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Divertimento No. 2 in F Major

Noah Brode

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This is my second attempt at a divertimento in the classical style. It's meant to be a light and enjoyable work for a small string ensemble (I tried to make it possible for either a quartet or a larger section). I'm primarily doing these divertimentos as exercises in improving my four-part writing. 

One of the unifying factors between the movements is a consistent emphasis on weak beats throughout the piece, although I may have gotten a bit carried away with this aspect. I also sneaked a few bVII chords in to a couple of the movements. Let me know what you think! Thanks for listening.

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1 hour ago, Emiliano Manna said:

Very nice and upbeat! The witty humour reminds me of young Verdi.

Some accidental spelling seems wrong to me, movt. I and V especially.


Thanks! That's high praise.

I am a bit fuzzy on whether to use an augmented second or a minor third sometimes.. I have usually been spelling it as a minor third resolving into a major third, but I'm guessing that's wrong and it should be an augmented second resolving to the major third. 

Thanks again for listening! It's great to get feedback.

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  • 3 years later...

I. Molto Vivace - This is quite energetic! (although string players are notoriously bad at playing offbeats LoL)  I like your melodies and you use unique harmonies for the classical style.  Usually in the classical era diminished chords are treated as a dominant b9 with a missing root (they are great this way because they are ambiguous enough to transport the listener to up to 4 different key centers) but you use diminished chords in a totally different way keeping one tone common while resolving the others chromatically (measure 2 beat 1 and 2 - the common tone is F even though it's absent in your voicing).  I personally would be more wary of using pizzicato the way you have used it in this movement - it is rare in classical literature for the whole string orchestra to switch to pizzicato at the same time and with the same thematic material that they previously played arco.  Somehow I've always thought of this as an amateur midi composers bad habit.  Also, I think you already have enough repetition of the main theme in the exposition and the repeats seem unnecessary.

II. Minuet - Your phrasing is really cool in this and uses elision where the final bar of one phrase is used as the beginning of another phrase.  It's 7 + 4 + 4 + 2 +3 = 20.  I also like your sparse orchestration in this and your use of space is very refreshing.  I personally would maybe have upped the tempo a bit as right now this minuet seems kinda languid.

III. Romanza - I felt like this movement wasn't really on par with the quality of the others.  I don't know if it's characteristic for a Romanza to be written the way you have it here but I felt like the bass (cello) voice was not always necessary and I was longing for the relief of space you so expertly used in the other movements.  This movement also seemed to carry on very sluggishly and the melody overused a single rhythmic motif.  I do like how you all of a sudden went from Bb major to A major in the middle of this - however, the retransition back into Bb major was a bit unconvincing.

IV. Scherzo - Is this the reason why you said you got carried away with the weak beats? LoL  I liked this one although I think scherzi are usually a bit faster and feature more sudden dynamic changes - it has it's charm.  Your accents in the beginning should also be accompanied by slur marks to make it more clear that they should be played legato as opposed to the rest of the notes which are staccato.  I also like how different sections of the string orchestra seem to take turns in this one.  After the quiet little kitschy figure you have in the 1st violins in m. 10 - 11 it would be more characteristic of a scherzo to have the whole orchestra play fortissimo in m. 12 beats 2 and 3 to create that surprise dynamic contrast that's so common in scherzi.

V. Allegro - Great conclusion to this divertimento!  I like how you cycle through closely related keys and still end up in F major.  I personally could have done without the augmentation of the main theme in this movement as I think it slows things down at a point in the form where you should be anticipating the ending of the piece.  I've been taught that recapitulations before a coda should often also be a bit abbreviated to prevent the listener from feeling like they've heard this all before.

Overall you did a great job!  Now I feel like want to try my hand at a divertimento.  Very entertaining!

Edited by PaperComposer
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I like this a lot. You have some good knowledge about classical form. I think in some places you could refine the accompaniment where you clearly attempt to counter the upper voices. For example, from bar 12 of the first movement, despite the contrary movement between the parts, the rhythmic pattern is constant throughout the passage. I personally would endeavor to add some further variety to the best of my ability.

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