Author Topic: Ottevanger's Omphaloskeptic Outpost  (Read 286459 times)

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lukeottevanger

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Ottevanger's Omphaloskeptic Outpost
« on: April 06, 2007, 01:24:08 PM »
OK, new board, new thread (for old thread click here - I expect I'll have to update this link at some point). As there’s nothing pressing to add, I’ll just open up by copying out from various places on that thread all the links to recordings and scores of my pieces. For those who’ve already seen them, I should point out that there are a few new links hidden in here. I had posted them into the thread on the old board, and I’ve only just realised they were wiped out by the last crash, last week. I was wondering why no one had downloaded them - now I know!

Quote from: lukeottevanger
I’m doing the pieces in chronological order, btw. I include a few descriptive words and page number references to places where the piece has already been discussed/described/responded to on this thread:

Nocturne - 1990 Earliest piece - a fluke? - but similar to some much later pieces. Pages 1 and 7 of this thread.
Nocturne - mp3]
Nocturne - score]

Four Paz Songs - 1997 Pages 8 and 9
Recordings:
Amistad
En los jardines de los Lodi
Lo identico
interlude - Madrigal
Score:
Four Paz Songs score

Fragments - 1999-2000 series of miniatures exploring various technical ideas and romantic imagery. Various pieces discussed on page 2
Scores:
no 1
no 2
no 3
no 4
no 5
no 6
no 7
no 8
no 11
no 12
no 13
no 14 Same piece as Nocturne, included for completeness’ sake

Cartographie  - 1999-2001 First three of aet of seven studies using chance elements and maps as source material, hence title. Not discussed yet.
Scores:
no 1 same as Fragments no 5
no 2
no 3 same as Fragments no 6
Recordings:
No 1 Perdendo
No 2 Voyages A[u ]strales
No 3 Black Jack

Vox exigua et fusca - 2001 Rough, harsh viola solo - portrait of Nero-as-artist!
Vox exigua et fusca - score

The Chant of Carnus - 2001 Concertante Trumpet piece based on Greek myth. Very rough rehearsal recording. Pages 9-11
Recording:
The Chant of Carnus

Memorial - 2002-4 Large, unfinished piano piece; all notes chosen ‘by chance’; threnody. Discussed on pages 1 and 21
Recording:
Memorial

Improvisations - 2003 all composed in brief bursts (half hour at most) over period of a few weeks. First pieces I wrote to simply trust my inner compulsions to some extent. Discussed on  pages 3, and 9-11
Recordings first:
Improvisation no 1
Improvisation no 2
Improvisation no 3
Improvisation no 4
Improvisation no 5
Improvisation no 6
Improvisation no 7
Improvisation no 8
Improvisation no 9
Improvisation no 10
Improvisation no 11
Improvisation no 12
Improvisation no 13
Improvisation no 14
Improvisation no 15
Improvisation no 16
Improvisation no 17
Improvisation no 18
Improvisation no 19
Improvisation no 20
And scores:
Improvisation no 1
Improvisation no 2
Improvisation no 3
Improvisation no 4
Improvisation no 5
Improvisation no 6
Improvisation no 7
Improvisation no 8
Improvisation no 9
Improvisation no 10
Improvisation no 11
Improvisation no 12
Improvisation no 13
Improvisation no 14
Improvisation no 15
Improvisation no 16
Improvisation no 17
Improvisation no 18
Improvisation no 19
Improvisation no 20

Through the Year - 2003 20 pieces for children/about childhood, composed one per day in Autumn 03. Very ‘English’  - mild, wistful, simple. Written with my own daughter (my son wasn‘t born yet), nieces and nephews in mind. Simple and unambitious though they are, I think these are among my very best pieces. There are five for each season, starting with Autumn. Discussed page 4.
Recordings:
no 1 Piano Practice on a Rainy Day
no 2 A Walk in the Woods
no 3 A Fallen Leaf
no 4 Mountain Echoes
no 5 Evening Bell - Birds Circle Overhead
no 6 Snow Starts to Fall
no 7 Sunset
no 8 Cat By the Fireside
no 9 Dreaming
no 10 Moonsong
no 11 Dawn
no 12 Hats Blow Away on a Blustery Day
no 13 Clouds in Puddles
no 14 New Shoots
no 15 Rainbow
no 16 By the River
no 17 Hide and Seek
no 18 Dreams By the Sea
no 19 Butterflies
no 20 Piano Practice on a Sunny Day
and scores (gaps at the top of each are for the insertion of a picture designed for each piece):
no 1 Piano Practice on a Rainy Day
no 2 A Walk in the Woods
no 3 A Fallen Leaf
no 4 Mountain Echoes
no 5 Evening Bell - Birds Circle Overhead
no 6 Snow Starts to Fall
no 7 Sunset
no 8 Cat By the Fireside
no 9 Dreaming
no 10 Moonsong
no 11 Dawn
no 12 Hat Blows Away on a Blustery Day
no 13 Clouds in Puddles
no 14 New Shoots
no 15 Rainbow
no 16 By the River
no 17 Hide and Seek
no 18 Dreams By the Sea
no 19 Butterflies
no 20 Piano Practice on a Sunny Day

Little Christmas Pieces - 2003 Interpretations of Christmas carols; three of them (no 1, 5 and 7) set two similarly-themed carols against each other, in the hope that the inherent beauties of each will reflect against the other. Though it doesn’t sound it, the first one is in some ways the hardest thing I’ve written… at least 50 takes till I got this still inaccurate recording! Discussed pages 21-21, 27-8

Recordings
no 1 Angelus-Birjina
no 2 Bethlehem
no 3 Zezulka
no 4 Hajej
no 5 Thy endere-Sweete
no 6 Lully
no 7 Apple-Wonder
Scores
no 1 Angelus-Birjina
no 2 Bethlehem
no 3 Zezulka
no 4 Hajej
no 5 Thy endere-Sweete
no 6 Lully
no 7 Apple-Wonder

Psyche Sonata - 2004. Thoughts of consciousness v. subconsciousness; the thinking mind v. the intuitive mind…. Tonal, but often very drably so, due to droopy chromatics…. Mentioned on page 23

Recording
Psyche Sonata
Score
Psyche Sonata


X - 2004 Tiny little tenth anniversary piece for my wife - ten note row (rich in whole tones, hence Scriabinesque ‘French Sixth’ harmony), 10/4 time sig…..unfortunately only 7 bars!  ;D  Page 6, page 18.

Recording
X
Score
X


Night Music - 2004 My first pieces for clavichord, composed intuitively, like the Improvisations, but late at night, as befits the instrument. Pages 6 and 8. Headed by Shelley quotation:

‘Music, by the night wind sent
Through strings of some still instrument’

Recordings
Night Music 1
Night Music 2
Night Music 3
Scores
Night Music 1
Night Music 2
Night Music 3


Unfinished Study - 2005 Bright, summery piece jotted down in 5 minutes on holiday in France. Loose limbed two part writing with some influence of Martinu and Perusio!!   ::)  ;D  Page 19

Recording
Unfinished Study
Score
Unfinished Study

Individuation and Enlightenment2005-2007 Just finished this set of pieces for clavichord/prepared piano. Stylistically more representative, I think. Full notes on ‘performance direction’ PDF; no. 8 is tacet, so no mp3 (I only uploaded the PDFs a couple of weeks ago or so, but I assume at some point they will be deleted, so I’ve uploaded them elsewhere too, and the links are below). The recording…..no, let’s not be coy, my playing - is pretty abysmal on some of these numbers; I can only hope the pieces are better than my performance suggests.

Recordings
01
02
03
04
05
06
07
09
10
Scores
01
02
03
04
05
06
07
08
09
10
Performance Directions

…mi ritrovai… New Year’s Day 2006. In same ‘personal’ vein as the I and E pieces, particularly the first of them.

Recording
…mi ritrovai…
Score
…mi ritrovai…

Nightingale Sonata 2006-2007 Concerned with John Clare (my most local ’Great British Artist’) and his vision of the Edenic and timeless bliss of childhood, and its subsequent loss. Superficially….and perhaps at a deeper level too…it  takes the ‘form’ of a trip made to Royce Wood, home of ‘Clare’s’ nightingales  - its central portion quotes, slowly and statically, ‘The Nightingale’, a quasi-folksong collected and notated by Clare himself.

Recording
Nightingale Sonata
Score
Nightingale Sonata

A lullaby to silence 2006. Self-explanatory. Title from Keats. Discussed page 15 and pages 20-21

Recording
A lullaby to silence
Score
A lullaby to silence

Improvisation in 4ths, 5ths, 7ths and 9ths 2006 Again, self-explanatory.

Recording
Improvisation in 4ths, 5ths, 7ths and 9ths
Score
Improvisation in 4ths, 5ths, 7ths and 9ths

Correspondences 2006 A piece prompted by our own Eugene, the correspondences between works quoted in his own compositions, and our own correspondence with him and each other. (More than!) fully described pages 22-23

Recording
Correspondences
Score
Correspondences

Sonata 2007 My most recent piece, and the one which has been more significant than any other to me, I think. Discussed pages 29-32

Recording
Sonata
Score
Sonata

And that is nearly it, as far as my compositions with recordings goes….there are a few others, but apart from anything else their scores are in (gradual) preparation, and I’d like to keep them all together for the sake of neatness. Don’t forget - I’ve reduced the quality on all these mp3s for the purposes of quick up-and downloading.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2007, 11:49:14 PM by lukeottevanger »

Offline Maciek

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Re: Ottevanger's Omphaloskeptic Outpost
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2007, 01:25:36 PM »
Hi, Luke!

Nice to see you back in action! I'll start downloading presently. :)

Maciek

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Re: Ottevanger's Omphaloskeptic Outpost
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2007, 03:23:21 PM »
Improvisation no 17 links to Improvisation no 18. And so does Improvisation no 18.

I did manage to find no 17 in your esnips folder though. :)

Maciek

Offline rappy

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Re: Ottevanger's Omphaloskeptic Outpost
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2007, 11:27:04 PM »
I just listened to your latest sonata. Fascinating ending! What are the "N ..."s for?

Did you play it yourself? The recording is very good.

lukeottevanger

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Re: Ottevanger's Omphaloskeptic Outpost
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2007, 11:55:10 PM »
Improvisation no 17 links to Improvisation no 18. And so does Improvisation no 18.

I did manage to find no 17 in your esnips folder though. :)

Maciek

Thanks for bringing that to my attention! It should be fixed now. :-[
I just listened to your latest sonata. Fascinating ending! What are the "N ..."s for?

Did you play it yourself? The recording is very good.

Yes, that's me playing. I'm pleased you like the recording too - the quality is reduced a lot on this version, but to be honest I'm not sure how much difference it makes!

The 'N's indicate (to me and to the interested performer - in certain respects they are only like a key signature change) the derivations of the notes used at this point. The piece uses two strictly limited modes - marked 1 and 2 in the score - and goes on to explore some of the intersections and interactions in the 'development' section - where you'll see bars marked 1-2 and 2-1. The Ns in the coda mean 'negation' - in other words, the notes used are the 'other' notes of the chromatic set.

I know that this sounds a very cerebral way of composing*, but it is in fact an example of the process of stripping-down and finding what is essential that I was talking about in my last post on your thread just now. Using these limited modes is something that my music naturally tends towards (try the Individuation and Enlightenment pieces or ...mi ritrovai for this approach in its purest form); making them interact in this way is the next stage in my development, bringing some dynamism to the form but retaining an inner harmonic logic. For instance, in this case the effect of using the 'negations' is undeniably that of opening harmonic doors and letting in new and unexpected light, right at the end of the piece, which is what I intended. The fact that this seemingly abstruse way of choosing notes is in fact simple, directly audible and leads to interesting results is what has allowed me to feel confident in using it.


*though the closest thing I've seen to it, Xenakis's Herma - where it is used in a different way (based on sets of notes, not modes) for different reasons, and to very different effect - makes any cerebralism in my approach seem like the work of a toddler! Compare my N1 to this indication of the notes used on the last page of that piece (might not show up properly for you, who knows, but you get the general idea!):

                                                        __________
             __  __          __       __        __ __                                     __ __                                       __ __    __
ABC + ABC + ABC + ABC = (AB + AB)C + (AB + AB)C
« Last Edit: April 07, 2007, 12:01:50 AM by lukeottevanger »

Offline rappy

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Re: Ottevanger's Omphaloskeptic Outpost
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2007, 12:21:49 AM »
I think I've understood now. I didn't see the 1 at the beginning  :o
Don't you think strict rules like that limit your possibilities of expression? (That would be a discussion similiar to the 12-tone problem)

lukeottevanger

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Re: Ottevanger's Omphaloskeptic Outpost
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2007, 01:09:51 AM »
I think I've understood now. I didn't see the 1 at the beginning  :o
Don't you think strict rules like that limit your possibilities of expression? (That would be a discussion similiar to the 12-tone problem)

That's a very good question, and the answer is, no I don't, firstly because I don't follow any strict rules, I've just found the method which chimes best with my own proclivities, musical and extra-musical, and because I make every decision at every step of the way, based on musical considerations.

Essentially what I am doing is composing using modes - of the same sort as dorian, phrygian or indeed major and minor, though not these ones themselves. Any limitations of expression are only of the same type as the limitation effected by only working in, say, the dorian mode. Now, you certainly can see these as expressive limitations, but I think really they are expressive bonuses, given that in a certain sense, the more chromatically saturated a texture is, the more expression tends towards the same point. In other words, limiting the pitches you can use gives a certain strength and a particular colour and character to a piece which is unobtainable in any other way. Pragmatically speaking, I find that a mode of 6 or 7 notes has enough notes to be workable with whilst limiting itself enough to have its own character; 8 notes or more is useful if you wish to fill in the harmony a little, add subjectivity etc.; 5 notes or less for simpler, more statuesque pieces or as chordal source material. Though I haven't chosen my modes this baldly and manipulatively!

However, using only a single mode certainly does make for shorter pieces, or more sectional pieces, I think - intense and highly expressive but unable to develop beyond a certain point. That's what I found with the my single mode pieces, like Individuation and Enlightenment and ...mi ritrovai..., which is why they are all so tiny (btw, all the I and E pieces use 6 note modes except 4, of which one is a 4 note mode (#7) and one a 9 note mode (#10) - I think these two illustrate well what I was describing at the end of the last paragraph). That brevity in itself is fine, esepcially when it is concomitant with epxressive strength, but when I wanted to write longer pieces I was unable to do so. The method of combining, negating and intersecting modes which I used in the Sonata, though it looks ever-so-mathematical, is really no such thing - it's just a way of making more harmonic source material available, and thus increasing the potential duration and expressive scope (not expressivity) whilst ensuring that there is a cohesion there too.

For instance, if I have two modes of six notes each, which share two of those notes (say, G and D) and which between them are lacking two notes (say C and Ab - I've chosen these two pairs because that's what happens in the Sonata) I can use (for starters):

Mode 1 - 6 notes
Mode 2 - 6 notes
Mode 1-2 - 4 notes (really 1-I(2+1), but I don't like that so much!)
Mode 2-1 - 4 notes (ditto)
Mode 2+1 - 8 notes
I(Mode 2+1) - 2 notes    (I= intersection)
N(Mode 1) - 6 notes
N(Mode 2) - 6 notes
N(Mode 1-2) - 8 notes
N(Mode 2-1) - 8 notes
N(Mode 2+1) - 2 notes

Yes, I know how horrible all this looks, and I feel odd writing it, because I don't think about it in the calculating way it implies - composing with this sort of thing at the back of your mind is really only the same thing as composing whilst weighing up the expressive differences between (7 note) diatonicism and (8-12 note) chromaticsm. In other words, it's standard fare. All the list above really shows, if you see past the jargon, is a selection of modes, or chords, or dyads around which I can hang the structure of my piece. And because what I said above is true - that writing modally may in one sense limit expressive range but in another sense intensifies the expression that it does span - using a variety of related modes like this (with, importantly greater or lesser numbers of notes and degrees of chromatic saturation) gives the piece a much greater expressive scope whilst still retaining the expressive strength of the individual modes and ensuring the coherence of the whole.

The key to the thing is a certain humilty, I think - to me, it is more important that the piece is sincere,  direct and strongly expressive within itself, even if the result is just a short, simple piano piece, than that it strives to be [potentially able to] express everything and ends up not expressing anything particularly strongly. After all, though my Sonata may not [attempt to] express the 'whole world', what it does express it does well enough; if I want to explore different avenues of expression there is nothing stopping me writing another piece, using different modes, to do just that.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2007, 01:27:33 AM by lukeottevanger »

karlhenning

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Re: Ottevanger's Omphaloskeptic Outpost
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2007, 07:49:34 AM »
Howdy, Luke!

lukeottevanger

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Re: Ottevanger's Omphaloskeptic Outpost
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2007, 07:51:53 AM »
Howdy, Luke!

Hey, you made it! I feel honoured to get your first post!

karlhenning

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Re: Ottevanger's Omphaloskeptic Outpost
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2007, 08:03:48 AM »
You know, in a parallel universe where I had been able to sign on to the new forum earlier, I re-started your thread for you, under the title Ottevanger's Omphaloscopy :-)

lukeottevanger

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Re: Ottevanger's Omphaloskeptic Outpost
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2007, 08:05:59 AM »
Thank heavens for small mercies!

(Notice how restrained I was - I had similar thoughts re. the Henning residence!)

Offline Maciek

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Re: Ottevanger's Omphaloskeptic Outpost
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2007, 09:44:04 AM »
Hey, I wanted to start threads for the both of you!

Now you can starting thanking the heavens above! :-X ;D

Mark G. Simon

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Re: Ottevanger's Omphaloskeptic Outpost
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2007, 02:33:14 PM »

Mode 1 - 6 notes
Mode 2 - 6 notes
Mode 1-2 - 4 notes (really 1-I(2+1), but I don't like that so much!)
Mode 2-1 - 4 notes (ditto)
Mode 2+1 - 8 notes
I(Mode 2+1) - 2 notes    (I= intersection)
N(Mode 1) - 6 notes
N(Mode 2) - 6 notes
N(Mode 1-2) - 8 notes
N(Mode 2-1) - 8 notes
N(Mode 2+1) - 2 notes

Yes, I know how horrible all this looks, and I feel odd writing it, because I don't think about it in the calculating way it implies -

Yeah, when you put it in chart form like this it looks intimidating. But the mode idea itself sounds sensible. And I'm sure it becomes automatic pretty soon, so that you don't have to think about it too much.

lukeottevanger

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Re: Ottevanger's Omphaloskeptic Outpost
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2007, 11:29:15 PM »
Thanks for that - you're exactly right (and I'm glad you think the idea sounds sensible). If you replaced that list with one that went:

C major scale
G major scale
Chromatic scale
Diminished seventh chord
etc - you get my drift!

you get the same sort of thing - a group of resources that taken together help a composer to find his way. Now of course in tonal music it would be possible to 'explain' all chords, modes and scales as being just a subset of the chromatic scale, but that, though correct, would be missing the point somewhat, because it isn't how composers use them - they use them as separate but related and mutually-enriching resources. In the same way I might use a four-note mode, which is a subset of a nine-note mode, as something related but functionally different, not just as a limited version of the larger set.

Apart from the fact that I think it works, the really important thing about this method for me - combined, importantly, with quite a few other principles I tend to follow - is that I have arrived at it through long and intense thought, supplemented by coincidence and moments of inspiration. In combination with these other principle it is the 'right' way for me, I think. That feeling gives me so much more confidence as a composer - the knowledge that I can create a unique but coherent set of harmonic source materials in this way, and that I can use their implications to shape them in suggestive ways (the 'negations' at the end of the Sonata, for example, being one among infinite possibilities of this sort) has opened up new avenues for me.

I imagine, Mark, that your use of and approach to the 5-29 set springs from a similar combination of abstract thinking and gut instinct that it is the right approach for you.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2007, 12:38:14 AM by lukeottevanger »

lukeottevanger

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Re: Ottevanger's Omphaloskeptic Outpost
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2007, 12:01:08 AM »
Am spending Easter Monday morning in the garden trying to compose something a little clarinety [I'm not here insde at the computer at all  ;D]. Struggling a little bit, to be honest, but it will start to flow soon, I hope.

karlhenning

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Re: Ottevanger's Omphaloskeptic Outpost
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2007, 03:01:21 AM »
Garden's a good spot for clarineterly inspirings :-)

Mark G. Simon

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Re: Ottevanger's Omphaloskeptic Outpost
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2007, 03:40:22 AM »
I imagine, Mark, that your use of and approach to the 5-29 set springs from a similar combination of abstract thinking and gut instinct that it is the right approach for you.

I was just thinking while reading your description of your modes that we're both trying to do something similar, which is carve out a distinctive piece of the pitch universe through self-imposed limitations on pitch selection.

Good luck on the clarinety work.

lukeottevanger

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Re: Ottevanger's Omphaloskeptic Outpost
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2007, 11:45:31 AM »
Aforementioned clarinety thing giving me a bit of trouble, I wrote out a quick piece for solo flute today, a study just to get my eye in - called Ad Marginem, because of the simple way it moves towards registral extremes, though there's no big deal about this. The title, btw, is from this amazing picture by Paul Klee (to be viewed as if looking upwards from the bottom of the Nile)


lukeottevanger

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Re: Ottevanger's Omphaloskeptic Outpost
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2007, 06:55:52 AM »
Clarinet piece starting to pick up pace a little now, thank goodness.

Offline Guido

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Re: Ottevanger's Omphaloskeptic Outpost
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2007, 07:26:07 AM »
I'm hoping all this soliloquising will lead to some solo cello music!
Geologist.

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