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Piano Quartet no. 2, Op. 10, Mvt. 2


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Hello everyone,

Again, it's been a while since I have posted anything, and I figured I might as well post something I'm currently working on, my Piano Quartet no. 2. The complete work is almost done, and will hopefully be out soon. The performance is at the Ameropa International Chamber Music Summer School in Prague, Czech Republic. As usual, I'm playing the piano part. I apologize about the poor quality of the recording.

I hope you all enjoy, and happy holidays, everyone! 🙂

Edited by Theodore Servin
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The harmonies and "close transformations" (in a Neo-Riemannian sense) between chords are lovely. The change at around the 6:30 mark was extremely welcome. I got a little tired of the repeated statement of the theme in different instruments in the beginning portion; it's such a tender and malleable theme. Maybe I just thought more interplay could be done as opposed to featured appearances (I adored everything after that 6:30 mark, for instance). However, I do see how everything comes in line to form a specific atmosphere, and I can't take that away from the work. The force of the dichotomy of constant formal motion vs. static developmental motion is not lost to me, but feels a little bit too literal. Fantastic work, though.

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Thank you for commenting, @Monarcheon! I really appreciate your insight and compliments!

I admit, I was a little worried about how people would react to the constant repetitive motion of the theme throughout the piece. On the other hand, I couldn't really see any other way of utilizing it in a meaningful way (also, I didn't have much time to think about it - there was a deadline that had to be met for this piece). However, I'm very happy to hear that you still liked the way the piece was constructed overall, so thank you again!

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For me, chamber works like this are intimate glimpses into the composer's psyche -perhaps it's the expressionist in me? Anyways, this is very true of Piano Quartets, Piano Trios, String Quartets, and String Trios (uber-specific right). What strikes me about this particular piece is the lyricism you display here. It can be difficult to pull off lyricism like this -and you do it well. The violin part almost has this longing, emotionally unfulfilled vibe to it -enough to bring tears to your eyes. 

I think what would help this is to perhaps take a cue from Beethoven (really, choose any of the slow movements from his symphonies), instead of keeping the theme constant for long periods of time (as you do here) he abruptly stops the material to bring in a contrasting theme. This is where form is important. The overall feel of your piece is of a sustained theme with limited variations. While I do agree there was a change in the texture -a type of release from the relentlessness emotion that came before- the theme doesn't change at all.

That said, I think this would be better if you could find a way to introduce contrasting material that compliments this and strengthens the overall emotional nature of the work. 

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Thank you for commenting, @jawoodruff!

Quote

What strikes me about this particular piece is the lyricism you display here. It can be difficult to pull off lyricism like this -and you do it well. The violin part almost has this longing, emotionally unfulfilled vibe to it -enough to bring tears to your eyes. 

That's quite a compliment. I'm glad you liked the way the lyrical material was executed here.

Quote

I think what would help this is to perhaps take a cue from Beethoven (really, choose any of the slow movements from his symphonies), instead of keeping the theme constant for long periods of time (as you do here) he abruptly stops the material to bring in a contrasting theme. This is where form is important. The overall feel of your piece is of a sustained theme with limited variations. While I do agree there was a change in the texture -a type of release from the relentlessness emotion that came before- the theme doesn't change at all.

That said, I think this would be better if you could find a way to introduce contrasting material that compliments this and strengthens the overall emotional nature of the work. 

You are right about thematic contrast being important, as in the cases of Beethoven's slow movements that you mentioned. The idea of this movement, however, was to simply use this one melody. The reasons will become clearer when I release the full work. That said, I suppose I could have introduced some more contrasting ideas.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Veery cool.

People have talked about the repetition of the theme so I won't say anything about that. As you said, it will be justified as one listens to the full work.

On 12/20/2019 at 11:44 PM, Theodore Servin said:

The idea of this movement, however, was to simply use this one melody. The reasons will become clearer when I release the full work.

What I think could be improved is the texture. Perhaps you could introduce a section in which the music becomes more sparse. You do have that moment around 7:00, which is quite nice, but I feel like it is less a diferenciation in density than it is in intensity, if it makes any sense. The music diminishes until it almost fades, but it is directly intervened by another restatement of the theme, which I thought was a bit anticlimatic. It led into thinking that another section would be presented, or that some important aspects of the music would change. 

Perhaps a texture closer to that of the introduction would sound very pleasing around that moment, and it would be a nice moment to expand on the theme a bit.

One way or another, I think you did a great job at using one theme over and over without sounding repetitive. As said by @jawoodruff, I also like how lyrical this gets.

Congratulations 🙂

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Thank you for commenting, @Jean Szulc! That is a good suggestion, to have a section of the piece be more sparse than the rest of it. I actually did have a moment were the piece was slowed down substantially, but decided it didn't really fit, as I was aiming for emotional consistency. I guess I could have achieved that without changing the emotional character, though.

I really appreciate your insight and suggestions, as well as your compliments!

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Wow, I love de lyricism of the pieces and the imitation dialog between strings and piano. Charming romantic style, very emotive...it reminds me of Rachmaninoff's piano concertos. 

Formwise I can see a perfect unity and flow all through the movement.

Notable work! Keep on posting please 😉

Happy new year!

Edited by Guillem82
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  • 3 weeks later...

Wow, very beautiful. For me I'm with the consensus that you need more contrast in form and material. For instance, more ascending passages as opposed to the constantly descending passages, and it would have been lovely to hear the initial material develop into a strong simpler theme (the opening notes at :17 are 'I can show you the world' from A Whole New World!). Amazing quality, seriously well done, and many thanks for sharing. 

Mike

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  • 7 months later...

The passion and emotionality of your music is something that I feel my own music misses.  I think you use the theme well to create very intense passages that are constantly contrasted with well chosen harmonic changes (do I hear chromatic mediants?)  I wish I had a score of this to read to verify my own curiosities about the harmony that you use so effectively to create such intensity.  The harmony keeps it constantly new.  The long denouement is appropriate for this style.  You seem to do well with writing very soft endings which my own music lacks.  I think this is the best piece I've heard of yours yet!  Well done!

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On 12/20/2019 at 1:49 AM, Theodore Servin said:

Hello everyone,

Again, it's been a while since I have posted anything, and I figured I might as well post something I'm currently working on, my Piano Quartet no. 2. The complete work is almost done, and will hopefully be out soon. The performance is at the Ameropa International Chamber Music Summer School in Prague, Czech Republic. As usual, I'm playing the piano part. I apologize about the poor quality of the recording.

I hope you all enjoy, and happy holidays, everyone! 🙂

 

I like the neo romantic harmonies and the chromaticism that goes beyond that. It is really something to watch you flow. Bigly amazing... bigly!

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