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 Post subject: Piano concerto - reduction (1st movement)
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 12:41 am 
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Location: Edinburgh, UK
I always wanted to have a go at writing one. I have some parts already orchestrated but need to have a big think about other sections. This is the first movement arranged in a reduction for solo piano. Any opinions on the material, etc, are welcome. Yes, my compositional idiom is about 100 years old :wink:

Any suggestions for orchestration technique also gratefully received.. (Some parts it seems the instrumentation defines itself, other times it's not so clear, and I've never previously attempted serious orchestration, rather than purely pianistic writing). I've been reading Piston and also been looking at the online Rimsky-Korsakov site.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50-EFEpbB0w

Recording made on a Yamaha grand "borrowed" for half an hour - two takes and a very small amount of editing; would have done more with more time to spare.


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 Post subject: Re: Piano concerto - reduction (1st movement)
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 4:42 am 
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Wow, wow, wow, Andrew! I feel like I've just been on a journey to some exotic and far away place. I'm very impressed that you composed all of this!
I don't have anything to say that would help you, really, except that in the quiet places I hear some flutes trilling softly. Also, the very beginning - I instantly thought of Chopin's Grande Polonaise Brilliante Op. 22, if that means anything.

Thank you for sharing this - I'm often amazed at the amazing talent we have here at Piano Society!

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 Post subject: Re: Piano concerto - reduction (1st movement)
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 5:14 am 
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
Andrew,
Very impressive writing, even if its 100 years old in style. :) I'm afraid that at your level of composing (high), I think you will need to work out your orchestration with little help from others. The best preparation (after just knowing the "stuff" of orchestration), is to have been exposed to lots of orchestral works (and piano concertos) with score in hand. That way you really learn what's going on to make those sounds you're listining to. Ideas will come fast this way. I wish you the best as you pursue this very creative effort.

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"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Piano concerto - reduction (1st movement)
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 9:52 am 
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Thanks to both of you for the encouragement :)

pianolady wrote:
Wow, wow, wow, Andrew! I feel like I've just been on a journey to some exotic and far away place. I'm very impressed that you composed all of this!
I don't have anything to say that would help you, really, except that in the quiet places I hear some flutes trilling softly. Also, the very beginning - I instantly thought of Chopin's Grande Polonaise Brilliante Op. 22, if that means anything.


The trills from 1.16 certainly go to the flutes; there are rh tremolandi from 4.33 of which the upper part is a trill, but these are darker in character and being assigned elsewhere I think (the middle register at this point is a cello). I didn't think of Chopin's op.22 in the opening but now that you mention it I know what you mean. I envisage trumpet calls alternating with strings over timpani here.

musical-md wrote:
Andrew,
Very impressive writing, even if its 100 years old in style. :) I'm afraid that at your level of composing (high), I think you will need to work out your orchestration with little help from others. The best preparation (after just knowing the "stuff" of orchestration), is to have been exposed to lots of orchestral works (and piano concertos) with score in hand. That way you really learn what's going on to make those sounds you're listining to. Ideas will come fast this way. I wish you the best as you pursue this very creative effort.


I'm probably on the right track then, as I've been looking at various concerti in full score form and thinking about why the parts have been assigned the way they have. If nothing else, learn by imitation!


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 Post subject: Re: Piano concerto - reduction (1st movement)
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 8:23 pm 
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Location: Carbondale, IL
Hi Andrew,

I had a listen to your reduction of the first movement. I am visiting my parents for the week and they have a nice pair of subwoofer speakers, so I was lucky to be able to hear the lower-range well in addition to the mid and upper :)
I agree with what you have said about your idiom being 100 years old, your composition here reminds me of some pieces by Dvorak, Brahms or Strauss. In fact, your beginning theme reminded me of the main one of, “Der Rosenkavalier” by Richard Strauss which I understand was performed in 1911, exactly 100 years ago :) (though I assume you did not model this composition after his ;).
Your ornamentation and wide melodic range sound nice on the relatively monophonic texture of a piano, but I will be interested in hearing these same notes played by talented musicians on the instruments of a symphony orchestra conducted by a fine maestro resulting in a smorgasbord mix of harmonic textures and shading that so many people continue to go to concert halls today to enjoy!
I benefited from hearing your B section starting at 3:18, as it contrasts the gregarious A section. A good comparison of major to minor, and the artwork you have put to the music seems appropriate. They look like an artist’s impression of an underworld of sorts.
At 7:19, pivot from the darkness to the light, so to speak, is well-placed. The return to the original theme was convincingly done, and I echo what Monica said, that listening to your piece is like a journey to an exotic place. I think it could be said that your piece tells a story, the rich chords evoke a place of paradise like that of a dreamworld, if that makes sense.
I don’t know a great deal about orchestration, because the most multi-instrument arranging I have done has been for three or less instruments, and though I have attempted to write for a full orchestra, the fruit of my labor proved I have a lot to learn. I don’t know if you would benefit from studying other piano concertos, but that is what I have learned about how famous composers have learned to write on a scale that is far greater than that of the grandstaff that we as pianists are familiar with at Pianosociety and at the piano :D
I look forward to hearing more of this piano concerto, and new transcriptions which I understand you are known for here :)

~Riley

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 Post subject: Re: Piano concerto - reduction (1st movement)
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 9:23 am 
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Location: Edinburgh, UK
Thanks for the detailed response :)

It's always difficult to attribute influences - hard to know what's stuck in your subconscious - but for me, the most obvious are Rachmaninov in general and Addinsell's Warsaw Concerto (a famous British film composition of the 1940s) in particular. I've been a little worried about unintentional plagiarism of the latter; it definitely sits in the back of my mind and rears its head from time to time when I improvise in this style.

When I've fully written out the orchestral part, it would indeed be nice to hear it with an orchestra, but I think it's more likely, in the short term at least, that I'll get to perform it as a two piano version.

I'm particularly happy with the minor key section from 4.32 which is partly a minor key version of the initial major theme. The melody in the section with the rh tremolandi seems to me to be a cello melody. If there is a story to this piece, the short piano cadenza from 4.17 is the most obviously descriptive passage, being thunder followed by rain. The modulation (from Eb minor to D major) at 7.19 shouldn't be as easy as it appears to be, but I'm glad you also found it convincing and the "darkness into the light" aspect of it came across.

I don't pretend that arranging this is going to be easy. It's probably not too hard to do some sort of rote orchestration (what was it Mahler said about Puccini: "nowadays any bungler can orchestrate to perfection"?) but I'd like to do it well enough that I can translate the ideas in my head into effective and interesting orchestral colours, which presents an interesting challenge.


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 Post subject: Re: Piano concerto - reduction (1st movement)
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 5:31 pm 
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
andrew wrote:
I don't pretend that arranging this is going to be easy. It's probably not too hard to do some sort of rote orchestration (what was it Mahler said about Puccini: "nowadays any bungler can orchestrate to perfection"?) but I'd like to do it well enough that I can translate the ideas in my head into effective and interesting orchestral colours, which presents an interesting challenge.

Interestingly, Stravinsky did a lot of "arranging" of his orchestral works. By that I mean first compose a piano score, then orchestrate it, rather than just compose the orchestral part as you go along.

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Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Piano concerto - reduction (1st movement)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:56 am 
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Location: Edinburgh, UK
musical-md wrote:
andrew wrote:
I don't pretend that arranging this is going to be easy. It's probably not too hard to do some sort of rote orchestration (what was it Mahler said about Puccini: "nowadays any bungler can orchestrate to perfection"?) but I'd like to do it well enough that I can translate the ideas in my head into effective and interesting orchestral colours, which presents an interesting challenge.

Interestingly, Stravinsky did a lot of "arranging" of his orchestral works. By that I mean first compose a piano score, then orchestrate it, rather than just compose the orchestral part as you go along.


I've been told Ravel did something similar, i.e. orchestrate from a two piano score.


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 Post subject: Re: Piano concerto - reduction (1st movement) 2 piano version
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:30 pm 
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I was fortunate enough to get the chance to play this in two piano form on a piano summer course. Next step, orchestra :wink: Here's video of the performance. I now appreciate all the more how well Monica, Chris and Andreas etc were synched on their two piano recordings!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BAnoC5PeEw

Enjoy (hopefully)! It was a lot of fun for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Piano concerto - reduction (1st movement)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:15 pm 
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This would work perfectly as a mini-piano concerto that composers wrote for the films during the 40's 50's Some notable examples: Warsaw Concerto; Spellbound Concerto; Cornish Rhapsody; and my all-time fav, "Swedish Rhapsody". Generally 8-10 minutes in length. Lush. Romantic. A perfect fit for this if you'd like to take it in that direction.


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 Post subject: Re: Piano concerto - reduction (1st movement)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:42 am 
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Thanks. I'm working towards a larger entity which is going to be in three interconnected movements. The second movement is already up here, but I have subsequently slightly contracted it and rewritten some of the left hand within the reduction in order to increase musical content in comparison to the version quoted. Third movement is under construction within a draft structure; the full piece is probably going to be low 20 mins in total.


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 Post subject: Re: Piano concerto - reduction (1st movement)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:51 am 
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andrew wrote:
Thanks. I'm working towards a larger entity which is going to be in three interconnected movements. The second movement is already up here, but I have subsequently slightly contracted it and rewritten some of the left hand within the reduction in order to increase musical content in comparison to the version quoted. Third movement is under construction within a draft structure; the full piece is probably going to be low 20 mins in total.


Ah, much like the Mendelssohn and Liszt First Concertos. Will you make them cyclic?


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 Post subject: Re: Piano concerto - reduction (1st movement)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:58 am 
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It will be loosely cyclic in the sense that the two first movement themes will make a return towards the end of the third movement: the opening theme (from 0.09 in the first video; 0.06 in the second) will make a fleeting flashback appearance in the coda in addition to being used contrapuntally against the material introduced at the start of the third movement and there will be a cadenza derived from the second (main) theme (0.48, 0.54) followed by a triumphal orchestral declamation of the theme in the coda.


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 Post subject: Re: Piano concerto - reduction (1st movement)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:54 pm 
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I think in these shorter piano concertos using cyclic enhances the piece by drawing all three movements together into one cohesive long "movement". Liszt did a masterful job in his Second Concerto, much better IMHO than he did in the First. I'm anxious to hear the finished product. I think you have a really nice first movement. I haven't had a chance to study the 2nd yet but I will today. When you orchestrate be sure you are using something like Sibelius or Finale with a good orchestral library so you can hear what the different combinations of instruments sound like. i could not have done what i did, good or bad, without it.


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 Post subject: Re: Piano concerto - reduction (1st movement)
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:32 am 
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Yes, I'm using Sibelius for orchestration. The sound isn't close to that of a real orchestra, and its piano playing is downright annoying, but it's an awful lot better than nothing at all.


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