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To The Stars - for Piano and Clarinet.


Ferrum
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It has been awhile since I posted anything, so I thought I post this little piece here. Although I completed the piece back in January, I haven't made any of the score yet, until now.

Also, this is the first piece that I wrote for piano and clarinet. I think it turned out nice. Let me know what you think!

 

PS: the detuning throughout the piece is just for an aesthetic purposes, it kinda gives like a distant memory/nostalgia feel to it, i guess.

Update 1.2

After a long time stalling, I finally revised the piece according to some feedback that I've received. Here are the changes:

  • Changed a little bit of the cadenza and changed the clarinet to an A clarinet. 
  • Revised the score to match the changed version.
  • Updated the recording to match the revised version.

Thank you once again for the feedback!

 

Edited by Ferrum
Updated to 1.2
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Yes, it's a pleasant enough piece. Some nice clarinet solos, adventurous but tuneful. The melodic line is pleasant. The imitative phrases that start around 5'30" between clarinet and various registers of the piano are a good elaboration on the basic tune. They may have occurred earlier - I'll have to listen again.

The accel in bar 129 seems slightly out of place. The piece started ramping down quite early relative to the end - bar 121? so even a small accel didn't seem to work. Just my personal feelings it should go on at l'istesso tempo (but senza rubato); and seemed to want to end in bar 137 on that final D. But it's your work and if you're happy with the close, you're the arbiter!

The writing for both instruments is pretty accomplished and I imagine you're a pianist. Some awkward L. H. arpeggii to keep the pianist on his toes - example bars 105-107 (I learned how to do that with a certain piece of Liszt - needs good aim and courage!) Very demanding for the clarinet. 

All good.

 

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31 minutes ago, Quinn said:

Yes, it's a pleasant enough piece. Some nice clarinet solos, adventurous but tuneful. The melodic line is pleasant. The imitative phrases that start around 5'30" between clarinet and various registers of the piano are a good elaboration on the basic tune. They may have occurred earlier - I'll have to listen again.

The accel in bar 129 seems slightly out of place. The piece started ramping down quite early relative to the end - bar 121? so even a small accel didn't seem to work. Just my personal feelings it should go on at l'istesso tempo (but senza rubato); and seemed to want to end in bar 137 on that final D. But it's your work and if you're happy with the close, you're the arbiter!

The writing for both instruments is pretty accomplished and I imagine you're a pianist. Some awkward L. H. arpeggii to keep the pianist on his toes - example bars 105-107 (I learned how to do that with a certain piece of Liszt - needs good aim and courage!) Very demanding for the clarinet. 

All good.

 

 

So here's my original thought: At bar 121-128, I wanted like a callback on the 2nd theme in much more slow tempo with rubato, then at bar 129-135 it would slowly pick back on the tempo Adagietto without rubato, and finally, it would slow down again so that the last 6 measures are gonna be on tempo Lento. So I feel like l'istesso tempo won't work because I wanted a last call back from the beginning mashed up with the 2nd theme.

Thanks for pointing that out and the feedback though!! Really appreciated.

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20 minutes ago, Ferrum said:

So I feel like l'istesso tempo won't work because I wanted a last call back from the beginning mashed up with the 2nd theme.

 

Edited. Like I say, it's your work and you're the arbiter. As a listener it came across awkward, slowing down again all too soon. 

Edited by Quinn
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6 minutes ago, Quinn said:

Then perhaps the faster tempo and your thematic ideas could be expanded, developed and prolonged a few bars more.

 

Yeah, could do. Maybe on the next project when there's a callback section because I'm kinda finished with this project and want to move on, so yeah.

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Great piece!  The clarinet part sounds a bit muddy and distant and echoey to me though.  The piano sounds clear and in the foreground.  As for the music itself, your treatment of thirds in the beginning and when that idea returns throughout the piece reminds me somewhat of a piece I happened to hear in Jr. College for two pianos by Rachmaninoff.  You do however bring your own individual spin on it with a unique rhythmic identity.  I love the extended clarinet cadenza - like I mentioned though, to me it sounds like there's too much reverb.  But if you're happy with it, no need to change it at this point since you've expressed that you want to move on to other projects.  I do get a very nostalgic feeling when listening to this work which I think you said was your intent.  Well done!

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14 hours ago, PeterthePapercomPoser said:

Great piece!  The clarinet part sounds a bit muddy and distant and echoey to me though.  The piano sounds clear and in the foreground.  As for the music itself, your treatment of thirds in the beginning and when that idea returns throughout the piece reminds me somewhat of a piece I happened to hear in Jr. College for two pianos by Rachmaninoff.  You do however bring your own individual spin on it with a unique rhythmic identity.  I love the extended clarinet cadenza - like I mentioned though, to me it sounds like there's too much reverb.  But if you're happy with it, no need to change it at this point since you've expressed that you want to move on to other projects.  I do get a very nostalgic feeling when listening to this work which I think you said was your intent.  Well done!

 

Yeah, I should've decrease the reverb and lower the piano a bit. Although it does give that distant feeling, the sounds do get muddied in the faster passages. Glad you got that nostalgic feeling out of it. Thanks for the feedback!

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Here are a couple of suggestions from a formerly decent but now out-of-practice clarinetist:

1. Swap out the B-flat clarinet and opt for the A. Your key signatures, mostly 3 and 4 sharps, will change to 2 and 1 flat. The cadenza section is in 1 sharp but with accidentals you're asking the B-flat player to play mostly A major and E minor arpeggios, which will change to B-flat major and F minor, and those aren't any more awkward.

2. In the cadenza and the section that follows you've got a number of extended fast passages with toungued articulations. This is very difficult; and even if you have a clarinetist who has mastered double-tonguing (harder on clarinet than most other instruments), it will probably never sound as clear as you're intending it to. It takes time to stop the airflow (which is what you're doing in double-tonguing half the time, not stopping the reed), re-start it, and re-establish the vibration of the reed and the air column.

From a compositional standpoint, I like the overall feel of the piece, but to my ear the chord changes in bar 50-51 (Bm7-E-E7-A7) feel jarringly out of place. Like 2 bars of 1970s pop -- where did that come from?

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10 hours ago, Tom Statler said:

Here are a couple of suggestions from a formerly decent but now out-of-practice clarinetist:

1. Swap out the B-flat clarinet and opt for the A. Your key signatures, mostly 3 and 4 sharps, will change to 2 and 1 flat. The cadenza section is in 1 sharp but with accidentals you're asking the B-flat player to play mostly A major and E minor arpeggios, which will change to B-flat major and F minor, and those aren't any more awkward.

2. In the cadenza and the section that follows you've got a number of extended fast passages with toungued articulations. This is very difficult; and even if you have a clarinetist who has mastered double-tonguing (harder on clarinet than most other instruments), it will probably never sound as clear as you're intending it to. It takes time to stop the airflow (which is what you're doing in double-tonguing half the time, not stopping the reed), re-start it, and re-establish the vibration of the reed and the air column.

From a compositional standpoint, I like the overall feel of the piece, but to my ear the chord changes in bar 50-51 (Bm7-E-E7-A7) feel jarringly out of place. Like 2 bars of 1970s pop -- where did that come from?

 

1. In the cadenza, the key signature without transposition are in D minor and the arpeggios without transposition are alternating between D minor and G major. With transposition, the key signatures will change from D minor to E minor, and the arpeggios will change from alternating between D minor and G major to E minor and A major. Furthermore, the whole piece without transposition is in the key of D major and G major, which will change to E major and A major. If my understanding is correct, your idea to swap out the B-flat clarinet to an A makes sense, right? Ugh I need to do more research lol.

2. Noted! I have no idea that double-tonguing on clarinet is harder than most instruments. Glad you pointed that out.

3. I personally don't think is jarring? It's a standard iii - VI7 - ii - V7 chord progression, and the IV before the chord progression moves smoothly to the chord progression. In addition, I interpreted it like a closing chord progression to a section so it can repeat or move on to the next section. My aim for this piece is to be like a nostalgic thing, so if you think the progression comes from a 1970s pop, it's kinda like nostalgic, isn't it? idk

I didn't expect a former clarinetist to comment and gave feedback on this piece. I'm glad to learn from an actual player instead of me just guessing lol. Thanks a lot for the feedback!

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16 hours ago, Ferrum said:

1. In the cadenza, the key signature without transposition are in D minor and the arpeggios without transposition are alternating between D minor and G major. With transposition, the key signatures will change from D minor to E minor, and the arpeggios will change from alternating between D minor and G major to E minor and A major. Furthermore, the whole piece without transposition is in the key of D major and G major, which will change to E major and A major.

That describes the transposition for B-flat clarinet, yes. For the A clarinet, D minor becomes F minor, G major becomes B-flat major. If you want to think about it in terms of key signatures, the B-flat clarinet part will have 2 more sharps than the flute and oboe parts, so if you are writing in a sharp key to begin with the B-flat player will have to contend with even more sharps. Going from the B-flat to the A instrument adds 5 flats. So D major concert (2 sharps) is E major (4 sharps) for B-flat Cl. and F major (1 flat) for the A Cl. Isn't that fun?

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You know, after about 30 seconds in, I took my composer hat off and just listened to enjoy the music. It's really well done, and you're quite the composer. I loved the cadenza, and even though it was a bit stream-of-note heavy, you really show off what winds are great at. 

A performance of this is a must at some point, as I felt the clarinet had a distant timbre compared to the piano. I'm glad you updated this one, I somehow missed commenting on it!

Really well crafted, I'll be dropping by to listen to this one again and again. Thanks for sharing!

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11 hours ago, Thatguy v2.0 said:

You know, after about 30 seconds in, I took my composer hat off and just listened to enjoy the music. It's really well done, and you're quite the composer. I loved the cadenza, and even though it was a bit stream-of-note heavy, you really show off what winds are great at. 

A performance of this is a must at some point, as I felt the clarinet had a distant timbre compared to the piano. I'm glad you updated this one, I somehow missed commenting on it!

Really well crafted, I'll be dropping by to listen to this one again and again. Thanks for sharing!

 

Oh man, I'd love to see a performance on this one! If I actually had performers... one day, maybe, maybe not, idk

Thanks for the kind words! I do appreciate it, a lot actually.

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