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Natasha's Waltz


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Ever since I started composing, I've always been interesting in programmatic music – music that tells a story or represents an existing one. This waltz was inspired by Natasha Van Meer, a character from my favourite novel, 'Special Topics in Calamity Physics' by Marisha Pessl.

This isn't strictly a programmatic piece in the sense of following the exact events of a story; it's more of an attempt to summarise the character in musical form. More details about that in the score's programme notes (but please feel free to listen without reading them!).

As always, any feedback welcome!

 

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I've been coming back to listen to this piece again for quite a while now.  Somehow you manage to keep it interesting without stopping the forward motion of the waltz (except maybe at 219 - that part reminds me of "The Aviator" soundtrack).  You effectively use the various sections of the orchestra including some very sparse orchestrations including just the pitched percussion.  I really appreciate the care you seem to have put into displaying the proper harp pedal markings - I am not sure if MuseScore has that capability.  It comes as a surprise to me that the last two chords are not the only tutti (or nearly tutti) parts of this waltz.  The piece sounds very personal despite that.  The picture in your video is confusing because I don't think Natasha is a ballerina right?  This is just meant to be a sonic representation of her character not an actual dance that the character would dance to.  Overall this was successful as such I think.  Nothing too flashy - just a very laid back almost cinematic mood that you set here.  Nice job!

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Brilliant.

Can't resist the Dorian.

Well orchestrated, I think, mostly, I enjoyed the part based just around the pitch percs.

I'm trying to think if there's anything I'd do differently...

Well some parts sound rather humorous when the quotes and explanation make it sound like a rather serious story.

Also I think that, considering the changing rondo and all the things you mentioned about change and coming to an age...

some times these things are not as... stable. I think I'd have added sections in 7 or 5 quarters, not as comic breaks but rather as serious unstable-ness one has to get used to, as both a listener and a dancer, just like the character in the book. That way we "come to an age", going back to stable waltz eventually, just like the character in the book.

Moreover, at some parts (say bar 161) it feels as if you give up an opportunity to go livelier and broader for the sake of stability and gentleness.

I'm sure she's not 100 percent gentle herself and that she has her own personality and inner demons, wouldn't you like to convey her character... more fully?

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@PaperComposer thanks, I'm so glad you like it! 😊 Natasha is a ballerina actually, that's why I chose that picture (although the waltz isn't necessarily meant to go with an actual ballet dance). Thanks for your recommendation as well, hadn't checked out the Aviator soundtrack before but it's great!

@Rabbival507 thanks for the feedback! Never thought about it much before, but perhaps I should experiment more with irregular structures. I think that the way I conceived it, the extended middle part (the 'C' section of the rondo) acts as the 'break', before moving back to stability as represented by the recurring 'A' theme. You've given me something to think about there though, so thanks! 😄

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3 hours ago, Alexander Reiger said:

Natasha is a ballerina actually, that's why I chose that picture (although the waltz isn't necessarily meant to go with an actual ballet dance)

After reading the score program notes in more detail I understand that now - at first I was under the impression that she was just a lepidopterist.

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