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Monarcheon

WINTER STORY COMPETITION RESULTS

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Disclaimer by Monarcheon: Congratulations and thank you to all competitors who put so much time and effort into their works. While we do prescribe winners for our competitions, it is so important to recognize the communal event’s purpose of having everyone strive to be their very best. There was no work submitted without merit and it was a pleasure to honor all submissions with my humble opinion.

 

Disclaimer by danishali903: Congrats to all who participated! It was very entertaining to read your stories and hear your music. Since I've been busy for the past few months, my reviews are a little less detailed than they usually are for competitions. If you have any questions regarding your scores, or need more clarification about anything, please don't hesitate to PM me.

 

ADRIAN QUINCE:

danishali903: 94

Monarcheon: 85

GRAND TOTAL: 179/230

 

SENI-G:

danishali903: 85

Monarcheon: 75

GRAND TOTAL: 160/230

 

SEBASTIANVIOLA:

danishali903: 79

Monarcheon: 71

GRAND TOTAL: 150/230

 

CONNOR_HELMS:

danishali903: 72

Monarcheon: 75.5

GRAND TOTAL: 147.5/230

 

NOAH BRODE: 

danishali903: 73

Monarcheon: 70

GRAND TOTAL: 143/230

 

CONGRATULATIONS ADRIAN QUINCE!

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@danishali903's scores:

 

Baron von Munchausen - Noah Brode

 

I’m not aware of the German tales of von Munchausen, but your description of it was quite good. You do a pretty good job of translating certain plot points into the music, though the whole work suffers from a lack of cohesiveness. Each section of the piece feels underdeveloped, and there is not enough room to let the material breathe. Most of the transitions are awkward and don’t flow nicely into the new material. With a little more development and material, I think this can be a solidly structured piece. I would recommend you take a listen to Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben or Don Quixote to see how he structures it.

 

In terms of orchestration, your woodwind writing is solid most of the time. The brass writing is a little uninspired, especially the lower brass. There seems to be some confusion regarding the Piccolo’s transposition, as the audio is not accurate on that matter. I’m not convinced of the ranges of the saxes…granted, I’m not a wind player myself so I’m not a 100% sure. Your score can use a LOT of work. There are some misplaced dynamics, and clashing expressions with notes. 

 

Orchestration: 14/25

Programmatic writing: 22/30

Development of thematic material: 14/25

Score Quality: 7/15

Written story/program notes: 9/10

Audio: 7/10

TOTAL: 73/115

 

 

 

Silver Embers of Boleskine Manor - Connor Helms

 

This was a puzzling piece…I think what makes it challenging is that there is no set, defined “narrative”, but an abstract concept. First of all, I think you can explain your intent more clearly in the program notes, as there was just WAY too much information for the casual listener to get. While your concept is very…ambitious…your execution of it in the music was not too hot. I didn’t find myself engaged in the music due to I sensed a structure in each of the movements, which is good. The lack of any melodic AND harmonic development was very off-putting. While each movement was structurally and rhthymically unique, it all kinda sounded the same to me.

 

You certainly know how to write for strings. You employ a variety of extended techniques, though it is little TOO much at times. The harp part at times seem a little iff-y. This is one of those works where no computer generated audio would be good enough, so I do hope you get a live performance out of it. 

 

Orchestration: 19/25

Programmatic writing: 20/30

Development of thematic material: 8/25

Score Quality: 12/15

Written story/program notes: 5/10

Audio: 8/10

TOTAL: 72/115

 

 

 

Stargazer - Adrian Quince

 

Generally, a very good piece. Your creative narrative translates well into music, so no complaints there. I felt like each of the major plot points was sufficiently developed in the score, and organized really well. Some of the transitions were a little awkward, most notably before measure 132. I got hints of the DSCH motif, so I’m guessing your composer from the story is Shostakovich? My one criticism is that your piece can benefit from some counterpoint, especially in the slow passages. I feel like there could’ve been another moving line at measure 234 underneath that melody…maybe that’s just me. 

 

Your orchestration is very nice; you clearly know how to write for a wind ensemble. I particularly liked the expanded clarinet section. I sometimes felt like the vibraphone and xylophone were used a little TOO much, that the effect became less interesting as the piece went on. Your score is also well presented, though you should probably mention on it that it’s a non-transposing score. Also, I wasn’t aware that xylophone parts were written an octave lower…

 

Orchestration: 22/25

Programmatic writing: 23/30

Development of thematic material: 19/25

Score Quality: 13/15

Written story/program notes: 9/10

Audio: 8/10

TOTAL: 94/115

 

 

 

The Fox and the Rabbit - SebastianViola

 

As you stated, there is a lot of Prokofiev influence in this piece. The story is interesting in itself, and there are elements of the plot in the music…some of the time. Even though you have a narrator telling the story, I feel like you could’ve done more in the music propelling the plot. To me, the musical interludes between the narrating felt like filler at times, or background music…more akin to a film score. In general, besides the main character’s theme, none of the other motifs are memorable (melodically speaking) or very well developed. The piece also suffers from awkward harmonic progression in each section, and weird placement of voices. The ending (measure 232) is the most egregious example of that.

 

Your writing for string orchestra is adequate, though maybe a little too on the safe side for the lower strings. I think you could benefit from adding extended techniques to bring out certain elements of the story. Most of the time, it just sounds a little too bland. Score is also put together well, so not many complaints there. The audio of the instruments was kinda meh….though I do give you credit for overlaying the narration on top of the MIDI. 

 

Orchestration: 18/25

Programmatic writing: 20/30

Development of thematic material: 10/25

Score Quality: 14/15

Written story/program notes: 9/10

Audio: 8/10

TOTAL: 79/115

 

 

 

Letting Myself Fall - Seni-G

 

Well let me first say, that your plot is very elaborate…probably the most elaborate of all the stories in this competition. The story could very well be adapted into a very interesting opera, or a much developed tone poem of it’s own, or a ballet for that matter. The puzzling thing is that instead you chose to wrote variations on a theme to represent the different plot points. Strauss did something similar in Don Quixote…but then again he wrote the theme himself. I do wonder WHY you chose THAT particular Beethoven theme. I thought that specific piece might be a plot point in your store, but there wasn’t any mention of it….just seems VERY random. Since your plot is so elaborate, this piece suffers in the sense that each variation doesn’t impart the important plot points in the program notes very efficiently. And the fact that you wrote in a theme and variations form, maybe you didn’t have much freedom to do more? I think this story deserves a more Schoenberg-ian (think Verklarte Nacht) tone than a Beethoven-ian one. 

 

Your orchestral writing is fine, though it seems odd you chose to orchestrate the whole thing for a classical period ensemble. Your score is also well put together, so no major complaints there. The audio is also good. In terms of the program notes, its a good thing you put the whole plot so the listeners can understand what each variation is about. But it does seem to be on the long side, and there are some…naughty…words that can be amended. 

 

Orchestration: 23/25

Programmatic writing: 14/30

Development of thematic material: 18/25

Score Quality: 14/15

Written story/program notes: 7/10

Audio: 9/10

TOTAL: 85/115

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@Monarcheon's scores:

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Congratulations to all the other entrants, especially Adrian Quince, whose work was quite deserving of the win. 

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Hi @Monarcheon and @danishali903, thank you both for the great feedback. I'm definitely going to go back and look at some things.

Congratulations to all the entrants. I enjoyed each of your pieces. @Connor_Helms, I'm sure I'll grok your piece some time this century. @Noah Brode, if you choose to keep working on your piece, I'll be happy to help you get it ready for a band. It's good and it should be played.

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Ha it's all good @Adrian Quince.

The lack of development was purposeful to make the aural experience more accessible to non-musicians since it was already a C pandiatonic palette. Instead of changing much of the notes and rhythms themselves (though this constantly does happen in the harp throughout, particularly in the figurations of mvmt I, and in II, as well as in the vioolin 1 part of mvmt 3, and in the extended techniques in the strings in mvmt II and to an extent mvmt I), I decided to drive down an entirely different avenue of develpment technique and style. The motives, germs, themes, figures etc are convertibly counterpointed with each other at different spots and in different ways (especially the main motif of movement III, though the extent and development of the convertible counterpoint is in itself minimal and bare, undeveloped and perhaps undexplored so as not to meander). Alson all the chittara pizz are extremely easily playable. Perhaps you are talking of the KB, in which case its scordatura EACF throughout in case you missed it, so thats literally just strumming all 4 open strings lol...

That said, all critiques of my piece were definitely spot on regardless of aestethic sensibilities and differences of me or the judges, big ups to everyone for taking the time to critique as that's the only way we get better (whether individually or communally).

Admittedly I have not really looked at the other pieces beyond a mere skim. Been busy with orchestration and copyist work lately in addition to my day job as a cook, so I will definitely check into the others' pieces real soon now that the dust of the competition is settled. To be honest, I actually finished and posted up this piece on the internet before I even saw the YC Winter 17 competition, but I realized my piece would sorta work for this. The 2 page program notes were already there obviously, and I figured I would get docked on the narrative part (both the story and it's realization in the music) because of this after-the-fact semi-fit. Perhaps I will participate more in these now. Cheers to everyone.

PS for anyone wanting to learn more about the nature of Sacred Geometry on which this piece is based (the only time people do Sacred Geometry in music is the tired old Fibonacci sequence), look up Scott Onstott and Randall Carlson.

http://www.secretsinplainsight.com/

 

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1 hour ago, Adrian Quince said:

@Noah Brode, if you choose to keep working on your piece, I'll be happy to help you get it ready for a band. It's good and it should be played.

Hey, thank you very much. I'd really appreciate your continuing help if you're able to give it. You know your stuff.

 

The piece definitely needs some work, so hopefully I can submit a revised version in a few weeks taking into account the judges' (spot-on) critiques. I'd be happy to tag you if you're still interested in helping me along. 

 

Also, I was remiss earlier in not thanking @Monarcheon and @danishali903 for their good work in organizing and judging. Thanks!

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Thank you to both judges for all the great feedback! I really appreciate how much time and energy you put into everybody's music. Thank you for making this process so meaningful. I look forward to the next competition!

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