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HoYin Cheung

Sententia for Solo Cello and Orchestra [POOR FORM ENTRY]

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Dear all,

This work is written as an Entry piece for the Poor Form Competition. Please check the playlist in Soundcloud:
 

It's again a long time since I upload any of my new works. And yes, I faced many personal and social challenges, and probably I reflected those frustrations and fear in this piece.

For the (fantasized) story, here is a short plot:

Mov I - Born in Chaos:  It is depicting the early life of the Prince born in a falling and chaotic empire. The Prince (As in the heroic theme, uplifting as in Strauss's Poems) is the only thing that gives hope for the empire. The rest of the passages are all dark and spreading horrors, mimicking wars and famines.

Mov II - Prince's Troops: The Prince is now a young leader of the empire. The troops he recruit show their power to his people and march to the battlefield.

Mov III - Rite for the Dead: The Prince has won the battle and settle the threats. In remembrance of the dead, he holds a ritual for them to praise their contributions. All souls are remembered and blessed.

I am enjoying this challenge and I hope you enjoy this work, too!  I have planned to write more movements on this theme, but due to the deadline I shall submit these 3 first. (Tell me if you think there can be more! :D)

Best,

HoYin

 

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Very nice job, HoYin! If you don't mind my asking, do you use specific scales to guide your harmonies? Or is it all just based on what you're feeling? Either way, it sounds cool!

Best wishes on the competition!

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20 hours ago, Tónskáld said:

Very nice job, HoYin! If you don't mind my asking, do you use specific scales to guide your harmonies? Or is it all just based on what you're feeling? Either way, it sounds cool!

Best wishes on the competition!

 

I don't really limit/plan my harmonies by specific scales. I do change the mode intentionally for the subject every time it appears, and the subject leads the development. 

I am glad you like it:)

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I didn't think anyone but luderart would write a sententia, although you both have unique interpretations of the word. This sounded pretty cool! I didn't even really think about having a story or theme to go with the music for my submission, and I'm actually surprised at how many of you guys did include something like that. It makes the listening experience more engaging for me! Nice work and good luck!

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@KJthesleepdeprived For me, the main theme is like the main character of a drama and he/she just appear in every scene, haha!

I respect Luderart's definition of Sententia, but I just use the Latin meaning of it... to make some favour to this title lol. Anyways, thank you!

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HoYin!

I’m listening to this piece for the first time while I free-write some comments for you. I’m excited – your description is really intriguing and I can’t wait to hear it!

 

I.                    Captivating opening theme. I must admit that music in this style is hard for me to follow, modern harmonies/etc. isn’t my strong suit, but I’ll do my best. Your theme which will be used as shared material is robust enough to be recognizable, but also flexible enough to allow for sufficient material to be born from it. Good percussion accents within the piece, I wonder if maybe they could have been used to create a sense of motion that might help drive the phrasing? We finally get that around 2:00-2:15, which is really nice. The ethereal section is nice (2:30-3:00), and a nice use of pizzicato to create a new texture. 3:30 is really nice style-wise. Very emotional and brooding!

II.                 Same opening, until the horns! That’s exciting, it lifts the energy a little bit. I can tell a difference in the texture of this one already. Careful on the low drone notes – be careful that they don’t clash or create unintentional dissonance. Good snare drum ostinato, it gets stale after a while. Some flams, rolls, or variations to help accent the phrasing may be nice. Another possibility is to share it across instruments (i.e. pass it to the brass or strings occasionally). I like when you alter the ostinato rhythm, it’s a good rhythmic pattern. I expected some more power from this movement, something indicating the vast strength of the prince’s army, but it seems reserved. Don’t be afraid to let out all the stops! Sometimes writing full orchestration with lots of doubling at loud (ish) volumes can be appropriate and effective!

III.              Good compositional techniques. Your interplay between voices is effective and well balanced. Waiting for something that sounds like a “Rite”, though, and while I hear plenty of spooky sounding stuff nothing screams “HEY WE’RE AT A FUNERAL!!” to me, haha. Around 2:20 (ish) we start getting to something that sounds more mournful. Around 3:00, now we’re getting somewhere, and this seems more like what I expected. Maybe I was expecting the wrong type of thing – I shouldn’t let my expectations get in the way of the music you’ve written. Oooh, I like the ending. That’s really nice, and I could have used more of that type of idea throughout the piece.

 

Overall, you write well in terms of your individual lines. The complete picture is somewhat muddy for me, but there are also probably things I miss because I don’t have the best ears and I haven’t taken time to train them in this style. Your second movement felt the most cohesive to me, probably because of the obvious shared ostinato. I wish there was some core idea that each movement would have had unto itself.

A good composition!

 

Gustav Johnson

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It's bold and dramatic, and I appreciate the amount of work that goes into orchestrating a musical piece of this size and scope. It seems as though you tried hard to balance the 'dark and dramatic' with the 'bright and lovely', if you know what I mean. The second movement is the best to my ears. That said, there were some harmonic choices throughout the whole of the piece that I didn't really "get" or agree with, and parts of it seemed rather 'helter skelter'. Overall, though, I'd say this is a work of impressive scale, and a solid entry. 👍

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