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The_Emissary_-__8_6_18.mp3

This is to be my entry for the latest competition, End Of The World. I'm working up to the wire to meet today's deadline, so I'll have to upload the story and the rest of the score as soon as I can. Hopefull my internet connection will last until Midnight.

 

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Note: I would advise everyone to read the story before you listen to the music. It won't make much sense otherwise. Thanks!🙂

I forgot to mention and acknowledge the sound effects courtesy of the BBC Sound Effects Library and Symphobia.

** If you have a problem where the music stops mid-song, please use a  browser other than Firefox. Thanks.

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Thanks for submitting, there's a lot in here I like! You make it seem so easy. Sigh...!

I'm interested to read your notes, I'm not familiar with The Emissary.

Gustav Johnson

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I love that you took the time to write an end of the world story as well as such a large scale piece of music by the deadline.  You have been very busy!  The sound libraries sound great.  Particularly for the strings, which is important, given the story line.  I feel like you could have developed some of your themes more completely.  (I'm at about 12:30, where you introduce a nice little melody, and then it fades away.  It could have hung in there for a little more growth.) 

Monumental take on the theme, but very peaceful!

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Yes! That would be a good idea, and that's the place to do it. But I guess I had the finish line in sight and it is a fragile thing. I didn't want to lose it due to an unplanned tributary. Because the trouble with tributaries is that they lead to other tributaries.

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I've read the story, and the piece makes much more sense now. Beautiful to listen to.

Firstly, let me say that I would love to have observed you as you made the audio for the prologue and epilogue - I'm fascinated by the sounds you used and the way you used them together, and would love to know how to do that. Secondly, electric clarinet?!?!?! Does that actually exist?!?!?!

There are a few places where instruments are doing impossible (or at least highly irregular!) things, like the trombones hitting B's and C's above the Treble staff! Mind you I'm looking at the condensed score, so maybe that's not actually the trombones, but if so I'm not sure how possible that is. Stuff like that, but I have the impression this isn't meant to be performed live, rather performed via keyboards/etc. and mixed into a final track. In that case, do whatever the heck you want because computers can do anything.

Compositionally, I don't have much to say because it's very good. The instrumental lines worked together quite well, each waiting as another moved or else complementing it in some way. I don't feel a solid melody take me until the Electric Clarinet finishes its eighth notes. image.png.dcb999ee21120fa9bd20db99a7715f4c.png Then things started to feel more melodic. Good violin line soon after, nice to have something to hold onto. Now you're wrapping up the prologue in a very satisfying way. Enter the violin and others, I'll be interested to hear how the others become affected by the violin melody, as your story suggests. Interesting harmonies and harmonic rhythms. I hear some of the violin work in the woodwinds/brass, that's nice, especially with the fragmentation. The separation (in pitch range and in texture) between backgrounds and melodic content helps to clarify things as I listen. Now I'm at the lighter section, more staccato. Nice! A beautiful change in character, well executed. Not sure I understand what point in the story it aligns with, except the general hopefulness as people join the music. This section is probably my favorite as a listener - it has an EXCELLENT balance in rhythmic movement and sustained sounds. What's with the new themes at K and beyond?

image.png.6e4e01d04d4e5440aee82a307e667ce8.png

They're nice and well executed, but unrelated except in style to the previous ideas - at least to my ear. Maybe there's some music theory thing I'm missing that ties them into the previous ideas.

Beautiful ending, perfect for the story. Your work has made me reconsider the sounds of the Apocalypse, thank you!

Good job, sir!

Gustav Johnson

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***  Firstly, let me say that I would love to have observed you as you made the audio for the prologue and epilogue - I'm fascinated by the sounds you used and the way you used them together, and would love to know how to do that. Secondly, electric clarinet?!?!?! Does that actually exist?!?!?!   ****

Thank you, Gustav. Me too! I was in great shape for the beginning and the end, but frazzled during everything else. I definately mean for it to be playable by real musicians. Some of your questions would be answered if I had remembered to subimt an appropriate abstract for this, along with performance notes, etc.  As it is, the judges will have to infer everything from just the story and the music, if they so choose. If you uncompressed the little story here it would take up years, and then the music might be of shorter movements, more episodic. But in the compessed version I had to make the transitions more immediate. So I limited it to  ONE. When the music changes from the drones into rhythm and finally song, that represents (one) spontaineous happening in London, with English musicians, etc. Make sense? All in all, the melodies near the end are based on the drone theme which is based on the opening theme and finally coalesced as the Brits might do it.

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I love the mood you set with the beautiful violin melody emerging naturally from the piercing and chaotic woodwind chord. (Also, I’m really jealous of your sound library.) The harmonic flow is really graceful and beautiful without falling into cliche. It’s not necessarily the mood you’d expect out of an “end of the world” story, but given the narrative you provided, it makes a lot of sense. My only qualm thus far (about 7:00 in) is that we’ve had a lot of soft, sad, beautiful chords for a while without much contrast. The return of that piercing woodwind chord was really helpful in that regard. I really enjoyed the mood you set around 9:00 -- it sounds like an orchestra tuning, which makes sense given the story. At 10:00 we get some welcome rhythmic interest that changes the mood while fitting in with the overarching theme. The transition into the coda at 13:30 is a bit abrupt, but that’s something I’m often guilty of as well, so I won’t dwell on that. I do think you might have prolonged the coda a bit more to balance out the much longer rhythmic section that preceded it.

Overall, I think you deserved the win with this piece. It was graceful and peaceful and hopeful, with a great narrative arc. It’s clear that you put a lot of work into your music and story, and the result was gorgeous in a way I didn’t expect from the theme of the competition.

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Thanks for your comments, Noah. I’m glad you picked up on the orchestra tuning because it was meant to convey the ensemble at rehearsal as well as a musical aesthetic and connective element. I had to scrap about five minutes of music (plan A) because I didn’t think I had the time to flesh it out. So except for the prologue, the rest is plan B. I don’t know if you’re familiar with M Night Shyamalan’s films, but there usually is a long buildup to an ending twist. Sometimes it works and sometimes not. I think the part you wished was longer was my twist. And once you state the twist, well, it's pretty much over.

I used some new libraries for the first time, and this took some time to learn before I could compose anything. Symphobia brass and Spitfire Chamber Strings, which I’m really happy with. In general, I think that beauty should be part of every musical aesthetic. Which is why I remarked about your piece, because the eerie bits had a touch of whimsy which is not at all at odds with death or destruction, in my view.

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