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So, this project turned out much differently than I had been anticipating. I had originally envisioned it being a set of works that could be considered as “stand-alone” pieces that just happened to be part of a set. Instead, it turned into a 6-part sonata-rhapsody hybrid monstrosity, with all sorts of internal references and phrases that only make sense within the context of the other works. So I figured I’d just go ahead and post all 6 pieces.

 

I hope that there’s something within these “ruins” that brings you some enjoyment.

 

Ruins No. 1 Files — https://app.box.com/s/v1czthmkbthqdssl51wrifiw5h2jmzf8 (WAV) ***

https://app.box.com/s/hplwci0js063eh4fep09ea6711r4dl1m (PDF)

Ruins No. 2 Files — https://app.box.com/s/2nvypwqs6qku1sbftxg6reglwar5xlxi (WAV)

https://app.box.com/s/lmkmy7vkumtwfgbixm0wi40cphmiv3nx (PDF)

Ruins No. 3 Files — https://app.box.com/s/i79bm98uk2yll55i9lltjutzwjor9pt4 (WAV)

https://app.box.com/s/qal2yxlalkcqgduqicuh4uinwhqegx6z (PDF)

Ruins No. 4 Files — https://app.box.com/s/kobb0wu7rwz0wj440z19vmue35ei3if1 (WAV)

https://app.box.com/s/ocasb25vv0d9w5m3dcuyxjw3n3970kuj (PDF)

Ruins No. 5 Files — https://app.box.com/s/ev0o7mov1dz27x2fdqr813fa99yqrl3t (WAV)

https://app.box.com/s/p99w90bhgch04zauqyd8ji6pc4antnph (PDF)

Ruins No. 6 Files — https://app.box.com/s/2g0l17gb9v0421nxlbg3vmasbo1hwdr0 (WAV)

https://app.box.com/s/2uscuroqhycjp3vy9jloabzsr8uxnr9t (PDF)

 

*** This performance has been updated. Mss. 16-20 are played with rubato now, as directed on the score.

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No. 1 - While this starts quite desolate it quickly grows into quite a jubilant and dynamic piece!  I just thought that in some places the continuous accents on the melodic chords in the right hand kind of overload the ear and I would have toned down the thickness of some chords or judiciously remove a few of the accents (maybe the ones on the weak beats aren't as necessary?) in order save the ear from fatigue.

No. 2 - This one sounds more devastated throughout although there are moments where hope shines through.  I think you use the pauses very effectively in this piece.  The emptiness is filled with expectation and meaning.  I think I also have the same complaint as in the previous one about the heavy sounding chords.  I don't know if you're working in a DAW or not so I don't know if you have the capability to do this but a pianist would naturally bring out the top note in a melodic chord while playing the rest of the chord softer.  Also left hand chords would naturally be played at a softer dynamic but maybe you intended as is to give it more of that devastated feel so feel free to ignore.

No. 3 - Nice use of parallel 5ths - I liked that passage!  I do have to say that you seem to stray far from cliche in these pieces.  Great ending!

No. 4 - This one is quite bleak.  One thing that I haven't mentioned yet is your consistently creative use of harmony in these.  I noticed some quasi-octatonic scales used or maybe more like C altered scale with an added G.  The figurations in this are also quite original and you always manage to bring out the melody or that off-beat descending motif.  Well done!

No. 5 - I like how this one develops - it takes the simple melody you introduce in the middle and adds a bunch of chromatic figurations before thickening the texture - well conceived!  This one sounded and felt like more of an etude as well.

No. 6 - This one was a bit heavy for my taste.  Too many chords for me.  Also it doesn't feel finished to me - the cadence at the end doesn't sound convincing nor final enough.

Overall this is quite a collection!  I've only listened one time through each of these so I don't really detect the references to each other that you might have intended - they do seem like they could be stand-alone pieces.  Also, are some of these live performances?  Especially the last couple of ones sound really realistic although the rubato in the first one sounds kind of contrived and lacks finesse (in my opinion).  On the whole these were an enjoyable listening experience!  Thanks for sharing!

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It's always cool to see composers from the long long ago that I recognize still writing and improving. Awesome work here. 

I'd agree that it was pretty heavy harmony throughout, and I'd question playability sometimes (giant rolled 3 octave chords in the LH for instance), but I'm just a guitarist and don't pretend to be up to par in playing your piece on piano.  

What I love about this though is the absolute uniqueness in your writing. I could sort of see parallels with Liszt's rhapsodies, but more so in their virtuosity rather than thematic content.  I really admire your tonal yet extraordinary colorful style in writing; it's something I strive for in my own works. Number 4 was probably my favorite, it captivated me from the start and was a nice contrast to some of the more bombastic parts. Even though the suite as a whole was pretty dense, I think keeping the pieces on the shorter end was a wise and strategic way to convey the message, as it never got too overbearing.

Thanks for sharing, and well done!

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Ruins No. 1—This one had a great "death-to-life" vibe that I really enjoyed, an explosion into deeply arpeggiated chords in the bass and joyous full chords in the right hand. Though difficult—mostly because of the competing rhythmic meter (triplets against duplets, for example)—it is playable. You make great use of harmony in this work, and for that I commend you!

Score looks great! Cleanup on mss. 49-50 (bass clef).

I'll review the others as I have time. Thanks for sharing!

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@PaperComposer Thank you for your thoughtful critiques on the pieces. I wish I had the know-how to use a DAW, because you’re right, my performer, Mr. Sibelius, tends to not let the top voice of the R.H. ring out like a human pianist naturally would. Maybe one of these days I’ll learn how, but it’s beyond me right now. However, I’m really surprised and flattered that you find the performances of the last two so convincing!

I’m also flattered that you can see them as stand-alone pieces — that was the intention in the first place. I personally think the 4th one is the only one that really works by itself, and even it takes the parallel 5th idea from the previous piece, even if only in passing. The rest, when taken by themselves, just feel like they’re missing something. At least, that’s how I feel when I listen to them.

I wish I could tell you the 6th piece was a finale with some great hidden meaning, or that its emptiness and unconvincingness is part of a thematic choice on my part for “ruination”, but none of that’s the case. It feels unfinished and un-fleshed out, because it is that way. Life circumstances got in the way (and are still in the way), so writing music has been on hold for me for the past year. (I finished this set last year, and am only just now uploading the complete set.) So the choice I had was either wrap it up quickly, or leave it hanging. I couldn’t bear to leave it hanging, and so it ends prematurely as a rush job. I’ll either revise it later on, or leave it as an abortion. I don’t know yet.

Thank you again for taking time to leave a comment, I appreciate it!

P.S. About the rubato on that section in the first piece — I LOATHE heavy rubato, and normally, I’d agree the rubato there is just way too much. But in context, I think it works in this rare exception for those few mss, and there’s a reason why the rhythmic rubato ceases at ms. 23. In fact, thank you for helping me realize that I need to add a “cease rubato” or at least “decrease rubato” indication at ms. 23

@Thatguy v2.0 good to see you too! About the L.H. rolled chords — I think you’re talking about the slow section of the 3rd piece? I promise they’re way easier than they may look, as the hand can roll off after the thumb and come over to complete the chord, and at the slow tempo, it’s no technical issue.

I appreciate your comment on my writing style: I really try my best. And yes, the 4th one is my favorite one, too, hands down.

Thank you for taking time to listen!

@Tónskáld Thanks for taking time to listen to the first one. I hope you enjoy the others if you get a chance to listen. And yes, a clean score is a happy score, thanks for letting me know about mss. 49-50.

 

Thank you all for your thoughtful comments, much appreciated! 🙂

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