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A Selection of the Best Orchestral and Large Ensemble Pieces (YC Fall Magazine)

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I decided that I should publish this portion of our magazine right here in the Composer's Headquarters for easy access.  This article was written by @luderart and he and @Maarten Bauer went through 236 pieces to choose the best in Orchestral and Large Ensemble Pieces.  It is important to note that these choices are indeed very subjective and the authors state that as well in this excerpt:

Quote

What is a “great piece” of music? How do we evaluate music or even art in general as great? Is it the tradition? Or is it the defying of tradition? Is it the originality? Or is it conformity? Is it novelty? Is it the following of rules or the breaking of them? Is it imitation of past masters? Or is it charting new virgin territory? Is it the innate talent on display? Is it the skill demonstrated? Or is it the presence of a compelling musical message that is being conveyed? Or is it something innate that is simply recognized as great and that cannot admit of any process of identifying or measuring? Maybe it is all of the above in some measure.

It is the best pieces in the Young Composers Forum, or examples of some of the best pieces, that we will be introducing in this column of Young Composers’ Magazine. We will post 2-4 pieces per issue and in different categories.

The category of this first issue is “Orchestral and Large Ensemble Pieces”.

There were 236 pieces when Maarten Bauer and I set out to attempt the difficult task of choosing the best among them. Of course, our subjective judgement was used in these choices. After M. Bauer chose the ten finalists, we each chose two as the ones we judged to be the best. Here are our four choices in no particular order, with the links of the pieces as well as the words of the composers describing them:

Visions of a Renaissance: Tone Poem for Full Orchestra, by Chad E. Hughes (maestrowick)

This piece is about my love for the city of Detroit.  The opening section is the fast past traffic on 1-75 and 1-96.  The slow adagio section is our sun setting upon our riverfront.  The recapitulation of the pizzicato is the masses returning back downtown to the evening festivals, theatre events, sports extravaganzas, and our illustrious Greektown in hopes that the economy of the city shall be revitalized.

Emma Overture, Op. 31 (After the novel by Jane Austen), by Robert F. Beers (Austenite)

Stylistically-wise, this “concert overture” remains fairly within the Romantic ballpark, although spiced up by the usage of some harmonic and rhythmic elements from other musical trends. Nevertheless, and despite the fact that Emma is widely considered to fit into the mold of a “romance novel”, I made a conscious decision to avoid a “love theme” altogether, instead choosing to depict the flowing relationships among the characters by layering their themes one above another, or by having one’s theme breaking into another’s.

Concerto for Euphonium and String Orchestra, by Sojar Voglar

This is one of rare examples in Slovenian literature for euphonium. It is neoclassical concerto with all neccessary features: sonata form, easy-to-follow motifs, transparent orchestration and, frank, even clear tonal centre G major. I was a bit inspired by Hindemith's "Gebrauchmusik" since there is not enough concertos for euphonium to venture into experimental world of art (which is, frequently, terrible for ears and mind as well).

Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, by Sojar Voglar

This is my first large scale concerto. It was created throughout 2001 and 2002. Observing it with my current mind and ear I am still happy with use of cello and its balance with orchestra but I am not so pleased with formal approach.

 

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