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Toy Box Suite for Keyboard Percussion Ensemble


Eickso
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Hello,

This is a pretty developed rough draft of my piece that is going to be played by the Heartland Marimba Quartet in June. Just sharing because I think it is one of my cooler works and I have been working on it since November.

I tried to write a very groovy, fun, and toylike sounding piece within the confines of the ensemble.

Please give me some of your thoughts!

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Z1OM5a7OPtX_N9x5LfuW0kiNXO0soagF

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I'm not sure how helpful I can be in this review.  I consider a good critique to be one that helps the composer better fulfill their musical goals.  Considering that you and I write very different kinds of music my ability to help you fulfill goals that are markedly different from my own is limited.  Having said that, something I notice immediately is that this music treats melody as a kind of almost unnecessary embellishment.  Much like where Prokofiev I think would sometimes write melodies solely for the sake of virtuosic pianistic displays of technical prowess.  I think your music focuses on creating interesting and evocative rhythmic patterns and your melodies are just there to have something to play above those patterns.  However, to me they do in fact evoke toys, or some kind of music box.  I imagine a nutcracker marching or some kind of remote controlled robot with cogs and gears inside of it, turning.  Of course this also can bring to mind clocks.

I like how different you manage to make each of the movements.  The metric and tempo changes bring much contrast and excitement to the piece.  I think my favorite movement is 3. Sullivan's Fantasy for sheer ebullient listening pleasure.  Thanks for sharing!

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3 hours ago, MJFOBOE said:

Wow ... you're a clarinetist! And you composed a delightful percussion work.  I am impressed.  What prompted you to write this piece?  Did you have a percussionist review it?

 

Hi! I have been participating in the Heartland Marimba's Composer Festival, where they taught all of the composers how to write for the keyboard percussion instruments. Then, we were tasked to write a piece that is going to be premiered by them in June (and it is going to be a semi-big deal event where all of the composers meet there and we workshop our pieces with them).

I was just really inspired after all of the music I experienced and heard my first semester of college + my hiatus from composing between May-November, so I wanted to create something really special now that I was going to have a legit performance of my work. I hope this becomes a staple of my composition portfolio once I engrave/finalize it!

 

Thank you for listening :)

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13 hours ago, PeterthePapercomPoser said:

I'm not sure how helpful I can be in this review.  I consider a good critique to be one that helps the composer better fulfill their musical goals.  Considering that you and I write very different kinds of music my ability to help you fulfill goals that are markedly different from my own is limited.  Having said that, something I notice immediately is that this music treats melody as a kind of almost unnecessary embellishment.  Much like where Prokofiev I think would sometimes write melodies solely for the sake of virtuosic pianistic displays of technical prowess.  I think your music focuses on creating interesting and evocative rhythmic patterns and your melodies are just there to have something to play above those patterns.  However, to me they do in fact evoke toys, or some kind of music box.  I imagine a nutcracker marching or some kind of remote controlled robot with cogs and gears inside of it, turning.  Of course this also can bring to mind clocks.

I like how different you manage to make each of the movements.  The metric and tempo changes bring much contrast and excitement to the piece.  I think my favorite movement is 3. Sullivan's Fantasy for sheer ebullient listening pleasure.  Thanks for sharing!

 

Sometimes all we need as composers and musicians is to just know our work was heard/enjoyed. I thank you for taking the time to listen, comment, and share some of your thoughts.

Yes, melodies are just a way to carry the textures and ideas forward. All of my music, if you can recall, is strung about with the most basic foundation for what a melody can be at certain points. Melody is just another tool to use rather than something I rely on, and I wait to use it for when I think a section needs it. The backgrounds, overall texture, feelings, and rhythms/sonorities are what I am really focusing on as I write. And I think it helps add a unique Evan Erickson flair to my works to focus on this pseudo-minimalism + fun/groovy percussive style. Leitmotif/motif usage in my works is what I really focus on to tie my works together, and I find having shorter melodies and less developed melodies helps me when calling back to it later. Your ear recognizes it easier when it comes back or is altered slightly.

I am really happy you hear the music box/toy qualities, too! "Toy Box Suite" was just a name I threw that stuck because the instrumentation and how I wanted to use it really just reminded me of like those toy xylophones you use as a kid. It is meant to be very metallic and robotic, but extremely fun to follow. It means a lot that it did leave this impression on you, and I learned a bit more about Prokofiev from you today.

Thank you for always listening to and supporting my music, Peter.

 

Evan

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