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VINO, II - SHIRAZ. Symphony for Winds. The second movement to my first symphony. Each movement is about a different wine.


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Unusual (regarding what I'm used to listen to):

The kind of long introduction, very rythmical, sounds Spanish-esque or at least mediterranean to me. The first passages are very strong and tense, and loud to the point they made me quickly lower the volume.

The fragment that goes from ~1:33 to ~2:54 and the following passage starting in D Major contrast and fit perfectly with the prior and ulterior parts. I can hardly believe this is noteperformer and not a real orchestra (excepting in brass sections), what a powerful tool (not compatible with musescore 3 it seems, sadly)!

The passage that begins at around min 5 is very majestic and ends satisfyingly enough to my ears. Said section along the whole middle of the movement with the flute dancing here and there over the pedal notes and then fusing with other instruments when getting near those D major triumphal bars are really my favourite parts of the piece. Your skill on scoring drums and pitched perc. is remarkable.

Overall a solid, well-written movement with very tense and peaceful moments balancing each other properly. Congratulations! One detail though, I cannot see the score at all, in the video. Perhaps it'd be cool that next time you shared a pdf along the piece visualization/audio.

Liked and subscribed BTW: pieces like yours definitely deserve more attention on YT, I will try to convince my friends to have a listen =).

Kind regards,
Daniel–Ømicrón.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This is awesome! I definitely hear the Spanish or middle-eastern vibes too. I'm curious how this is associated with the Shiraz wine though? I'm not a wine aficionado, but I thought they were mostly grown in France...

I really liked the slower, mysterious section starting around 1:30. The brass at 4:55 and onward are really awesome too. 

There's nothing wrong with the ending, but personally I might have done it a little differently. I think after around 5:35 I would have found a way to involve the woodwinds in the final build up. It just seems unbalanced that they don't come in until the last two bars. Just my opinion, I think it's great as it is.

I agree with the comment above about not being able to read the score in the video, I'd be interested to see some of the finer parts of your orchestration.

Overall this is a really great piece, you are very skilled in writing for wind band!

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is enjoyable to listen to, and it's very much what people would expect from a wind band piece. But as a long-time wind player, I'm very alert to people writing things that are unplayable, and I get particularly annoyed when people forget that wind players have to breathe. As Mark pointed out, the score is really too small to read, but it looks like you're asking a horn player to hold a note for about 70 seconds. And the middle woodwinds are asked to play 16th notes continuously (I think at forte) for about 40 seconds without any gap for a breath. If you're going to write for winds (and I mean actual human musicians and not just a computer simulation) then you have to take these things into account and orchestrate accordingly.

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17 minutes ago, Tom Statler said:

This is enjoyable to listen to, and it's very much what people would expect from a wind band piece. But as a long-time wind player, I'm very alert to people writing things that are unplayable, and I get particularly annoyed when people forget that wind players have to breathe. As Mark pointed out, the score is really too small to read, but it looks like you're asking a horn player to hold a note for about 70 seconds. And the middle woodwinds are asked to play 16th notes continuously (I think at forte) for about 40 seconds without any gap for a breath. If you're going to write for winds (and I mean actual human musicians and not just a computer simulation) then you have to take these things into account and orchestrate accordingly.

 

Humans are perfectly capable of playing these lines. I am in the top band at my university and I've been asked to do these same exact things many times. 2 bar repeating sixteenth note runs is easy. Holding a note with multiple people in a section is easy. Just because breaths aren't explicitly written in doesn't mean that they aren't allowed to breathe. I'm not going to write breath marks in every part because I'm not writing for beginning band. People can figure it out themselves among their section when and where to breathe to create the illusion of non stop sound, because literally every ensemble does it. 

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13 minutes ago, Brandon S said:

Humans are perfectly capable of playing these lines. I am in the top band at my university and I've been asked to do these same exact things many times. 2 bar repeating sixteenth note runs is easy. Holding a note with multiple people in a section is easy. Just because breaths aren't explicitly written in doesn't mean that they aren't allowed to breathe. I'm not going to write breath marks in every part because I'm not writing for beginning band. People can figure it out themselves among their section when and where to breathe to create the illusion of non stop sound, because literally every ensemble does it. 

 

A good orchestrator will think about these things in advance and not force the players to decide what notes to leave out or to ask their neighbors to cover for them while they get oxygen. Yes, people do regularly figure these things out for themselves but that shouldn't be an excuse for lazy orchestration.

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1 minute ago, Tom Statler said:

A good orchestrator will think about these things in advance and not force the players to decide what notes to leave out or to ask their neighbors to cover for them while they get oxygen. Yes, people do regularly figure these things out for themselves but that shouldn't be an excuse for lazy orchestration.

 

Some of the best band pieces of all time uses these devices. Duende movement four has consistent running sixteenths. The end of maslanks symphony 4 has about 2 minutes of slamming held C concerts. It genuinely seems like you're saying because you can't play it, it's wrong and you're coming off as very insecure. Go tell maslankas son that his dad, arguably one of the best modern wind band writers of all time, was lazy. 

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Brandon,

Good work. I particularly enjoyed the percussion part at the beginning. It is written as if you got in the skin of a great jazz drummer. Indeed, classical composers are focussing on melody and harmony so much that they are usually not that good at writing drum parts except few exceptions which proves the point. About that horn note that goes On for a minute or more (from 1:27 to 2:39 to be exact). I agree with you that the note could have been handed over the full horn section and John Williams has done it on soundrack. If only Roger Bobo was playing the horn for you, we would believe it and he would have done some magic to make the long note lively with decrescendos, hairpins and vibratos but he plays tuba. Unfortunately for you, the Garritan Orchestra VST is really not helping you on that as it sounds like a stuck keyboard note and has no nuance at all. I usually never read the score since I have good listening skills but this time I had to check if a horn was really playing because at first I thought there was a sine wave test tone forgotten in the recording. Nevertheless, it worth waiting a minute twelve seconds because the harmony just after was a real delight even though it is played with Garritan Orchestra VST. From 3:35 and after, there are some very good orchestration effects. However, I am not sure about the timpani quarter notes all sounding the same. The absence of round robin is really hurting the ear or maybe it is because it sounds like a robot. Or maybe the first percussion part was so good I was still having percussion expectations throughout the score. Then you go with the woodwinds, which orchestration is convincing except a short moment (or two) where for some reason it gets confused (4:16). After that, these timpani gets really annoying to the point that I wonder why it was invited to play at all. From 5:35 we get a delightful brass chord sequence that I would have love hearing at a slower tempo and then have the tempo increases up to the end.

Don’t listen to those people who tell you that you can’t do this and that or people that are telling you that it is unplayable. Steve Reich, Terry Riley, John Adams and Philip Glass works were not easy to play either and their thinking is out of the box of the so called classical music paradigm. In the 5th century the augmented 4th was banned in Renaissance church music as it was considered as “The Evil chord” while in fact the second minor is much more dissonant. If we had stopped using the augmented 4th the twentieth century music would have not exist. In 1913 The Rite of Spring was performed for the first time and was considered as outrageous and guess what. Today, The Rite of Spring is played at least once a year by almost every great orchestra in the world. This “you can’t do that” syndrome is killing the classical music. Wonder why the classical music market is falling to an historical low of 1.5% of the music listened today.

If you write music the way classical people are telling you to write, you will end up writing in the style of Salieri, Peri and Lully. I prefer listening to soundtrack music composer such as John Williams, Korngold, Steiner, Rozsa, László Melis and many others or even the cursed Hans Zimmer ;o)

Your music is better than it sounds (as it is for many other composers on this forum). It is nice to have a well written score but if it stays on the shelf, what does it worth? Of course if it was played by great musicians, recorded in a great recording studio (Abbey Road for instance) or a great hall with the best sound engineers with the best microphones it would sound much better. However, what is the probability that it ever happens. I knew composers that had 70 years careers that have been played by great musicians or orchestra not even a dozen times in their life even though they had a large catalog. The pleasure of composing is to listen to it when it is well performed.

I remember my father showing me his beautifully hand written scores. His scores could have been printed directly since his writing was perfect. However, I also remember his frustration when he was listening to the performance of the musicians that could not even understand the modern music he wrote. The music was recorded by untalented sound engineers in dead studios or halls that sounded like a shoe box. Only few years before he died could he listen to some decently recorded music from his abundant catalog. Listening to his music was his greatest pleasure but at the same time listening to his recording was his biggest frustration.

Beware of those people during a performance or on this forum that looks at the score when the music is playing. They may be musicologist.

“A musicologist is a man who can read music but can’t hear it.”  Sir Thomas Beecham

My advice, get yourself a good DAW and some good VST to produce your music from your Finale score. You would have to export the MIDI file from Finale to a DAW and create the expression for each instruments but hey, it would sound so much better and isn’t that what we want as composers.

In DAW we trust. As well as deep sampling!

Cheers,

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On 11/7/2022 at 11:25 AM, Brandon S said:

Some of the best band pieces of all time uses these devices. Duende movement four has consistent running sixteenths. The end of maslanks symphony 4 has about 2 minutes of slamming held C concerts. It genuinely seems like you're saying because you can't play it, it's wrong and you're coming off as very insecure. Go tell maslankas son that his dad, arguably one of the best modern wind band writers of all time, was lazy. 

 

Well, "lazy" was a poor choice of wording, and so was "insecure". Its too bad when something that might have been an intelligent debate degenerates to insults. A sad sign of the times I suppose. We may not agree on this issue, but maybe we'll do better in conversation next time.

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Band music is way out of my wheelhouse, but I enjoyed this very much.

    While I can't make out the details of the score, the sheer size is daunting.    Hats off to you.

 

    (      BTW:   I also use Garritan, and for the cost, it has some real strengths.)

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I particularly enjoyed the percussion part at the beginning. It is written as if you got in the skin of a great jazz drummer. Indeed, classical composers are focussing on melody and harmony so much that they are usually not that good at writing drum parts except few exceptions which proves the point. About that horn note that goes On for a minute or more (from 1:27 to 2:39 to be exact). 

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