Author Topic: If you were (or are) a composer, what kind of works would you write?  (Read 3929 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 61688
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: If you were (or are) a composer, what kind of works would you write?
« Reply #40 on: September 25, 2021, 05:12:24 AM »
I didn't know you have composed symphonies. Are they choral?

You'll succeed at it, Karl. I'm sure.

I appreciate your kindness, indeed. № 1 is for orchestra, № 2 for band. № 3 will be for strings. I don't feel any motivation at present to write a choral symphony, but anything can happen.

Separately,

How precious and preachy:

Quote from: Carlos Guastavino
I love melody, I love to sing. I refuse to compose music only intended to be discovered and understood by future generations.

Duke Ellington is far better, and not least for the manly lack of strawmen: We don't care about posterity, we want it to sound good now.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Symphonic Addict

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4003
Re: If you were (or are) a composer, what kind of works would you write?
« Reply #41 on: September 25, 2021, 07:03:42 PM »
I appreciate your kindness, indeed. № 1 is for orchestra, № 2 for band. № 3 will be for strings. I don't feel any motivation at present to write a choral symphony, but anything can happen.

Oh, I see. I ask because I've seen and heard you're mainly a solo choral and instrumental composer (?)

I'd like very interested in listening to those first two symphonies.
Give us something else; give us something new; for Heaven's sake give us something bad, so long as we feel we are alive and active and not just passive admirers of tradition!

Carl Nielsen

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 61688
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: If you were (or are) a composer, what kind of works would you write?
« Reply #42 on: September 26, 2021, 02:07:26 PM »
Oh, I see. I ask because I've seen and heard you're mainly a solo choral and instrumental composer (?)

I'd like very interested in listening to those first two symphonies.

I warmly appreciate your interest, Cesar! If you can bear the inherent inadequacies of the MIDI extractions:

Symphony № 1, Op. 143 (completed 2017)

Symphony № 2 for band, Karl’s Big (But Happily Incomplete) Map to the Body) Op. 148 (completed 2021)
Movement 1, The Nerves
Movement 2, The Heart
Movement 3, The Lungs I’ve not yet uploaded (I want to finalize the score's layout first)
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline krummholz

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 436
  • Vagn Holmboe (1909-1996)
  • Location: Central Vermont, US
Re: If you were (or are) a composer, what kind of works would you write?
« Reply #43 on: September 27, 2021, 06:12:52 AM »
Will there be a 4th movement to your Symphony No. 2, Karl? (Maybe "The Muscles"?)

Offline krummholz

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 436
  • Vagn Holmboe (1909-1996)
  • Location: Central Vermont, US
Re: If you were (or are) a composer, what kind of works would you write?
« Reply #44 on: September 27, 2021, 06:20:17 AM »
It's really interesting reading everyone's responses! It would be fun for everyone to try their hand at writing a piece - I'd love to see the results!

As for me, well, I'm a composer. A bit out of practice - save for a couple of songs and some short piano pieces, I haven't tried to write anything in more than 20 years. Within the last year, though, I've wanted to get back into writing music - I've been entering some of my old pieces into Sibelius and really enjoying the process. But I've been hesitant to dive back in all the way, though - my recent attempts to create anything new have fizzled after a few bars, and on top of that, I don't have the time to devote to composing like I did in my college days - life has a habit of getting in the way!

As for my style? It's tonal through and through, with a healthy dose of dissonance for color and "spice". Lively and rhythmic in the fast parts, gently lyrical in the slow ones. I don't know if it "sounds like" one composer or another - perhaps Walter Piston meets Francis Poulenc, with a smattering of George Lloyd, a dash of Edmund Rubbra, and a garnish of Leonard Bernstein? Not that I'm anywhere *near* as talented as any one of those guys, but you get the idea.

I tend to write in abstract forms - I've never been one for programmatic titles that have some "deeper meaning". If it's written for string quartet, it's a String Quartet. If it's written for a solo instrument with piano, it's a Sonata. A piano solo may be a Prelude or a Nocturne or a Scherzo or what have you, depending on the character of the piece, but that's as far as I'll go. It's on my "bucket list" to write a full, multi-movement symphony - but if indeed I take the leap back into composing, I'll need to build myself back up to writing in longer forms.

I'm debating whether to share my older compositions on the "Composing and Performing" thread... I don't know if that's more geared to works in progress. We'll see.

Welcome, classicalgeek! Your journey sounds similar to mine, nearly two years ago now. Hadn't written anything since my student days (in my case, closer to 45 years ago!), then discovered MuseScore and entered some of my student compositions into it. The most interesting one was a sketch for a one-movement piece for string quartet, which has since become my String Quartet No. 1. Then, like you, I went for Sibelius and haven't looked back. Have since finished one large-scale work for chamber string orchestra. I have ideas for a sonata for viola and piano, that I'd like to write as a way of thanking a local violist who helped me immeasurably with notational issues in my piece for strings. But I also teach full-time during the academic year, which leaves very little time for composing.

I don't think the Composing and Performing section is only for works in progress... please post some of your work if you're so inclined, I for one would be interested to hear it!

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 61688
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: If you were (or are) a composer, what kind of works would you write?
« Reply #45 on: September 27, 2021, 06:34:32 AM »
Will there be a 4th movement to your Symphony No. 2, Karl? (Maybe "The Muscles"?)

I wasn't planning on it, but that's a capital idea!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Chaszz

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 483
  • Alberta Notch
  • Location: Carmel, NY
  • Currently Listening to:
    Amore Dei Tre Re, Montemezzi
Re: If you were (or are) a composer, what kind of works would you write?
« Reply #46 on: September 27, 2021, 07:33:20 AM »
If I were a composer.... as an artist, I've always been interested in pictures of things, representational art, no interest in abstract or more precisely non-objective art, and this would be true in music also. It would have to be opera. A story. Or at least a picture, program music. As to opera, the operatic voice tradition is not of our time, and I would replace it with something else, and I would also stay away from the Broadway tradition. But I don't know what I would replace these things with. I like what David Mamet did with speech in some of his plays and films, that is, American hard-boiled speech as a kind of poetry. This would be good to do with both the lyrics and the music, a kind of vernacular. Or maybe something like the Ellington Sacred music, but as opera with a story. And what could be done with a plot, something that would NOT involve the tragedy of a woman unloved or scorned who dies, the theme of so many operas. So my work is just a series of question marks, not a good plan. Yet.

Offline Chaszz

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 483
  • Alberta Notch
  • Location: Carmel, NY
  • Currently Listening to:
    Amore Dei Tre Re, Montemezzi
Re: If you were (or are) a composer, what kind of works would you write?
« Reply #47 on: September 27, 2021, 08:07:19 AM »
I would write a Symphony in E Major and be done with it!   ;D

Dear Johannes Brahms
Do you like symphonic mosaics?  Just askin'.
Kind regards,
John

Brahms, to a friend: "You want to be a composer?
No vacancies on offer."






Online classicalgeek

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 751
  • Location: Pacific Northwest, USA
  • Currently Listening to:
    Dvorak, Janacek, Martinu, Shostakovich, Poulenc, Koechlin, Stravinsky, Barber, Mahler (always!), 20th century symphonies (Arnold, Badings, Holmboe, Malipiero, George Lloyd, Rorem, Rubbra, and many others!)
Re: If you were (or are) a composer, what kind of works would you write?
« Reply #48 on: September 27, 2021, 10:12:28 AM »
That combination of influences sounds very cool to me. I share some of things.

My music would have touches of Nielsen, Janacek, Respighi, Sibelius, Shostakovich, among others.

I benefit abstract forms, but it's inevitable to me to give them titles or names. My music would have a very descriptive character, actually, but not always.

Those are all great influences too! Shostakovich especially is a composer I admire quite a bit.

Quote
I'll write perhaps ten symphonies more (I've now written two.) It will be an interesting question: how many will I actually write, if my first symphony never receives a performance?
I should like to write a clarinet quintet. Probably will not unless I come to collaborate with a string quartet, which hardly seems likely.
I have ideas for a couple of operas, but (unlike the symphonies nos. 1 & 2) I just cannot see expending that effort on a score that may just sit on the shelf.

I look forward to checking out more of your compositions, Karl. I see you shared your symphonies, I will give those a listen.

Quote
Welcome, classicalgeek! Your journey sounds similar to mine, nearly two years ago now. Hadn't written anything since my student days (in my case, closer to 45 years ago!), then discovered MuseScore and entered some of my student compositions into it. The most interesting one was a sketch for a one-movement piece for string quartet, which has since become my String Quartet No. 1. Then, like you, I went for Sibelius and haven't looked back. Have since finished one large-scale work for chamber string orchestra. I have ideas for a sonata for viola and piano, that I'd like to write as a way of thanking a local violist who helped me immeasurably with notational issues in my piece for strings. But I also teach full-time during the academic year, which leaves very little time for composing.

I don't think the Composing and Performing section is only for works in progress... please post some of your work if you're so inclined, I for one would be interested to hear it!

Thank you, krummholz! I have live performances of a few works from the mid-90s (with students, sometimes with one or two rehearsals, so the results are variable) plus I have digital recordings using NotePerformer. I'll try to post something in the coming days. And I'll check out your works as well! I hear you on having little time for composition... I have a full-time job as a software test engineer, two kids (16 and 10), and I'm taking care of my aging mother! What I wouldn't give just to work on music all day...
« Last Edit: September 27, 2021, 10:21:44 AM by classicalgeek »

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 61688
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: If you were (or are) a composer, what kind of works would you write?
« Reply #49 on: September 27, 2021, 10:30:09 AM »

I look forward to checking out more of your compositions, Karl. I see you shared your symphonies, I will give those a listen.

Thanks! You are a busy soul! Strength to you!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Symphonic Addict

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4003
Re: If you were (or are) a composer, what kind of works would you write?
« Reply #50 on: September 27, 2021, 11:04:39 AM »
I warmly appreciate your interest, Cesar! If you can bear the inherent inadequacies of the MIDI extractions:

Symphony № 1, Op. 143 (completed 2017)

Symphony № 2 for band, Karl’s Big (But Happily Incomplete) Map to the Body) Op. 148 (completed 2021)
Movement 1, The Nerves
Movement 2, The Heart
Movement 3, The Lungs I’ve not yet uploaded (I want to finalize the score's layout first)

Very nice, Karl. I'm gonna give them a try. Thanks for sharing them!
Give us something else; give us something new; for Heaven's sake give us something bad, so long as we feel we are alive and active and not just passive admirers of tradition!

Carl Nielsen

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 17582
Re: If you were (or are) a composer, what kind of works would you write?
« Reply #51 on: September 27, 2021, 11:22:53 AM »
I would be the sort of composer who doesn’t make works at all. Rather I would do things to empowering performers to make inspiring and exciting music. Maybe I’d provide structures for improvisation, maybe I’d create modules which performers can assemble and modify in their own way, maybe I’d write texts which stimulate performance ideas.

Personally I don’t find the idea of a composer à la Beethoven or Josquin or Ferneyhough  - someone who creates a set of instructions for performers follow - very interesting. I’d like to be a composer à la Pauline Oliveros or Anthony Braxton.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2021, 11:25:34 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Online classicalgeek

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 751
  • Location: Pacific Northwest, USA
  • Currently Listening to:
    Dvorak, Janacek, Martinu, Shostakovich, Poulenc, Koechlin, Stravinsky, Barber, Mahler (always!), 20th century symphonies (Arnold, Badings, Holmboe, Malipiero, George Lloyd, Rorem, Rubbra, and many others!)
Re: If you were (or are) a composer, what kind of works would you write?
« Reply #52 on: September 27, 2021, 11:52:55 AM »
Thanks! You are a busy soul! Strength to you!

Life gets really busy sometimes. I want to make more time for music, particularly composition, as it's one thing that brings me joy and a sense of purpose.

I just tried to play your Symphony no. 1, but YouTube has marked it a private video.  :(  Not a problem with your Second Symphony, so I'll listen soon.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 61688
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: If you were (or are) a composer, what kind of works would you write?
« Reply #53 on: September 27, 2021, 12:08:10 PM »
Life gets really busy sometimes. I want to make more time for music, particularly composition, as it's one thing that brings me joy and a sense of purpose.

I just tried to play your Symphony no. 1, but YouTube has marked it a private video.  :(  Not a problem with your Second Symphony, so I'll listen soon.
Oh, I didn't realize. I believe I've just made it public.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Online (: premont :)

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 10148
Re: If you were (or are) a composer, what kind of works would you write?
« Reply #54 on: September 27, 2021, 12:10:33 PM »

Personally I don’t find the idea of a composer à la Beethoven or Josquin or Ferneyhough  - someone who creates a set of instructions for performers follow - very interesting.

But never-the-less their works have been very rewarding to a large group of music lovers. yourself among them.
As soon as a word has left the lips, not even the fastest horse can catch up with it.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 61688
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: If you were (or are) a composer, what kind of works would you write?
« Reply #55 on: September 27, 2021, 12:14:43 PM »
I would be the sort of composer who doesn’t make works at all. Rather I would do things to empowering performers to make inspiring and exciting music. Maybe I’d provide structures for improvisation, maybe I’d create modules which performers can assemble and modify in their own way, maybe I’d write texts which stimulate performance ideas.

Personally I don’t find the idea of a composer à la Beethoven or Josquin or Ferneyhough  - someone who creates a set of instructions for performers follow - very interesting. I’d like to be a composer à la Pauline Oliveros or Anthony Braxton.

Of course you'd just substitute a different class of "set of instructions for performers to follow," you know.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1976
  • Location: U.S.A.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Eric Dolphy, Persian music, Sorabji, Scriabin, Sex Pistols
Re: If you were (or are) a composer, what kind of works would you write?
« Reply #56 on: September 27, 2021, 12:21:35 PM »
I wish I could compose an orchestral suite of Highway Star, Deep Purple!
Tomorrow Never Knows (The Beatles) as well.

Offline krummholz

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 436
  • Vagn Holmboe (1909-1996)
  • Location: Central Vermont, US
Re: If you were (or are) a composer, what kind of works would you write?
« Reply #57 on: September 27, 2021, 01:03:14 PM »
Thank you, krummholz! I have live performances of a few works from the mid-90s (with students, sometimes with one or two rehearsals, so the results are variable) plus I have digital recordings using NotePerformer. I'll try to post something in the coming days. And I'll check out your works as well! I hear you on having little time for composition... I have a full-time job as a software test engineer, two kids (16 and 10), and I'm taking care of my aging mother! What I wouldn't give just to work on music all day...

Yet another point of contact between us, then: NotePerformer! I have to admit that sometimes I get so angry with NP that I could almost throw the computer through a window... I'm very fussy about articulation and precise playing, and every rendering of my music has places where NP just doesn't respect what I've written, whether it's a legato phrase that's broken up at some random point, or a blooper by an "instrument" that comes in too early or too late. Fortunately it always happens at a different point in the score, so I can usually splice together a serviceable rendering from two or more imperfect ones. But I have to love an app that can make the music of an ordinary mortal like myself sound like great music... in many ways, with all its flaws, it's the next best thing to having your music performed by a professional ensemble. I look forward to hearing some of yours, both in your live performances and as rendered by NP!

If you do check out some of my threads in the Composing section, scroll down to the bottom to find the most recent versions of my stuff. The two works that I've posted so far have always been works in progress... though I think they're both in final form at this point (quite sure in the case of the String Quartet).

Offline Symphonic Addict

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4003
Re: If you were (or are) a composer, what kind of works would you write?
« Reply #58 on: September 27, 2021, 02:50:37 PM »
Oh, I didn't realize. I believe I've just made it public.

Same here. I can't watch it either.
Give us something else; give us something new; for Heaven's sake give us something bad, so long as we feel we are alive and active and not just passive admirers of tradition!

Carl Nielsen

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 61688
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: If you were (or are) a composer, what kind of works would you write?
« Reply #59 on: September 27, 2021, 02:59:18 PM »
Same here. I can't watch it either.

Still? Phooey! A pox on YouTube.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot