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Hello, lovely people of YCF.

I'm currently working on a major project: a violin concerto (my first!) for a friend and accomplished violinist. I am somewhat out of practice in all this, having been "away from keyboard" (i.e., not composing) for two years, so I'm not entirely sure how much of my inner music critic I should trust. That's where you come in!

I've attached what I've completed thus far — the first two "movements," though I use the term loosely as I intend the entire piece to be played without pause. (Andante con moto for the first 2 minutes of the recording and moderato assai for the final 2.) I'd like to know how well (or poorly) you feel the music flows here. Are the phrases too short? Do you feel the spacing between the tutti sections (the orchestral "bangs") should be increased? Do you find the Andante section not developed enough? For the violinists out there, would you find the solo part interesting / any fun to play?

It sounds okay to my ears, but again, there's a part of me that's second guessing. I feel like the Andante could possibly be lengthened... although it is an introduction and I didn't want the listener to get stuck in its languishing mood. But maybe it's embarrassingly short... decisions, decisions.

(FYI the 2nd "movement" is not complete, it's just as far as I've gotten. Furthermore, the piece will likely have 6 or 7 "movements." It all depends on how much development I feel is needed.) If you require a score for some reason, I can provide one — imperfect though it is.

Feel free to comment on overall impressions; I find those very useful, as well! Also, don't hesitate to ask questions if you have them. Thanks in advance for all your help!

Edited by Tónskáld
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Wow! I really enjoyed listening to this. It uses enough contemporary techniques to feel new and interesting, but not so many that it's inaccessible. I can't wait to hear the other movements. For me, a score would be helpful. On the other hand, not having a score forced be to really listen to the music, rather than just read it. I felt that the solo-ensemble balance was really good. Each phrase flowed naturally to the next. I loved the climax at the end. For these movements, it felt like the relationship between the soloist and the ensemble was often call-and-response, though not always. I think this worked well. Maybe later in the piece it could be interesting to explore other soloist-ensemble relationships? Also, might I ask if any techniques in particular guided the tonality (or lack thereof) in this piece? Thanks for posting this!

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55 minutes ago, pijanowski-kangas said:

Wow! I really enjoyed listening to this. It uses enough contemporary techniques to feel new and interesting, but not so many that it's inaccessible. I can't wait to hear the other movements. For me, a score would be helpful. On the other hand, not having a score forced be to really listen to the music, rather than just read it. I felt that the solo-ensemble balance was really good. Each phrase flowed naturally to the next. I loved the climax at the end. For these movements, it felt like the relationship between the soloist and the ensemble was often call-and-response, though not always. I think this worked well. Maybe later in the piece it could be interesting to explore other soloist-ensemble relationships?

Hello, and welcome to the forum!

First off, thank you for taking the time to listen and comment. So many entries to see on this site, so many other things vying for our attention. It truly means a lot to me! I am glad you enjoyed this and didn't find its harmonic language too off-putting. (More about that below.) Once I complete this first... um... chapter of the concerto, I'll post a score so you can follow along and feel sorry for the poor instruments I'm demanding so much of. 😁

I'm encouraged that you felt the flow was not disturbed in any way. That said, I have decided to expand the andante section a bit, perhaps provide some foreshadowing for the motifs that appear in the moderato section. I'm also going to inject a bit more material into the moderato section so that the climax at the end of the recording will be the actual end of the "movement."

Ah, yes, soloist-ensemble relationships. I knew I was forgetting something. I'm going to refresh myself on those techniques. Hopefully it will cure me of this writer's block!

1 hour ago, pijanowski-kangas said:

Also, might I ask if any techniques in particular guided the tonality (or lack thereof) in this piece?

My preferred harmonies are quartal/polytonal. I loved such harmonies even before I realized what they were, so I guess it should come as no surprise that I gravitate toward them naturally when composing. But I also rely heavily on Messiaen's 4th Mode of Limited Transposition (MoLT), which helps give structure to the tonal center of the piece. Most of the "modulations" in this work are transpositions of the dim5/aug4 — a side effect of using quartals — although each "key" features 4 tertian (diatonic) modalities. For example, the opening "key" has elements of E and B-flat major, and A-flat and D minor (the majors typically with an augmented 4th, and the minors with a major 6th... or the lydian and dorian modes, if you prefer).

In terms of harmonic/melodic cadences here, there really aren't any. I rely on harmonic tension and resolution (using a combination of perfect-perfect and augmented-perfect/perfect-augmented quartals) to drive the progression. I really do love the colors of these chords!

I'm also a fan of quintuple meter... hence the 5/4 time of this piece!

Thanks again for taking the time to listen/comment.

Best,

Jörfi

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Hey friend! It's been way too long since we last talked, its great that I decided to join the forum once again in a long time just now that you posted your wip. How have you been :) ?

I love how its going, it sound very evocative and would be very pleasing to listen to in a live setting. I honestly don't have much to say much about the music simply because... I want to see where it goes! It's a great start, and I was very entertained during all times, so just keep at it and keep us posted :)

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