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Hey all,
I was commissioned to write this piece for a intermediate level orchestra, with focus on the horns, violas, basses, oboes, percussion, bassoons, and low brass, the lesser used instruments by kids learning instruments. I decided to make it so each variation featured the a certain instrument. The only catch was the sections that these instruments had were huge. Like, almost 20-30 horns, for example. So I did my best to blend it all together, and this is what came out. This piece was heavily reviewed by the coaches of the program so it could be confirmed to be played by younger students. So any orchestration issues you may see, while not intentional per se, definitely were influenced by the jury I had. Enjoy!

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Looks like a fun piece for an intermediate orchestra. I know a couple of high school teachers who could put this to good use.

The parallel fifths in the tubas during the low brass variation were charming to me, kind of echoing Randall Thompson.

Regarding the G# entrances in the horns, have you thought about putting a reinforcing note down an octave somewhere in the winds or brass? As a brass player, it's nice to have an overtone to ride on a high entrance. Bassoon maybe? Normally I'd say trombone, but I really don't trust an intermediate trombonist to be that reliable in pitch.

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It's a very nice piece, and it keeps the interest all the time.

On the other hand, knowing about why and how you made it is like an orchestral "study" por a particular ensemble.

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11 hours ago, Adrian Quince said:

Regarding the G# entrances in the horns, have you thought about putting a reinforcing note down an octave somewhere in the winds or brass? As a brass player, it's nice to have an overtone to ride on a high entrance.

Are you talking about the horn variation? I think there's a concert C# thrown in there somewhere...

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Great fun! I imagine a young person's orchestra would be thrilled to play this, especially with all those rich horn and percussion parts. You really capture the sea, in a much more literal way than something like Debussy's "La Mer". This feels at times like it should have a vocal part singing some pirate dirge along with the orchestra. Well done. Nice balance of lush orchestration with a concept that a casual listener can appreciate. Excellent balance, and you keep it interesting throughout.

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5 hours ago, Monarcheon said:

Are you talking about the horn variation? I think there's a concert C# thrown in there somewhere...

 

Yeah, it's in the viola. Though, honestly, it's hard to ride an overtone from section strings. They tend to produce a pitch band a few cents wide as opposed to the single note you'd get from a wind or brass instrument.

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Very well done.  I think you accomplished all the goals regarding the ensemble you were writing for.

My only suggestion, fwiw, in the variations where you have the 8 measure repeats, possibly hold out something on the first time through, (ie, during the bassoon variation, leave the flute for the second time only.)

It should be an enjoyable piece for the kids, especially the instruments that usually get to count 768 measures of rest only to play 1-5-1 and start counting again.

Again, well done.

Tim

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On 3/19/2017 at 10:16 AM, tmarko said:

in the variations where you have the 8 measure repeats, possibly hold out something on the first time through,

I really want to do that, but the audio rendition will never do that, so I'm typically discouraged from actually doing it. :(
I'm glad you liked it!

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I listened to this yesterday and got a kick out of it. It sounds like something I would've enjoyed playing in band. 

However, my duties as a former auxiliary percussion section leader require me to chastise you for not including mallet instruments. I think a xylophone and/or marimba would've fit right in with the pirate-y feel of the piece. 

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On 3/22/2017 at 6:48 AM, Noah Brode said:

I listened to this yesterday and got a kick out of it. It sounds like something I would've enjoyed playing in band. 

However, my duties as a former auxiliary percussion section leader require me to chastise you for not including mallet instruments. I think a xylophone and/or marimba would've fit right in with the pirate-y feel of the piece. 

 

Happy you liked it! :)
I actually wasn't allowed to use pitched percussion beyond timpani so I had to make do. :sadtears:

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