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Trio nr 1 for violin, violoncello and piano


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Hello everyone,

Here is my first piano trio, which I composed several years ago. This was really a challenge for me, with a lot of thoughts and a lot of work.  Recently, I made a revision of the score, which I am posting here, (but there are probably still additional things to correct).

The piece consists of three movements, following a classical style, with major influences from Beethoven, Mozart, and particularly, Schubert.

I hope that you will enjoy this piece, and I am very interested to obtain your critical comments.

Best regards

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Thank you for sharing this, Johan. I think your assessment of influence is spot on. The texture in particular definitely reminds me of Schubert. I've listened to the piece a couple of times now and think there is some very nice writing here. The exposition of the first movement strikes me as particularly effective. I enjoy the tunefulness, and though they seldom surprise me, I find the harmonic progressions effective and evocative. I also particularly enjoyed the surprising modulations in the 3rd movement, such as at bar 17 and rehearsal G.

I'm not actually certain how useful criticism would be to you, as this is an older work, as you say. Much of what I write would probably be things you've already noticed yourself years ago. But since you requested it, here are three critical thoughts I had about this as I listened the second time:

1) I understand your intention behind some of the rather shocking dissonances. Dissonance in this style can be very effective, but a listener needs to perceive it as intentional. For instance, the famous dissonance in the 1st movement of the Eroica symphony was surely intentional on Beethoven's part, and as listeners, we can't help but to understand it as integral to the effect. That passage would be LESS effective without the dissonance. What causes this perception? Well, I really haven't figured that out. I just know it when I hear it.

There are many places where you use dissonance effectively in this piece, but in other cases, I perceive it much more like a mistake on either the performer's or the composer's part rather than intentional. Examples of this would be the downbeat of bar 16 in the slow movement and beats 3-4 of 93 in the third movement. When you work this up for performance, pay close attention to the effect of those kinds of passages - is it really what you wanted? That's the question I'd be asking myself if I had composed this, and I often find the effect on real instruments to be very different from what we get with a MIDI. Sometimes things that work well on MIDI don't work well with real instruments and vice versa. You may like the effect on a real piano; personally, I didn't like it at all when I tried it myself.

Of course, whether I like it or not is irrelevant if you like it! Just be sure it's the effect you actually want.

2) I'd like to hear more interplay between the players, and in particular, I'd like to hear the strings playing together more frequently. That's a personal preference when it comes to chamber music. But I will say that your texture is very clear, and that's the major advantage of presenting the string instruments individually for so much of the work.

3) Transitions sometimes seem clunky to me. I noticed it on the first listen, but it was even more apparent the second time through. This is something that I noticed in my own work as a developing composer, and so perhaps I'm bothered by it more than others would be.

The transitions that don't work for me are the ones that come to a sudden stop with an authentic cadence. They leave the effect that I'm listening to a series of mini-pieces rather than an evolving single movement. When you avoid the authentic cadence, I find it much less distracting.

I'm going to focus on the third movement. The transition at bar 25 doesn't bother me.  It's a half cadence and the phrasing sounds fine to my ear. There's an organic sense of moving into the next theme. But 10 bars later the transition sounds clunky to me. Personally, I'd leave 32-33 as is, repeat those two bars in 34-35 but with a deceptive cadence, and then add two extra bars of melody, harmonized with E 6/4 (attached image). The result would be that your E major theme ends at the same time as the new one begins, and the transition between the two is thus seamless. It also enhances the effect of the colourful modulation from E to C.

Another example comes around bar 47. We get an authentic cadence in bar 43, and then another one at 47. To make matters worse, the phrase from 44-47 structurally seems like it should be an antecedent, not a consequent. I can't blame you for fiddling around with a listener's phrasing expectations (it can be very effective when done right), but it doesn't work for me here, mainly because of the authentic cadence. What I'd personally do instead is end on a deceptive cadence on your current bar 47, then repeat 45-47, starting your F major theme from rehearsal D directly on the downbeat of what would now be bar 51. Once again, eliding the themes in this manner provides a sense of evolution rather than a sense of stop-and-start. The only problem is that because your new theme is in F major, it would duplicate the traditional deceptive cadence chord you'd be using, and that would also sound clunky. You'd have to fiddle with the harmony here to make it work. The deceptive chord need not necessarily be VI.  Maybe a diminished 7th on D#? Or Ger6 on F?

I get a similar sense at bar 94. Does 94-96 really need to be there?  What structural purpose does it serve?  You already have a C# at the end of 93 that could tie perfectly into 97, and any sense of awkwardness would be eliminated by doing so.

Anyways, those are just a few thoughts for you. It's an accomplished work - honestly, if it weren't, I wouldn't bother spending my time reviewing it in this manner. Hopefully some of what I've written is useful to you. Good luck with your next work!

 

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Hey nice work! i am really impressed by the amount of time you must have put into this! there is alot of material which i really enjoyed listening to.

Because i neither play any of those instruments nor am i a composer i cant give you detailed judgement.

just some thoughts:

mvt.1 : are these right hand arpeggios in the piano practially and / or enjoyable to play for so many bars ? additionally, even tho i really like the structure it provides , it sometimes feels uncomfortable dense and eating all the space. Maybe this is just a virtual playback thingy.

mvt.2: i like this simple motif but just for my taste it needs contrast earlier than measure 79 and also "a bit more Dur-like" (like in 79-82.. But then the violin answers and brings it back into a mood, which is at least in my perception very similar to the 79 bars before this.)

mvt.3: man, this is wonderful! i think you hit some sweet spot with how this trio complement each other. all have important things to say. also i had the feeling this had the cleanest form of all movements. 

Thanks for sharing! i will probably listen to this some more in the next days.

Looking forward for more.

Chears 

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1st movement:  I like the adventurous modulations you employ and the foreshadowing of the 3rd movement in the violin!  Overall I felt like the difficulty of this movement was a little bit skewed towards the piano (the piano part was more demanding than the other parts) and it had too many solo sections when I felt like in a piano trio it shouldn't really have such extended solo passages as this (it should sometimes get some 'help' from it's fellow string players).  It was enjoyable to listen to however.  Great job!

2nd movement:  I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned this yet but your main theme for this movement sounds very similar to the 2nd movement of Brahms' Symphony No. 4 - Andante moderato.  It's in a different key and you treat it differently of course but there's a similarity nonetheless that I just felt you should be aware of.  Slow movements are on the whole not my favorite parts of symphonies and sonatas and this one is no exception.  This could have maybe benefited from a theme and variations treatment.

3rd movement:  I personally don't find the dissonances and transitions as objectionable as mentioned above.  The one thing that I did notice that bothered me is at rehearsal K - it sounded like the cello was playing the line assigned to the violin.  I don't know if that is a mistake in the score or if you simply don't have the ability with your program to change the cellos clef.  On the whole I love the adventurousness of this movement - it is probably my favorite.  I felt like it could have used a coda to bring it to a more satisfying conclusion.  Also - you start in Eb major and end in E major - keys that despite their proximity are distantly related to one another.  Unless there is some macro-tonal plan behind this it is usually avoided.  However - you could easily use an E major chord as a Neapolitan 6th chord and fashion a transition that would bring you back to Bb7 and then Eb major if you wrote an ending coda.  As it stands it really sounds unfinished, especially considering that it's the final movement.

This is quite a piece of work overall!  I look forward to your future compositions and thanks for sharing!

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The first movement does indeed sound very German, very early Romantic, especially with all of its diminished 7th chords. Harmonically, I have few complaints, as you progressed very nicely throughout. The transition at m. 120—the piano's Dbdim7 progression to a C7—was the only spot that made me cringe. It was just a bit too forced. Otherwise, you gave us a stormy yet beautiful first movement that kept my attention throughout. There are some technical issues I would point out. First, the violin and cello mostly echo each other and rarely play together. The piano part, though difficult, is not very pianist friendly and the "reward" is low. What I mean is that the part is far more difficult to play than it sounds. One would typically want to strike a nice balance between actual difficulty and the appearance of difficulty. Furthermore, with all the quick and repeated triplets, the piano part lacks variation and seems to function mainly as a "filler" for the chords you're trying to evoke. You do give it a voice of its own sometimes, but it just as quickly falls back into "accompaniment mode." All in all, the onus of the work falls heavily on the pianist, and I think you'd want to strive for more of a balance between the parts. That does not mean this movement is shoddy or poorly-composed—quite the opposite! I thoroughly enjoyed this movement and think you've got significant talent!

On to the second movement. The melody is melancholic and brooding, and I like the dialogue between the cello and violin. I did notice a couple of issues. The dissonance at m. 34 in the 2nd movement does not seem to belong, and the piano's enharmonics at m. 117 are out of place. Though lovely, this movement suffers from the same technical shortcomings as the first... the piano's function is merely to accompany. It does have a few small shining moments at around m. 120, but these don't seem to be enough to offset the monotony of the repeated chords the pianist must perform. These issues notwithstanding, it's a beautiful work and fits in well with the first movement.

The third movement is charming, but fraught with too many key changes, perhaps. Many of the transitions here are troubling to my ears. The E major cadence at m. 35 doesn't lead well into the return to C major at m. 36; in fact, it sounds almost like a mistake. Likewise, the transition at m. 91 isn't very convincing; it sounds too forced, especially when it erupts into C# minor chords at Rehearsal G. Oh, and this happens again with the E7 chord right before Rehearsal I—the chords preceding it are in G# (Ab) major, and the departure to E7 seems a little too abrupt to be convincing. The writing for piano is much more inclusive here, though, and the pianist enjoys quite a bit more melody time. It is, I think, my favorite movement of the trio, and there is some great musical writing here!

I understand this was written several years ago, so glean what you can from my comments. My overall impression is that this was written by a fine composer wearing gloves a little too large for him. I'm sure you've quite grown into them by now!

Thank you for sharing; this was very lovely! I hope you're able to have it performed!

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Hi! This is a really good piece! I felt that there were many intriguing parts that really caught my attention! I really like that the melody is shared between the 3 instruments instead of a one-man-show. However, I would say that chamber music needs more call-and-response, and this piece can be improved with more dialog between the instruments. But other than that, I really did enjoy this piece!

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On 11/6/2020 at 12:38 AM, pianist_1981 said:

Thank you for sharing this, Johan. I think your assessment of influence is spot on. The texture in particular definitely reminds me of Schubert. I've listened to the piece a couple of times now and think there is some very nice writing here. The exposition of the first movement strikes me as particularly effective. I enjoy the tunefulness, and though they seldom surprise me, I find the harmonic progressions effective and evocative. I also particularly enjoyed the surprising modulations in the 3rd movement, such as at bar 17 and rehearsal G.

I'm not actually certain how useful criticism would be to you, as this is an older work, as you say. Much of what I write would probably be things you've already noticed yourself years ago. But since you requested it, here are three critical thoughts I had about this as I listened the second time:

1) I understand your intention behind some of the rather shocking dissonances. Dissonance in this style can be very effective, but a listener needs to perceive it as intentional. For instance, the famous dissonance in the 1st movement of the Eroica symphony was surely intentional on Beethoven's part, and as listeners, we can't help but to understand it as integral to the effect. That passage would be LESS effective without the dissonance. What causes this perception? Well, I really haven't figured that out. I just know it when I hear it.

There are many places where you use dissonance effectively in this piece, but in other cases, I perceive it much more like a mistake on either the performer's or the composer's part rather than intentional. Examples of this would be the downbeat of bar 16 in the slow movement and beats 3-4 of 93 in the third movement. When you work this up for performance, pay close attention to the effect of those kinds of passages - is it really what you wanted? That's the question I'd be asking myself if I had composed this, and I often find the effect on real instruments to be very different from what we get with a MIDI. Sometimes things that work well on MIDI don't work well with real instruments and vice versa. You may like the effect on a real piano; personally, I didn't like it at all when I tried it myself.

Of course, whether I like it or not is irrelevant if you like it! Just be sure it's the effect you actually want.

2) I'd like to hear more interplay between the players, and in particular, I'd like to hear the strings playing together more frequently. That's a personal preference when it comes to chamber music. But I will say that your texture is very clear, and that's the major advantage of presenting the string instruments individually for so much of the work.

3) Transitions sometimes seem clunky to me. I noticed it on the first listen, but it was even more apparent the second time through. This is something that I noticed in my own work as a developing composer, and so perhaps I'm bothered by it more than others would be.

The transitions that don't work for me are the ones that come to a sudden stop with an authentic cadence. They leave the effect that I'm listening to a series of mini-pieces rather than an evolving single movement. When you avoid the authentic cadence, I find it much less distracting.

I'm going to focus on the third movement. The transition at bar 25 doesn't bother me.  It's a half cadence and the phrasing sounds fine to my ear. There's an organic sense of moving into the next theme. But 10 bars later the transition sounds clunky to me. Personally, I'd leave 32-33 as is, repeat those two bars in 34-35 but with a deceptive cadence, and then add two extra bars of melody, harmonized with E 6/4 (attached image). The result would be that your E major theme ends at the same time as the new one begins, and the transition between the two is thus seamless. It also enhances the effect of the colourful modulation from E to C.

Another example comes around bar 47. We get an authentic cadence in bar 43, and then another one at 47. To make matters worse, the phrase from 44-47 structurally seems like it should be an antecedent, not a consequent. I can't blame you for fiddling around with a listener's phrasing expectations (it can be very effective when done right), but it doesn't work for me here, mainly because of the authentic cadence. What I'd personally do instead is end on a deceptive cadence on your current bar 47, then repeat 45-47, starting your F major theme from rehearsal D directly on the downbeat of what would now be bar 51. Once again, eliding the themes in this manner provides a sense of evolution rather than a sense of stop-and-start. The only problem is that because your new theme is in F major, it would duplicate the traditional deceptive cadence chord you'd be using, and that would also sound clunky. You'd have to fiddle with the harmony here to make it work. The deceptive chord need not necessarily be VI.  Maybe a diminished 7th on D#? Or Ger6 on F?

I get a similar sense at bar 94. Does 94-96 really need to be there?  What structural purpose does it serve?  You already have a C# at the end of 93 that could tie perfectly into 97, and any sense of awkwardness would be eliminated by doing so.

Anyways, those are just a few thoughts for you. It's an accomplished work - honestly, if it weren't, I wouldn't bother spending my time reviewing it in this manner. Hopefully some of what I've written is useful to you. Good luck with your next work!

 

Melody.png

Hello pianist_1981

Thank you very much for your comments. It is really admirable that you have taken the time to provide me with such a detailed feedback!

About this piece:

Initially, I was not inclined to post this to YC, The piece has been collecting “dust” in my drawer (i.e. in my computer) for some years, mainly because the score was in such a bad state. But now, I reworked the score and it should be reasonably OK, although I still am insecure about the correct bowing for the string instruments ( I am not a player of string instruments). I have not changed the music I wrote it originally, so there may still be a number of strange things or mistakes.

Now about your comments:

1:   I love dissonances, even if they may appear shocking. I think that the piece would be rather anemic without them. In fact, they are all intentional, but perhaps, they are not always correct. I will carefully check this again.

Bar 16 in the slow movement (as well as bar 34)? I see what you mean. I should improve this. Bar 93 in the 3rd movement is OK for me, but I will give it another thought.

Your point about real instruments vs MIDI is well taken. Also a very important factor when working with dissonances is to considers the type of instrument. Some dissonances would not work at all on e.g. a string instrument, while they work fine on a piano. I think that it is because the piano is a percussion instrument, and string instruments are not. Another important issue to consider is the dwell time of the dissonance. (Chopin used strange dissonances very effectively in some of his fast études)

I do not believe that my piece will ever be played by real musicians, so I will have to live with the MIDI version.

2: Yes, I agree that more interplay between players is desirable, but not necessarily always. I my piece I tried to make more of a dialogue structure (question/answer or repeating arguments etc.) between the instruments, but nevertheless, your point is valid. One thing which I should definitively have done is to involve the piano as well in this dialogue. It has too much of an accompaniment role.

3: The transitions question.

 

Your arguments are very interesting, and I will certainly have a look at this. But I would say that a transition after a full cadence can sometimes be quite effective, without getting the stop-start feeling you mentioned. It all depends on the overall structure of the piece. A “seamless” transition via a half or deceptive cadence is of course one of the standard solutions, but it has to be cleverly done, without a loss of the overall musical structure , otherwise the piece may become boring. Beethoven was an absolute master in making effortless, incredibly beautiful transitions.

 I will have to look and work a bit on the detailed issues and suggestions you described. But this will take me some time, and I will let you know later about the outcome.

Once again: I really appreciate that you have spent so much time on this piece! Thanks again.

Best regards

Johan

 

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On 11/6/2020 at 5:23 PM, NiceyMcNice said:

Hey nice work! i am really impressed by the amount of time you must have put into this! there is alot of material which i really enjoyed listening to.

Because i neither play any of those instruments nor am i a composer i cant give you detailed judgement.

just some thoughts:

mvt.1 : are these right hand arpeggios in the piano practially and / or enjoyable to play for so many bars ? additionally, even tho i really like the structure it provides , it sometimes feels uncomfortable dense and eating all the space. Maybe this is just a virtual playback thingy.

mvt.2: i like this simple motif but just for my taste it needs contrast earlier than measure 79 and also "a bit more Dur-like" (like in 79-82.. But then the violin answers and brings it back into a mood, which is at least in my perception very similar to the 79 bars before this.)

mvt.3: man, this is wonderful! i think you hit some sweet spot with how this trio complement each other. all have important things to say. also i had the feeling this had the cleanest form of all movements. 

Thanks for sharing! i will probably listen to this some more in the next days.

Looking forward for more.

Chears 

 

Hello NiceyMcNice,

Thank you very much for your feedback. I was really glad that you enjoyed the piece.

Yea, I put a lot of work into this piece. Actually, the major part of the work was not at all to compose the music, instead most of the time went into obtaining a reasonable MIDI sound and the revision of the score (which still needs a further cleanup).

I think that playing the arpeggios is fairly straightforward for an accomplished pianist. But I will have a go at them again at the piano myself. Some of them may need the involvement of the left hand as well, and I could then be rewritten using cross-stave notes. Normally, pianists will work out the best fingering, including the optimal use of both hands by themselves. But there may be awkward passages which I should simplify. For example, I saw that the last 1/16” chords in the arpeggios in the solo part, starting at rehearsal H are extremely tough to play at speed (impossible for me!), and I will make adjustments.

The second movement is an elegy, which explains the predominant minor mood. This also explains the rapid return to the minor mood by the violin in bar 82. You could say: the cello tries to forget about the sad situation, but the violin quickly reminds the cello of it again (indeed, as you pointed out, in the mood of the first 79 bars).

The real change of mood occurs at bar 109. This is a remembrance of earlier, pleasant times, in the cantabile interplay, and mourning is forgotten for a while. But then, the backflash of the depressing reality appears  in bar 131, which is followed by a contemplation - 136-143), and finally returns to the original mood ( a repetition of the beginning theme). But the ending, while still in a minor mood imparts a kind of acceptance.

I don’t know if you think that my description clarifies or makes any sense to you regarding the emotional interpretation of this movement. (Normally, I am reluctant to describe the interpretation of my pieces.)  

 

Movement 3 ?

Yes, this is also my favorite part of the trio.

 

Thanks again for listening and providing me with your interesting comments!

 

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On 11/6/2020 at 8:49 PM, PaperComposer said:

1st movement:  I like the adventurous modulations you employ and the foreshadowing of the 3rd movement in the violin!  Overall I felt like the difficulty of this movement was a little bit skewed towards the piano (the piano part was more demanding than the other parts) and it had too many solo sections when I felt like in a piano trio it shouldn't really have such extended solo passages as this (it should sometimes get some 'help' from it's fellow string players).  It was enjoyable to listen to however.  Great job!

2nd movement:  I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned this yet but your main theme for this movement sounds very similar to the 2nd movement of Brahms' Symphony No. 4 - Andante moderato.  It's in a different key and you treat it differently of course but there's a similarity nonetheless that I just felt you should be aware of.  Slow movements are on the whole not my favorite parts of symphonies and sonatas and this one is no exception.  This could have maybe benefited from a theme and variations treatment.

3rd movement:  I personally don't find the dissonances and transitions as objectionable as mentioned above.  The one thing that I did notice that bothered me is at rehearsal K - it sounded like the cello was playing the line assigned to the violin.  I don't know if that is a mistake in the score or if you simply don't have the ability with your program to change the cellos clef.  On the whole I love the adventurousness of this movement - it is probably my favorite.  I felt like it could have used a coda to bring it to a more satisfying conclusion.  Also - you start in Eb major and end in E major - keys that despite their proximity are distantly related to one another.  Unless there is some macro-tonal plan behind this it is usually avoided.  However - you could easily use an E major chord as a Neapolitan 6th chord and fashion a transition that would bring you back to Bb7 and then Eb major if you wrote an ending coda.  As it stands it really sounds unfinished, especially considering that it's the final movement.

This is quite a piece of work overall!  I look forward to your future compositions and thanks for sharing!

 

Hi PaperComposer

Thank you very much for all your comments, I am really grateful! Here is my reply:

1st movement:  Yes, I agree that the piano part is too dominant. This is probably because I am a piano player myself (ha-ha). I should have given a more balanced role to the strings. I will make an attempt to change some of the solo sections by giving work to the strings (and perhaps also adding some more interplay between both strings) This will actually be an interesting exercise in music writing for me.

2nd movement: Wow, the Brahms Symphony! Thanks for mentioning. I was not aware of this at all. I cannot recall that I ever heard this symphony. But then, these things seem to happen now and then. But It does not bother me too much. His Andante moderato has a different meaning, structure and development. Nevertheless, the onset is indeed very similar to my Andante con moto.

You suggested a theme with variations. Well, this would certainly have been an option, and it would be fun to do this (you almost get me to do it!)  But I was not in the mood for this at the time when I wrote the piece, so I will stick to the present version.

3rd movement: It is relief for me to know that you did not dislike my dissonants. Nevertheless, I think that, in view of the replies by other people, I will have a renewed look at them.

You are right about the cello line in rehearsal K (I assume that you mean measure 144-146. I would like to have it played by the cello, because I feel that the violin sound would be too airy. But of course, I will change it into the tenor clef.

Then there is the issue of the coda. You are of course right that, traditionally, I should end the piece in Eb- (major). I have to say that I felt a bit in a hurry to end the piece when I wrote it, and left the end in E-major. Although I do not get a feeling that it sounds unfinished, it would probably be better to return to the tonal Eb- major. This is a fairly simple job (for example in the way you suggested). I will actually rewrite the whole part from 192-209, to obtain an ending which fits with rest of the movement (thanks for pointing out this issue).

Again, thank you a lot for your valuable inputs!

Best regards

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, panta rei said:

You are right about the cello line in rehearsal K (I assume that you mean measure 144-146. I would like to have it played by the cello, because I feel that the violin sound would be too airy. But of course, I will change it into the tenor clef.

No - I meant the triplets right at the beginning of measure 138 - they are written for violin, but in the recording it sounds like the cello plays them.

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12 minutes ago, PaperComposer said:

No - I meant the triplets right at the beginning of measure 138 - they are written for violin, but in the recording it sounds like the cello plays them.

 

Strange, there must be something wrong with the playback. My intention was that the violin should play these triplets. I will check it again

(Thanks for the reply)

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On 11/6/2020 at 10:12 PM, Tónskáld said:

The first movement does indeed sound very German, very early Romantic, especially with all of its diminished 7th chords. Harmonically, I have few complaints, as you progressed very nicely throughout. The transition at m. 120—the piano's Dbdim7 progression to a C7—was the only spot that made me cringe. It was just a bit too forced. Otherwise, you gave us a stormy yet beautiful first movement that kept my attention throughout. There are some technical issues I would point out. First, the violin and cello mostly echo each other and rarely play together. The piano part, though difficult, is not very pianist friendly and the "reward" is low. What I mean is that the part is far more difficult to play than it sounds. One would typically want to strike a nice balance between actual difficulty and the appearance of difficulty. Furthermore, with all the quick and repeated triplets, the piano part lacks variation and seems to function mainly as a "filler" for the chords you're trying to evoke. You do give it a voice of its own sometimes, but it just as quickly falls back into "accompaniment mode." All in all, the onus of the work falls heavily on the pianist, and I think you'd want to strive for more of a balance between the parts. That does not mean this movement is shoddy or poorly-composed—quite the opposite! I thoroughly enjoyed this movement and think you've got significant talent!

On to the second movement. The melody is melancholic and brooding, and I like the dialogue between the cello and violin. I did notice a couple of issues. The dissonance at m. 34 in the 2nd movement does not seem to belong, and the piano's enharmonics at m. 117 are out of place. Though lovely, this movement suffers from the same technical shortcomings as the first... the piano's function is merely to accompany. It does have a few small shining moments at around m. 120, but these don't seem to be enough to offset the monotony of the repeated chords the pianist must perform. These issues notwithstanding, it's a beautiful work and fits in well with the first movement.

The third movement is charming, but fraught with too many key changes, perhaps. Many of the transitions here are troubling to my ears. The E major cadence at m. 35 doesn't lead well into the return to C major at m. 36; in fact, it sounds almost like a mistake. Likewise, the transition at m. 91 isn't very convincing; it sounds too forced, especially when it erupts into C# minor chords at Rehearsal G. Oh, and this happens again with the E7 chord right before Rehearsal I—the chords preceding it are in G# (Ab) major, and the departure to E7 seems a little too abrupt to be convincing. The writing for piano is much more inclusive here, though, and the pianist enjoys quite a bit more melody time. It is, I think, my favorite movement of the trio, and there is some great musical writing here!

I understand this was written several years ago, so glean what you can from my comments. My overall impression is that this was written by a fine composer wearing gloves a little too large for him. I'm sure you've quite grown into them by now!

Thank you for sharing; this was very lovely! I hope you're able to have it performed!

 

Hello Jórfi,

The first movement does indeed sound very German, very early Romantic, especially with all of its diminished 7th chords. Harmonically, I have few complaints, as you progressed very nicely throughout. The transition at m. 120—the piano's Dbdim7 progression to a C7—was the only spot that made me cringe. It was just a bit too forced.

I disagree. I think that the transition is fine.

 Otherwise, you gave us a stormy yet beautiful first movement that kept my attention throughout. There are some technical issues I would point out. First, the violin and cello mostly echo each other and rarely play together.

Yes, that is true. But is this something which is always a requirement?

 The piano part, though difficult, is not very pianist friendly and the "reward" is low. What I mean is that the part is far more difficult to play than it sounds. 

Could you be more specific? I agree that I should check the playability of the piano part. There may be some awkward issues, which should be revised. But I should say that the piano part is not something for beginners or intermediate pianists, it requires an accomplished pianist.

IOne would typically want to strike a nice balance between actual difficulty and the appearance of difficulty.

I do not quite understand what you mean.

Furthermore, with all the quick and repeated triplets, the piano part lacks variation and seems to function mainly as a "filler" for the chords you're trying to evoke.

That was not my idea, it depends HOW you play the triplets (not as a monotonous stream of notes like in the MIDI playback).

You do give it a voice of its own sometimes, but it just as quickly falls back into "accompaniment mode."  All in all, the onus of the work falls heavily on the pianist, and I think you'd want to strive for more of a balance between the parts.

I agree that the piano could have more of an own voice. 

Yes, That does not mean this movement is shoddy or poorly-composed—quite the opposite! I thoroughly enjoyed this movement and think you've got significant talent!

On to the second movement. The melody is melancholic and brooding, and I like the dialogue between the cello and violin. I did notice a couple of issues. The dissonance at m. 34 in the 2nd movement does not seem to belong,

Yes, not very nice, I will alter this

and the piano's enharmonics at m. 117 are out of place.

You are right, this escaped my attention and I will correct it - thank you.

Though lovely, this movement suffers from the same technical shortcomings as the first... the piano's function is merely to accompany.  It does have a few small shining moments at around m. 120, but these don't seem to be enough to offset the monotony of the repeated chords the pianist must perform.

The monotony you describe is not necessarily a bad thing. It all depends on what kind of emotion this movement is transmitting. Not every piece of music has to go by specific formulas. However, the repetition by the violin at bar 19 and onwards could need some variation (perhaps by including a piano voice) I  had noticed this already years ago, and I will give this a  renewed thought.

  These issues notwithstanding, it's a beautiful work and fits in well with the first movement.

The third movement is charming, but fraught with too many key changes, perhaps.

 I don´t think so.

 Many of the transitions here are troubling to my ears. The E major cadence at m. 35 doesn't lead well into the return to C major at m. 36; in fact, it sounds almost like a mistake.

 Although it is perhaps not conventional, to me, it sounds OK. What would you suggest instead?

Likewise, the transition at m. 91 isn't very convincing; it sounds too forced, especially when it erupts into C# minor chords at Rehearsal G. 

I disagree, I think that the transition is perfect.

 Oh, and this happens again with the E7 chord right before Rehearsal I—the chords preceding it are in G# (Ab) major, and the departure to E7 seems a little too abrupt to be convincing.

This transition is also OK for me. I could of course write some more elaborate and/or “conventional ear pleasing” transition, but this will be at the expense of the structural and musical rhythm of the piece. Once I start doing this, it would probably be better to start from the beginning and rewrite the entire movement.

The writing for piano is much more inclusive here, though, and the pianist enjoys quite a bit more melody time. It is, I think, my favorite movement of the trio, and there is some great musical writing here!

I understand this was written several years ago, so glean what you can from my comments. My overall impression is that this was written by a fine composer wearing gloves a little too large for him. I'm sure you've quite grown into them by now!

Thank you for sharing; this was very lovely! I hope you're able to have it performed!

I don´t think that it will ever be performed.

I want to tell you that I am very grateful for your viewpoints. This is very valuable for me. We may not agree on everything but that is normal. I am happy that I exposed this piece for review in YC, instead of forgetting about it. I learned a lot.  Thank you again!

 

 

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On 11/7/2020 at 11:21 AM, Joshua Ng said:

Hi! This is a really good piece! I felt that there were many intriguing parts that really caught my attention! I really like that the melody is shared between the 3 instruments instead of a one-man-show. However, I would say that chamber music needs more call-and-response, and this piece can be improved with more dialog between the instruments. But other than that, I really did enjoy this piece!

 

Thank you Joshua for your feedback. I am very pleased that you like the piece. As far as more interplay between the instruments is concerned, I have already provided comments about that in the replies to other people. Particulary, I realise that I should have given the piano a larger role in the melodies. 

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1 minute ago, panta rei said:

Thank you Joshua for your feedback. I am very pleased that you like the piece. As far as more interplay between the instruments is concerned, I have already provided comments about that in the replies to other people. Particulary, I realise that I should have given the piano a larger role in the melodies. 

 

Oh i see. Yea, I agree with that haha

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