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Concert Overture in Bb Major


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This is an updated version of a concert overture I wrote in CPE style (mostly Classical Era style, with a bit of Romantic flair, and an ending that veers wildly into other territory) a few years back. I fixed a few mistakes in the score and added a better sound file. All comments and criticisms are welcome! I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for listening.

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Hi Noah, thanks for sharing your piece. I really liked the opening with the tremolo violins above the horn melody, it kind has a "Blue Danube Waltz" feel to it. 

One thing I noticed is you have the trumpets entering at Rehearsal B on a high concert Bb. I would think the trumpets would completely dominate the orchestra in this register, I'm not sure if that was the intention after the preceding quiet section. Also in the section you have the Flutes and Oboes on repeated staccato notes, I wonder what it would sound like if instead of repeated notes they were playing a staccato arpeggiated figure. I think this might add a little "flair" to the winds in this section. 

I noticed you like to bounce between a 6/8 and 3/4 feel at several points throughout this piece, which is a really neat effect. From a notation standpoint, it would help if you grouped the note stems to make this easier for the performers to realize. For example, at Rehearsal D, group the first two measures as a 6/8 feel, then return to 3/4 for the next few bars that have the "triple" feel. You don't need to actually change the time signature, but group the notes so the rhythmic "feel" is more obvious to the performer. 

I wondered if I could also ask you about the form you used. From what I can tell you use AB, repeat AB, development, BA. I was curious how you came up with the structure of the development (starting at Rehearsal G and ending at Rehearsal J). I can find references to the original themes, but some things seem kind of random. For example, the Bb clarinet part 5 measures after Rehearsal H - is this derived from some of the earlier themes, or is it new material? If this is something I'm just missing please feel free to point it out.

Also, was there any reason you chose to recap theme B (starting at Rehearsal J) before you recap theme A (Rehearsal L)? Not that there is anything wrong with doing this, just curious why you decided to flip them in the recap. Btw, I liked your decision to restate theme B in the low strings and bassoons at Rehearsal J, and I liked how the timpani adds to the "bounciness" of the "triple" rhythmic feel here.

Thanks again for sharing!

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1 hour ago, gmm said:

I would think the trumpets would completely dominate the orchestra in this register

Yes, you are probably right. I don't play a wind instrument, so it's always helpful for me to get insights like this. Thanks 🙂

1 hour ago, gmm said:

From a notation standpoint, it would help if you grouped the note stems to make this easier for the performers to realize

Amazing idea that I would not have even considered if you hadn't mentioned it. I actually tend to do this rhythmic change-up fairly often in 3/4, so this is a useful tip for me. I've even been experimenting with layering 3/4 and 6/8 rhythms on top of each other in more contemporary-sounding pieces. 

1 hour ago, gmm said:

For example, the Bb clarinet part 5 measures after Rehearsal H - is this derived from some of the earlier themes, or is it new material?

It's a bit of new material for sure, though the flute is playing a slow, D minor version of the main theme during this bit. The orchestration just sounded a bit thin to me there, so I added in the clarinet as counterpoint. You may have noticed that I'm pretty poor at creating development sections in general. It's always been my Achilles heel. 

As for the 'BA' recapitulation, I can only say that I wanted to end the piece with that particular restatement of the main theme. I thought about having it be a sort of ABA recapitulation, with a full restatement of the main theme after the development section, but I thought that might be... overdoing it. 

Thank you for all of your compliments! I am glad you liked certain aspects of the piece, and you've certainly given me some things to think about. 

@gmm

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1 hour ago, Noah Brode said:

You may have noticed that I'm pretty poor at creating development sections in general. It's always been my Achilles heel.

Mine as well. I find it helps to go in with a plan. When you wrote it, did you already have an idea where you were going to end up with the recap? For example, if you already knew what you wanted Rehearsal J to sound like (or at least had a general idea), and you already knew what the end of the exposition sounds like, that would help you plan how to get from A to B.

1 hour ago, Noah Brode said:

As for the 'BA' recapitulation, I can only say that I wanted to end the piece with that particular restatement of the main theme. I thought about having it be a sort of ABA recapitulation, with a full restatement of the main theme after the development section, but I thought that might be... overdoing it. 

I like the way you did it. I think it ends better with the A theme than it would have with the B theme.

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