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I have created this site in order to provide performers, listeners and composers with a description of a composer's experiences with the creative process. The posts will provide discussions of the inspirations, challenges, and successes of a composer from the inception of the piece to the culmination in performance. I will provide a link to where you can see and hear the works in progress. Comments and questions are always welcomed. They will not posted unless you grant me permission.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Revisions to Meditation and Festive Celebration and American Vignettes

It has been a while since I have posted because I have been busy creating some compositions to enter into competitions. Since these are being judged anonymously, I do not feel comfortable posting anything about them here.

I also have been following through on several recording projects and doing refinements regarding compositions recently composed. I like to share comments from the artists and my solutions as it illustrates the collaborative nature of commissions and one of the benefits of having a piece composed especially for you. It also illustrates how composers can learn from artists and how the same artistic intent can be achieved without complicating the performers life more than necessary.

Meditation and Festive Celebration is composed for Clarinet and Organ and it was premiered April 6, 2011 by Andrew Seigel and Jihuyn Woo. I received the recording and decided to make some changes as follows:

I felt that the organ part was too thick and cluttered in some spots during the Festive Celebration. Below are the changes I made to the organ part:

M. 4, 9, 31, & 36 I put the left hand on the beat on beats 1 & 2 to have a stronger down beat in those measures.

M. 14, 15, 20 & 21 - I made beat 4 a quarter note instead of syncopated.

M. 5, 6, 8, 32, 33, 35 - I made the harmony less thick and made the technique smoother so the quarter note can be sustained full value.

M. 10, 11, 37 & 38 - I eliminated the chords on beat 1 & 2.

I think these changes improve the piece.

I did not post these changes, but if you want to hear the work before these changes, go to http://www.cooppress.net/Meditation_and_Festive_Celebration_blog.html. You will be viewing a transposed score. 

The other work I did some revision to was American Vignettes for Brass Quintet being composed for the Lyric Brass Quintet at Pacific Lutheran University. Here are their comments and my solutions:

Gina: My only horn-specific comment is that we found that the horn could be heard much better and sounded more horn-like when I played a few more bars up an octave in the fifth movement.  These parts are the beat before 18 through the third beat of 19 and the last beat of 21 through 25.

Me: Movement 5 - all up the octave at the places you suggested except m. 24, the first 2 1/2 beats. The trumpet has the melody here and keeping the Horn down helps the blend.

Matt: In the 1st trumpet part the problematic bars are 56,58,116, and 118 in the first movement.  The 56 and 58 are doable, but barely, and may require a slower tempo for the whole piece.  The 116 and 117 cannot be executed at a tempo appropriate to the piece.  If they could be made less disjunct the sextuplet rhythm is not a problem.   So many intervals wider than a third at that tempo is beyond my abilities.

The licks as 116 and 117 could be made playable by breaking them up between the two trumpet parts.  If the pattern were 3 sixteenths/dotted eighth in alternation between players then we could play something more disjunct and faster than an individual could play in streams of sixteenths.

Me: Movement 1 - simplified the technique in m. 56 & 58 and divided the line at m. 116-117 between the 2 trumpets but by every beat - I hope this makes it more playable.

Paul: The only issue I have is the overall sharps key of the tuba movement.  One of those passages is really tricky on Eb tuba (which I play).  If Sy doesn't want to mess with it, I can make do.  But if possible, it would be much easier if it lies in a flat key.

Me: I took the entire tuba movement down a step. As a result, some trumpet parts went up an octave as well as a few measures in the trombone.

Once again, I did not post new versions of these revisions. To see and hear the unrevised versions, go to http://www.cooppress.net/american_vignettes_blog.html. You will be viewing a transposed score. 

I hope this dialogue of the process is helpful to my readers.

Dr. B

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