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Violin concerto, part the 1st (9'00")


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All right, here is the completed draft of the first "movement" of the violin concerto I've been working on. I'm confident there will still be plenty of changes made, especially as I consult with the violinist dedicatee, but I'm going to put this here for feedback for now.

Two sections — andante con moto and moderato assai — played without pause between them. I've included both sections individually, as well as the combined file in case the stopping bothers you. I've also included the score, which is more or less cleaned up (haven't finalized the rehearsal markings yet btw).

This is all quartal and polytonal harmonies. I'm not apologizing for it, just be warned that this sounds very little like Beethoven or Brahms or Bach (maybe more like Bartók). The sound file has been rendered by Noteperformer... so please try to interpret the score accordingly! (For example, the triple stops in the violin part will likely be played more like acciaccatura and not simultaneously as in the recording.)

Feedback is always appreciated, even if it's as generic as "I didn't like it." (Although hopefully that won't be the case!) If you have any questions, I'm happy to try to answer them.

Happy listening!

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It's a beautiful piece. Are you perchance a violinist? (I'm a not very good violist but have talked aplenty with a retired professional in a local orchestra and looking through that part can see nothing 'impossible', acknowledging how the triple stops would be played (assuming they're played 'upward'. tell me if I'm wrong).

I'm happy enough to accept the work as it is with the minor exception of the closing bars (starting at around 174) the brass, while exhilarating came over too powerful. I'm not sure how you could tame it, assuming you'd want to. It's a grand end to what for much of the time is a translucent texture. I can't see a point in those bars where an earlier build up could start. Perhaps just a touch quieter might make it come as less of a surprise. 

There are moments elsewhere where balance and dynamics might be adjusted slightly as I'll bet you'll recognise yourself. I felt the violin should be a little more out-front and wonder if noteperformer hasn't let you down there. When solo it's fine but it's easily weakened in the mix. Perhaps you want it that way?

As a movement it holds together well - an accomplishment indeed - so if you changed the musical structure and/or harmony that would be because you've changed your mind about its development.

I briefly looked through the score but if I may say so, it's obvious that you know what you're doing so I didn't go into much detail. 

 

I'd love to hear your final rendering or, if it comes to it, the live performance.

Cheers for now. 

 

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3 minutes ago, Quinn said:

It's a beautiful piece. Are you perchance a violinist? (I'm a not very good violist but have talked aplenty with a retired professional in a local orchestra and looking through that part can see nothing 'impossible', acknowledging how the triple stops would be played (assuming they're played 'upward'. tell me if I'm wrong).

Thank you! I am also a not very good violist, though I do own a violin and did my best to work out the fingerings/bowings of some of the more difficult passages.

4 minutes ago, Quinn said:

I'm happy enough to accept the work as it is with the minor exception of the closing bars (starting at around 174) the brass, while exhilarating came over too powerful. I'm not sure how you could tame it, assuming you'd want to. It's a grand end to what for much of the time is a translucent texture. I can't see a point in those bars where an earlier build up could start. Perhaps just a touch quieter might make it come as less of a surprise.

You know, I hadn't considered that the ending would be uncharacteristically bombastic — it was written early on in the life of this work, and I'd decided on creating a 'foreshadowing' of the ending about midway through the piece (the tutti passage at around 2'30" of the moderato section) to prepare the listener for it. However, now that I listen to the closing bars and take the transluscence of the piece into consideration, I agree that it's too much. Thanks for the heads-up!

10 minutes ago, Quinn said:

There are moments elsewhere where balance and dynamics might be adjusted slightly as I'll bet you'll recognise yourself. I felt the violin should be a little more out-front and wonder if noteperformer hasn't let you down there. When solo it's fine but it's easily weakened in the mix. Perhaps you want it that way?

I noticed that, too. I've not used Noteperformer before so its mechanics are new to me; it seems it plays things with relativity, as you noticed. I'm going to work on a better rendering. Hopefully that will address these issues of balance and dynamics.

15 minutes ago, Quinn said:

As a movement it holds together well - an accomplishment indeed - so if you changed the musical structure and/or harmony that would be because you've changed your mind about its development.

Thank you! No, I would likely only be changing the solo violin passages per the advice of the violinist. I'm afraid my composing style isn't quite his preference, so I feel I should at least let him play a part he finds enjoyable.

17 minutes ago, Quinn said:

I'd love to hear your final rendering or, if it comes to it, the live performance.

Yes, thank you! Me, too!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have zero experience of quartal or polytonal harmony and I listen to little music that incorporates it, especially in its entirety as you claim.

Even so, I am nonetheless enchanted by the 'disturbances' that you have captured. I feel that this music is more relatable to the human experience over which the urge to sugar coat with niceties and artificial unity are resisted.

Thank you for sharing... it has been enlightening 😉

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4 hours ago, Markus Boyd said:

I have zero experience of quartal or polytonal harmony and I listen to little music that incorporates it, especially in its entirety as you claim.

Even so, I am nonetheless enchanted by the 'disturbances' that you have captured. I feel that this music is more relatable to the human experience over which the urge to sugar coat with niceties and artificial unity are resisted.

Thank you for sharing... it has been enlightening 😉

I very much appreciate your taking the time to listen and provide comment. I am quite moved by your humble remarks, particularly the bit about the music relating to the human experience. That is the ultimate goal of each piece I write: to echo what it means to be human within the confines of the aural arts. This particular work may be easier to 'hear' that within, owing to the singular voice of the solo violin; nevertheless, I am glad you were able to find the 'enlightening' connection. 😉 

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