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Noah Brode

Five Friedrich Pictures

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Hey, I've finally finished this piece that I started in the summer of 2016! It's a musical rendering of five paintings by the German Romantic-era artist Caspar David Friedrich. I previously posted just the first movement, but here's the work in its entirety (with visuals). Any and all thoughts and comments are very much appreciated. Thanks for listening! (PS - The scores are pretty rough but I'm too tired to fix it, sorry)

 

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Oh MAN Noah!  These are COOL!  

I looked at the paintings before perusing your scores, and I think you've captured the character of the art in music beautifully.  Your thematic material, your orchestral colors, the huge variety of textures - first rate, man!  I only wish it were a real orchestra playing these.  All in good time!  

What's your instrument?  I suspect you're a fiddle-player, 'cause you've given the concertmaster as well as the principal 'cellist a very nice showpiece here, along with gorgeous solos for several of the principal winds.  Dang but you've done a nice job handling your orchestra!  I think I'm almost jealous!  

A word with you about articulations though (or the lack thereof):  you said this score was pretty rough, but there are a lot of passages in here that I couldn't help feeling should be slurred more - or something. At first I thought maybe you'd just not put any in anywhere, but then I noticed some used judiciously here and there; but still, are you sure you want all those lovely melodies tongued or bowed on every note?  If I were you, I'd keep in mind that just because playback plays every note full value, that doesn't mean live musicians are going to, and I'd be more specific about what I wanted played more smoothly, else you might end up with each note articulated separately, and I don't think that's what you're going for.  If you know this is exactly what you want, then great, but I just thought I'd mention it in case it was something you hadn't given much thought. 

You did a really good job of writing idiomatically for most of the instruments.  I loved your harp parts in particular - they're idiomatic and add an ethereal quality like any good harp part.  I think you may have asked too much of your poor glockenspiel player in movement 5 though; at that tempo, I'm not at all sure what you've written can be played accurately.  I'm not a percussionist though, so I might be wrong; all I know is I probably wouldn't have written it.  It sure sounds cool though!  😄

Congratulations on what to my ears and sensibilities is a triumph of programmatic music making!  Keep up the good work!        

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@J. Lee Graham - Thanks for listening, and thanks for all your wonderful compliments! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. It certainly took me a long enough time to compose, especially the last movement.

About the glockenspiel part there -- I see what you mean. I played mallets in my high school concert band, and I think it's doable, but it might require some practice hours on the part of the player to develop the muscle memory.

You're right about the lack of articulations, especially slurs. I really will need to go over the whole score and add them as needed once my head clears up a bit. 

I'm actually not a violinist -- I just dabble in classical guitar and piano. I spend most of my musical time composing, though. 🙂

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The only thing I'm going to nick-pick about this wonderful composition is that you should change "Contrabass" to "Doublebass".  Don't mix the instrument languages.  Contrabass is French, Doublebass is English.  Speaking of language, you use the German language for the opening style.  In American typesetting, you use English or Italian (a weird orchestration/typesetting rule).

Something to think about,

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@maestrowick - Thanks for listening! I'm glad you enjoyed it. You're right to point out the inconsistencies of the score. I thought it would be a nice subtle homage to Friedrich to put the tempo markings in German, but I guess I forgot about that after the first movement! Whoops 😅

Thanks again for taking the time to listen and comment. It will motivate me to clean up the mess of the score sooner rather than later!

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