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Beethovenian Symphony Movement for Piano

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Occasionally for my own study and enjoyment I'll compose music modeled after and in the spirit of other composers who I admire. This piece is a symphony movement I modeled after Beethoven.

It amazes me how emulating another composer rubs some people the wrong way. If you have an issue with this I suggest you push the back button and save yourself 10 minutes of your life. No hard feelings. :cool:

That being said, I composed this to practice both composition and orchestration in preparation for writing my own symphonies. It's a sonata form movement with a simple theme that's developed in Beethovenian fashion. Its currently in piano form, I haven't orchestrated it yet but I've been studying his first 4 symphonies intently. I admire Beethoven's mixture of humor and drama. I'd love to hear any feedback you might have or any tips you might have for orchestration. Thanks for listening!


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Let me preface my (brief) comments. I thoroughly approve of and encourage this sort of stuff. Like languages, the best way to learn music is by actively practising it, whether through performing, composing, analysing or simply listening engagedly. So long as you have learned something from composing this piece and you are confident of you artistic agency in your creation, you have done something worthwhile. Never pay heed to those who refuse to take stylistic composition seriously, those who attempt in vain to resurrect the dead horses of modernist conceptions of originality and authenticity and drape them around themselves, as if the rotting carcasses and accompanying swarms of flies could mask the sight that the emperor has no clothes! It's precisely these people who don't want to understand, and possibly even dislike, older music.


Now on to your music. I've only listened through once, and because I'm not at liberty to give you detailed feedback, especially without the aid of a score, my comments will necessarily be short and general. You seem to have developed a fair grasp of the harmony, melodic figurations and textures of the period. That being said, there were some slip-ups (e.g. inexplicably abrupt modulations in the development, or the superimposition of D-C# over melodic B-G-E-C# in the bass at the medial caesura). While this was stylistically reminiscent of Beethoven as a whole, bits of it were rather Schubertian, but that's not a bad thing.

What I found disappointing was that you don't seem to demonstrate enough awareness of how classical music functions at the middle- and large-scales. Take your first 'theme', for example. Are you aware that what you have here is very unusual for a first theme? It's essentially a 'cadential' phrase (i.e. what you expect to be the second half of a theme, and its recognisably cadential despite how persistently and artfully you evade the strongly implied perfect cadence) stated four times, with the last two bars repeated once before the true cadential bit comes in. I appreciate how you subtly delay and build towards this first perfect cadence, but the 'theme' strikes me as unidiomatic nonetheless. I also felt that there wasn't control over the pacing of form or the rhetoric (the recapitulation wasn't prepared for), and surprising elements or events don't often have an obvious musical logic to them, when it should be in this (early/late Beethovenian) style.

I'm ready to illustrate and defend what I mean in analytical terms, so feel free to ask. However, it will be a while before I can respond thoroughly.

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