Author Topic: String Symphony in E-flat major  (Read 1470 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

StevenOBrien

  • Guest
String Symphony in E-flat major
« on: February 22, 2013, 11:26:28 PM »
Video with Score/Music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2j7o1br5XYM&hd=1
Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/stevenobrien/sets/string-symphony-no-1-in-e-flat/
Score PDF: http://steven-obrien.net/strsymph1op5.pdf
Sibelius File: http://steven-obrien.net/strsymph1op5.sib

This is my first "serious" attempt at composing something for a string orchestra (fresh from the orchestration manual), so I'm certain that I've made quite a few unforgivable schoolboy errors. Please be so kind as to point them out to me if you spot anything out of the ordinary.

Apart from the general stuff, there's three things in particular that I'm looking for feedback on. I'm aware that I have a tendency to write in quite a high register for the first violins, and that I write quite a few difficult multiple stops (If possible, I would intend for them all to be played as such, but I wouldn't have an issue with an orchestra choosing to play the more difficult ones as divisi. Every single one is possible to play, because I wanted this work to be playable by a string quintet too). I'm also wondering whether or not my excessive utilization of the double bass' C extension is acceptable. If any of you have any guidance or feedback to offer in these three areas in particular, I'd be very appreciative!

Also, I'd like to apologize for the subpar quality and sometimes glitchy nature of the mockup. I've been working on the mockup alone on and off for nearly a month now and I really just wanted to get the work released so I could move on to other things. Hopefully in the near future, I'll be able to rework things with a more suitable sample library, or even secure a recording for the work. For now though, it's as perfect as it's going to get with my current setup.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback, and I hope you enjoy it! Thank you for listening!

-Steven

Offline Est.1965

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3898
  • Havergal Brian wrote two symphonies in 1965
  • Location: Clydebank, Scotland
Re: String Symphony in E-flat major
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2013, 09:58:36 AM »
Congrats on achieving this work, which I bet when played by a real Orchestra would sound like it was composed over 200 years ago - not 2013 - great Classical / Romantic feeling to this.  What were you doing, speaking to Herr Felix Mendelssohn whilst you were writing it?  I'm not a musician myself, so I can't assist with technicalities, but I know when I like something I hear.  This is one of those things.  Great expression achieved in the strings, even though it's a computer orchestra and not the London Symphony Orchestra!   :P
It lends itself to too many variations towards the end, one or two of them sounding like they don't belong.  Other than that?
Excellent stuff.   ;D
Dear Hans Rott
In the 1980s there was a creative punk group called "Big Audio Dynamite".  I have decided to apply the term to you, my man.  And I still haven't properly finished your Screenplay yet.  Too bad.  Take care anyway old chum, I'm off to listen to Brahms!
Kind regards, John

StevenOBrien

  • Guest
Re: String Symphony in E-flat major
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2013, 10:04:18 AM »
Congrats on achieving this work, which I bet when played by a real Orchestra would sound like it was composed over 200 years ago - not 2013 - great Classical / Romantic feeling to this.  What were you doing, speaking to Herr Felix Mendelssohn whilst you were writing it?  I'm not a musician myself, so I can't assist with technicalities, but I know when I like something I hear.  This is one of those things.  Great expression achieved in the strings, even though it's a computer orchestra and not the London Symphony Orchestra!   :P
It lends itself to too many variations towards the end, one or two of them sounding like they don't belong.  Other than that?
Excellent stuff.   ;D
Thanks for listening Scots, I'm very glad you liked it! I'm very keen on Mendelssohn's octet, so I'm sure its influence creeped in from time to time, but if I had to pick an influence, I'd give credit to Mozart's last trilogy of symphonies more than anything.

Could you be a little more specific about your qualms about the end? I'm not entirely sure what you mean.

Offline Est.1965

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3898
  • Havergal Brian wrote two symphonies in 1965
  • Location: Clydebank, Scotland
Re: String Symphony in E-flat major
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2013, 10:23:17 AM »
Could you be a little more specific about your qualms about the end? I'm not entirely sure what you mean.

LOL, I will have to listen to it again to pinpoint what I mean, though I wouldn't worry about it as I'm never sure what I mean myself at any given moment.   I'll get back to you when I have another listen over the weekend, it's probably nothing but the digital sound being hefty in the treble - not a compositional thing, and not a qualm.   :laugh:  It might even be the computer hardware I'm using to listen to it .   :-\
Dear Hans Rott
In the 1980s there was a creative punk group called "Big Audio Dynamite".  I have decided to apply the term to you, my man.  And I still haven't properly finished your Screenplay yet.  Too bad.  Take care anyway old chum, I'm off to listen to Brahms!
Kind regards, John

StevenOBrien

  • Guest
Re: String Symphony in E-flat major
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2013, 10:37:58 AM »
LOL, I will have to listen to it again to pinpoint what I mean, though I wouldn't worry about it as I'm never sure what I mean myself at any given moment.   I'll get back to you when I have another listen over the weekend, it's probably nothing but the digital sound being hefty in the treble - not a compositional thing, and not a qualm.   :laugh:  It might even be the computer hardware I'm using to listen to it .   :-\
Fair enough, but I'd still love to hear your thoughts regardless, even if it's not a composition thing. ;)

Offline Luke

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2436
  • Tuplet Nester (Fourth Degree)
Re: String Symphony in E-flat major
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2013, 07:00:25 AM »
I just had time to look very briefly at your score, and haven't listened to the mock-up yet. Many things about the music look really, really good, and without listening and spending time with the music I can't comment on it structurally etc. So I will only answer the query you make about double stopping. I think you are right, there is too much double-stopping, and it is often a bit unidiomatic when it occurs. Though all the double stops are possible, as you say, some are quite unwieldy - remember that double-stopping tends to alter the quality of sound you are going to get (so you can't really use e.g. it in the middle of a melodic line without disturbing the overall sonority). It's better to save it for places which require the extra volume, weight and roughened change of sonority, or for its particular colour - e.g. a 'rustic' open fifth drone will sound better double-stopped by one player even if there are two instruments available to play the two different notes. If it is necessary for other reasons - e.g simply to complete the harmony - then give the player time to prepare and make it sound as un-double-stoppy as possible. But I am not saying I saw these particular issues in your score. Overall, as a cellist I can say that the music is very grateful to play apart from quite a few of the double stops, and I think violinists and violists would say the same. But I think that in most cases there will be a quick fix for this issue.

Offline Cato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8562
  • An American Hero!
Re: String Symphony in E-flat major
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2013, 11:57:09 AM »
... I think you are right, there is too much double-stopping, and it is often a bit unidiomatic when it occurs. Though all the double stops are possible, as you say, some are quite unwieldy - remember that double-stopping tends to alter the quality of sound you are going to get (so you can't really use e.g. it in the middle of a melodic line without disturbing the overall sonority). It's better to save it for places which require the extra volume, weight and roughened change of sonority, or for its particular colour - from quite a few of the double stops, and I think violinists and violists would say the same. But I think that in most cases there will be a quick fix for this issue.

On that issue emphasized above, check e.g. the score of  Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov and other of his works.
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)