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oingo86

Hail Thee, Festival Day arr. for brass trio and organ

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This is an arrangement of one of my favorite hymn tunes, SALVE FESTA DIES by R.V. Williams. As a church organist, I know and play a lot of tunes and this one has always been an Easter favorite of mine. Although, as a United Methodist organist for the past 7-8 years, I never got the chance to play it. Until this past easter when I had a brilliant idea - if the Methodists don't want to sing my favorite Easter tune, I'll just arrange it for organ and brass and present it to them as a prelude! This is what I did, and it went very well, although I got the sense that no one in the congregation had ever heard the tune...

Here is my arrangement of 'Hail Thee, Festival Day', by one of the great English hymn-writers, Ralph Vaughn Williams. Notice the fanfare intro - it will return! Also, in the B section I attempted to create a brass quartet sound, using a tuba stop on either pedals or manual left hand. Listen for the 3rd them to pop it's head in again towards the end!

Comments and criticism welcome. I'm glad to be back to Young Composers Forum, and also to have some music to share!

I'm Nick, by the way. :)

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m. 61, make sure your dynamics are are under the trumpets.
The only places that confused me harmonically were m. 66 and all of C - D. I guess measure 66 can be chalked up to a bit of an awkward modulation, but C - D sounded weirdly neotonal in a pretty traditional setting. Not sure if that's what you were going for or if you should reevaluate the notes in there.
G - H I can tell is supposed to be kind of this epic transition section but it came out kind of weak because of the symphonic approach to a fanfare approach, I think. I can see the rising/falling actions of the section, simulated into the brass and it's just kind of awkward.
Maybe you could have benefitted from another trombone part too? Fill in tonics/inversions when needed? I don't know.
Overall, it's well written. Good job.

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At ms. 66, I did start borrowing from the minor mode here, perhaps it sticks out a little too much considering I barely used that technique elsewhere. As for C-D, I couldn't bear just repeating the same harmony since the theme was being presented for the 2nd time. I knew that at the end when the main theme comes back, I wanted the traditional harmony and to keep it tonal and clear, so when I was writing the 2nd 'verse', knowing that the last time it would be traditional, I felt free to experiment. The harmonies came out slightly jazzy, which is how I re-harmonize in general. I also like to use voice-leading to create some harmonies that aren't even functional, e.g. beats 3+4 of ms. 25, and playing with major/minor in opposite fashion of traditional harmony. So, I guess I'd say that was exactly what I intended, if only for the break of monotony regarding the traditional harmony that is repeated.

Thanks for your insight - I was always a little let down by how the big transition at G came out - I think you nailed it on the head when you described it as (paraphrasing): a failed symphonic attempt. I guess sometimes my musical brain forgets what ensemble I'm writing for until I orchestrate - I really did hear strings and winds and bells when I conceptualized this transition, and perhaps it feels weak because the intent was a larger sound than what I had to work with. 

Thanks!

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It's nice to see how to write for the organ. 

My point of view is a bit different. Without that borrowed chords and the C part especially, this piece would have be boring to me. 
I don't see trouble in mixing harmonic systems. Eclecticism...

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