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Hey folks,

This is my latest composition, Ruth. It will be performed by my church's orchestra sometime in the Spring or Summer. I am looking for feedback on this so hit me with anything you've got! I know each section is pretty short, but it's what I had to do in order to fit the type of concert it will be performed at.

Thanks!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-c3YJdnU_Lg

 

Edited by celloman99
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Rabbival, did you seriously just ask someone to take hours to recompose their piece to save you 15 minutes of time listening to it??  If you don't have time to review, just don't review.    😄

Celloman, what a great opportunity!  I think you're going to get more out of the experience of rehearsing and listening to the live performance than you will from our comments at this point, but I COMPLETELY understand the desire to provide a polished piece for the musicians you will be working with.  

The thing that stands out the most to me is a tendency toward chord, chord, chord homophony, or mechanically repeating rhythms.  It feels like a video game score more than an orchestral score in that respect.  There's nothing wrong with that, if it's a sound you like, but you could play with having some more counterpoint, (can you add a countermelody here and there?), stretching rhythms over bar lines, and substituting some longer note durations in for the repeated rhythmic textures here and there in one or more parts.  Syncopating a few more rhythms would also up the complexity of the sound and provide a bit of variety.  It's very straight as it stands.  But again, that's only a problem if you hear it as one.  It's a stylistic choice.  

How familiar are you with the players you'll be working with?  What is their skill level?  It's worth thinking about if you haven't already.  If you've got a really cracking flautist, write in something juicy for them.  If the cellos are your weakest section, keep that in mind.  Who is conducting and do they have the skill level to cue everything that needs a cue if these are mainly amateur players and everyone (conductor included) will have a limited amount of time to spend studying the finished score before the performance?  

Would it increase your success if you made practice videos for each part?  Or midi files?  Would the players actually use them enough to justify the effort, or are there better ways to use your time?

Have a fabulous time!

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@pateceramics

Thanks so much for all of these great suggestions! You are right that no matter how hard you work on the score, you learn a ton at the live rehearsals! 

I will definitely take your suggestions under consideration. I really appreciate you listening and giving such a detailed response.

Thanks!!

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@celloman99

Ok, I just set down and listened to the whole thing. Once.

There were some beautiful parts in there, but, try to act surprised-

I still think that it needs to get much shorter.

Yes, I saw the Pateceramics was mad at me for asking that.

But I'm being truly honest with you- it's really important, especially if you're going to present it to a live audience.

Yes, I write long pieces too. It's not a bad thing. But if you want people to be able to follow your piece- you need to build it differently.

If someone reads the scroll and the music plays in the background- why not.

But for a standalone- it sounds like lots of ideas with nothing that ties them together.

Choose a few good ones and build it with them, then it would be easier to follow and you'd be able to play with the audience's expectations.

It would also help you to achieve climaxes. I mean, just listen to this: https://youtu.be/XN8gPvX48p4?t=222

at that point the audience are so familiar with what's about to come that a climax can be achieved,

simply with that anticipation. (Miyazaki uses the same theme lots of times, but that's a sort of extreme example, I don't mean that you should do that too).

 

Ok I already built a whole conversation in my head so I'll simply write it down.

You:"Well look at what Stravinsky did in The Rite of Spring! that's a bunch of ideas thrown together and TWICE the length of my piece!"

Me:"But Stravinsky made such drastic changes in rhythms, dynamics and harmonies for his time that he was able to keep the piece... more than interesting.

Also the first reaction of the audience for his piece wasn't very charming to say the least."

You:"Stravinsky came to mimic ancient Russian music in a story that's set in ancient Russia. My story is set in ancient Israel!

If anything, it should be inspired by Jewish music, that's less ritual and wild."

Me:"I've been listening to Jewish folk since I was born to due to the society I live in, and you're right, it isn't close to being as wild as Stravinsky's famous work. 

And yet, the songs are mostly short and keep the audience's attention using their words, not their repetitive melody."

(Btw I have an idea to develop a Jewish folk, if you want we'll talk about it privately later)

You:"But I didn't come to mimic the Jewish folk at all! I just wanted to musically tell the story as I know it from my town and my church."

Me:"Well reading a bit about Jewish folk might help you make it more authentic but nevermind that. I personally don't remember this story exactly because I'm not a religious man.

You shouldn't try and do what Stravinsky did. It's not a story of that kind. You shouldn't make it sound more like Jewish folk if that's not what you wish.

Also I was about to suggest that you make it sound more like christian songs from the middle ages, parallel perfect fifths, three or four counterpoint voices like in Bach's works, etc.

But You shouldn't force yourself to do any of these if that's not what you wish."

You:"That's a lot of words for saying... not much. What do you suggest I so if I don't want to consider any of these?"

Me:"I think that you should analyze the story in your own way, finding common themes. Then choose a musical idea that would represent each theme.

That way, you'll have music that would be easier to follow, and would still tell the story, just in a different way.  

Also if you don't like one way it comes out, you can try and analyze it differently. That's the beauty of literature analysis-

you can look at one piece of literature with a few different 'glasses'."

 

So sit with your priest and analyze it together. Maybe, with the players too if they're religious people.

(Also sit for a few hours with the piano player and look over piano pieces so you learn how to better write for piano)

After that, choose your most favorite themes from your existing piece, or make entirely new ones if you wish.

Choose what each musical idea represents in the story, and there you go-

you'll have a piece that makes sense storytelling-wise (even in a more sophisticated way) and also is easier to follow for the audience.

 

I hope you'll find my review helpful :)

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17 hours ago, pateceramics said:

to take hours to recompose their piece to save you 15 minutes of time listening to it

I did take the time to listen to it, actually did so twice because I listened once again while writing my review.

And look, I still asked him to take hours to recompose his piece- because I believe that he should take some time to make it better.

Pieces have to be deconstructed in order to be reconstructed in a better way.

I hope you'd understand.

 

Also I don't believe in that:

17 hours ago, pateceramics said:

If you don't have time to review, just don't review. 

I won't have much time to review pieces in the next... I don't know, a few years.

I believe that one could ask me to focus on a few places in his piece.

It's a matter of the quality of the review, I could listen to a piece once but I won't understand it as well as if I had listened to it five times or more.

I asked him nicely and look what happened at the end-

I decided to give him from my time instead of working on my own works although I don't have much time for any of these things.

 

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I tend to agree with others about the lack of rhythmic variation but then this may have been your intention given the context. (I haven't yet looked for other of your works). It works because the composition breaks down into several sections. I thought it was quite cleverly composed. The scoring of the opening seemed a little thin - the violin soaring above a deeper dense accompaniment - again this may be what you're aiming for particularly as the dynamics are f.   The work's ending is quite dramatic.

As midi doesn't often do justice I looked at the score. There were a couple of curiosities. At bar 166 (and further along, for instance, Flute 1 breaks into 2 parts. Perhaps it would be wise to declare what you mean. It doesn't appear to be just alternative parts for flute 1 so maybe mark it flutes 1 &3 or Flute 3 if available so future conductors know what's going on. Also sometimes you beam quavers, sometimes not. You may have a reason for doing this, like in the violin parts it could mean detaché when you don't. Is it a substitute for phrasing/slurring?

Best wishes for the performance (which at this late stage!) may already have happened.

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