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Azure Stratus Climbing

Discussion in 'Critique & Feedback' started by Noah Horowitz, Jul 7, 2018.

  1. Hi everyone!

    I recently wrote this piece, Azure Stratus Climbing, at the end of my first year of university. I would absolutely love to receive some feedback on this piece here, as this seems to the community that could really offer some specific feedback on a piece like this. Also, please don't hold back on criticism, since that will teach me the most.

    Score:
    Audio:

    Since this is also my first post here, I just wanted to add that I've been a long time fan of Mike Verta and his musical teachings have played a huge part in my development as a composer. So if you read this Mike, Thank You. I'm looking forward to spending time here.
     
  2. Hi Noah !

    Nice to hear your music. Welcome.

    Where are you going to University ? Looks like you are getting a good foundation and education.
    There is a lot of deftly executed material in here. So bravo, and keep up the good work.

    Here are my suggestions for improvement:

    General comment: Broaden your listening and score study. Personally I have a low tolerance for heavily Williams influenced
    pieces. I am a army of one around here with that opinion, so take that with a grain of salt.


    Orchestration points:

    You have moments where you are out-smarting-yourself. I used to do the same all the time.

    Measure 10: Violin harmonics. Not going to get heard well in real life. Just put them up two octaves and normal.
    (same for the following measures)

    Winds: Stems up and stems down like you did for strings can have a "cleaner" look. I would do that throughout the score

    Measure 31: Cellos - make divisi thru 34

    In general, I would be looking to help out your contra bass more. Personally I love Contra Bassoon.
    Basses take a while to "Speak"....

    Measure 50: You can have the harp use Cb to save a pedal change. It makes no difference to them

    Also double the bass harmonics with the Cello. Both playing harmonics.

    Strings 47 and 49: unis is missing

    Viola: 58 divisi is missing

    67: unis is missing from Cello and viola

    81: Delete the IV on violins. Don't do it. That is such an impractical fingering.

    83: soli on Cello and basses ...... do you mean only the 1st chair. Loose it. just make it pizz.

    122: I would dovetail the strings. It will make it much easier to execute


    That should be a start to editing the score.


    Keep up the good work. It shows great promise. But do expand your score study and let more sources filter in.

    Wishing you all the best, and look forward to hearing more

    Doug
     
    Noah Horowitz and John Eldridge like this.
  3. Hi Doug,
    Thanks so much for your comments, there is definitely a lot of wisdom in your comments about the orchestration, I will keep those in mind as I edit the score.

    I do have a fondness for Williams and other film scorers in my writing, as you've picked up on. As a young college student (NYU), my music is highly considerate of the way orchestral readings/performances are done at my university. A result of this is, I think, a logical shying away from more difficult/risky orchestrations (Ravel, Resphigi, Strauss are huge influences of mine). However, your comments do especially remind me that indeed I have not listened to some of the simpler but equally great orchestrators in far too long (Rimsky-Korsakov, Liszt, Berlioz). I will keep it all in mind.

    I'd love to hear more comments on my composition from anyone else!
     
  4. Hi Noah,

    Man I enjoyed the track and it has really cool moments and good orchestrations and a strong main idea. Your conclusions and recapitulations feel at times a bit abrupt and sudden, but that is nothing bad at all because I know how hard it is to write such longform pieces and hats off for the undertaking and work you go for as I see myself in that regards too trying to do those longer pieces. I feel while enjoying the Harmonies a lot, it is not always clear that you are controlling the way how the harmonies go there and yes, that is not easy. So I will say..cool track, stay on course.
     
    Paul T McGraw likes this.
  5. Hi Noah,
    Thanks for sharing!
    First of all I honestly thought this was an arrangement of a John Williams melody. It seems very close to something he has done. I'm with @Doug Gibson on this tolerance ;)
    Sometimes I can hear what you orchestrationally are trying to do, but you are only scratching the surface of what Williams would have done. If you can get your hands on one of the deluxe scores (probably ET or Jurassic Park for this kind) try to transcribe a section and hold your perception up to the actual score. That way you will calibrate your listening to what's actually going on.
    As Doug has said there are a lot of things written in the score that he – and I – would do differently, but this all comes down to score study.
    Btw: Bar 88 trumpet: Do you meant to write col Horns? That simply means with horns in Italian. It's only something you write in your sketches, not in the actual score.
    Congratulations on taking on such a feat and keep doing it!
     
    Paul T McGraw and Doug Gibson like this.
  6. @Noah Horowitz great track! I like the theme and I like the orchestration. The sound is fairly good but could be better. What samples are you using for playback? This isn't NotePerformer 3 is it? NotePerformer 3 has gotten so good that I sometimes forget it isn't sampled.

    I especially like the opening and the final oboe solo. Your woodwind writing is superb. Are you by any chance a woodwind player? I truly enjoyed the composition. Solid theme, well developed with lots of colour, variety and change in mood. Personally, I would consider any comparison to Williams a compliment. I really enjoyed your composition. Good work!
     
    Thomas Bryla likes this.
  7. It would be fun to see that – if you don't know – you had to guess the composers primary instrument as the first thing in your comment :)
     
    Paul T McGraw likes this.
  8. Hey Everyone!
    Thanks for the comments!
    This was very useful to hear, as it makes me listen to the piece in a different way than before. I felt like I wanted to go in a lot of different directions with this, and the harmonic clarity has a ways to go. Thank you!

    I'd love for you to give a more detailed description of what you are hearing. I have studied many Williams scores and I would say that the "soaring Williams" tutti orchestrations are probably 80-100% direct translations of Williams orchestrations from ET and Harry Potter. The orchestrations on Page 18 in the score is from Strauss Don Juan, and page 25 is from Holst Mars (though Doug's feedback about the dovetailing of the strings seems better the Holst's decision against in a sight-reading context, I will certainly edit that!)

    I got this from Benny Oschmann's score here at m36, although if he is also incorrect about using this marking, please let me know.

    I don't have note performer and the score is actually done in Musescore believe it or not! The sounds is programmed by myself into logic using cinesamples cinesymphony.

    Nope, Classically trained piano player, although I do think focusing on woodwind writing has been some of the best help to my orchestrations.

    Thanks for all the comments! I'd love to hear more!
     
    Paul T McGraw likes this.

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