from earlier: why aren't these composers performed more frequently? And why didn't we know about them before now? I'm interested to hear your reasons for this seeming burial of musical legacies; I have a few personal theories, but I want to hear your opinions first. I apologize for the sheer amount of text, but I believe that this is an important issue that needs to be addressed. I also understand that this is an arguably subjective issue, but some things cannot be ignored. My point of view is that I personally care deeply about rare romantic music, and think it should be promoted to much wider audiences.
  11. It's very beautiful! I like how neat and proportional the piece is, both the music and the orchestration. Well done! Theo
  12. @pianist_1981, thank you so much for your comment. I'm glad that you have enjoyed my recent piano works, and my performances of them. It means a lot to me. It's true that the Serenade has a wider range of contrasting emotions than the other piano works. In a sense, the Serenade is the true Fantasy of the three, as it has the most free emotions and form of all three pieces. Also, you're right about the Serenade not fitting as the 2nd moment of the Fantasia. Originally, though, I had a section in the middle of the Serenade that quoted the theme of the first movement of the Fantasia, to try to connect the two works. I realized, however, that the section just didn't fit in with the rest of the piece, plus the piece would have been too long. Again, thank you immensely for your observations. I really appreciate that you took the time to listen to my works and consider them carefully. All the best, Theo 😄
  13. Thank you for your suggestion. The way you have described writing long tuplets on Musescore is the exact same way to write long tuplets on Sibelius. However, my main problem is that if I were to try to put the section from the Chopin nocturne above EXACTLY the way it's written on paper on Sibelius, with all of the fiorituras as they are, I wouldn't be able to. For example, it's impossible to write 18 eighth-notes (quavers) over 4 eighth-notes, without getting the message "This is too long to fit in this tuplet", blocking my attempt. I suppose I should just resort to trying to write multiple small tuplets (maybe even tuplets within tuplets) as you have suggested, because making these tuplets in the way that Chopin or Liszt would write them, is apparently impossible on Sibelius. Again, thank you, @caters, for taking the time to answer my question. Theo
  14. Hello everyone, Is it possible to write fiorituras in the manner of Chopin or Liszt in Sibelius 7.5? Sort of like this: What I am trying to do is create arpeggios in the left hand/right hand parts in a piano score with a similar number of notes as the fiorituras in the Chopin nocturne above. The piece I am writing in is in 6/8 time. Is possible to accomplish? Thanks!
  15. Hi, @pianist_1981, thank you for responding! I have posted a few solo piano works here, and it would be an honor for me if you listened to some of them. The pieces I have posted are: the Fantasia in F-sharp minor, Op 7, the Serenade in E-flat major, Op. 8, and the Improvisation on a Theme by Rachmaninoff, Op. 9. I also have a post on underrated romantic composers, which might interest you. And yes, I do have perfect pitch. Best, Theo 😄
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