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Perpetual Light for Violin and Orchestra

Discussion in 'Critique & Feedback' started by David Carovillano, Dec 16, 2019.

  1. So, this piece is kind of an odd duck. I originally set out to compose a violin concerto, but having just finished a cello concerto a few days before, I thought it might be best to break up the insane workload of a full concerto with a smaller work. I ended up writing this piece, Perpetual Light, as an orchestral work with a violin soloist that is featured from around the 2 and a half minute mark on, after a very long woodwind/brass opening.

    Anyway, my "lighter work" ended taking a bloody 6 weeks to create the mock-up, setting back several other projects. Oh, the joys of midi [​IMG]

    Instruments: all VSL dimension strings and brass, as well as VSL woodwinds. Embertone's Joshua Bell violin is the "soloist."

    Alexander Schiborr likes this.
  2. Thanks for sharing this work, Dave. Your care and effort on the details of the mock up are apparent and make it a joy to listen.

    I have no experience or skills in writing this type of concerto form, so my feedback here is purely as a listener. Your opening statement with the clear 4 note pattern is strong and impactful. You do a great job of letting it move throughout the ensemble and weave into a beautiful texture. With such a great build up though in the first couple minutes, I found the solo violin entrance to be a bit disappointing as if it decided to jump in with unrelated intentions. It was only on a second listen that I realized that it does make the same 4 note statement as it comes in, but does so less forcefully and is competing with some other high string lines happening at the same time which further obscures it. On first listen, at 6:46, I remember thinking, ahh, that's more like what I was expecting the violin to have sounded like on its entrance at 2:30. Perhaps just backing off the other strings surrounding the solo entrance?

    Hope that's useful and thanks again for sharing. I enjoyed listening to it.
    David Carovillano likes this.
  3. Hi John,

    Many thanks for taking the time to listen to a longer work and putting together some thoughtful and insightful comments! Much appreciated :)

    Interestingly enough, I may have purposely deprived you of the opening violin passage you craved. The reoccurrence later on, with the crisper, more pronounced articulations (and different string orchestra passage than occurs the first time at 2:30) is a way of implying that the flame is more determined than ever to keep shining with intensity. So that's the simple metaphorical imagery I had in mind. On a purely musical level, I didn't want to give away the farm, so to speak, all at once. The more lyrical violin opening is a way to gently ease in to what's going to be a fairly winding road of opportunities for the instrument to shine. I did try to balance the volume of the violin's entrance against the strings so that it would still be easily heard, while not completely dominating the harmonic backdrop it was set against.

    Anyway, I can totally understand your perspective and again, I appreciate such careful listening!

    John Eldridge likes this.
  4. Ah! Glad to hear it was intentional then and an essential part of the story.
    David Carovillano likes this.
  5. David...........

    First, let me say I am unsure if I should give my honest feedback or not.
    You came over to this site at the same time as William, and that enters my mind whenever I see your work.
    So I worry and wonder maybe you also don't want any honest feedback. ...... Which is fine BTW. It's just confusing, and I am not out to anger you. Why would I spend my time trying to do so, and it genuinely is 180 degrees the opposite of the person I try and be.
    Plus, you are clearly a pro. You know how to stand on your own two feet.

    Let me just offer this. During my one year studying with Sam Adler he would often ask me the same rhetorical question
    "Do you know the difference between Mozart and Salieri?". (he asked me every week) "With Mozart........it's inevitable. It had to go there. With Salieri, it's interchangeable. You can take this, mix it with that, and no one would know the difference."

    For me: the piece just happens. Look, the midi is really letting down the music (I know ....let's not go around and around on that. Also here is what I am noticing regarding the midi, and you can try it out. The more LO-FI the playback the more the midi comes out. What I mean is when I listen through my high-end headphones----sounds really slick. You have skills ....no doubt! Listen thru just the speakers of the laptop and it has that classic old midi "synth-suck" sound. Try it for yourself. Listen to your soundcloud, no headphones, and thru a laptop and see if you notice it. That does not happen with "real" instruments. It's a midi thing, and has nothing to do with your skill), but IMO you abandon what expectation gets set up, and most of the piece sits in a grey "not really here, or there" world for me.

    The opening instrumentation was a pleasant surprise. However, we soon get tossed back into very conventional instrumentation, only to get tossed back into unusual, (What is that; a cimbalom at 4:18?) Think about all the background battery you have - harp- celeste- piano- cimbalom? and they all make brief cameos.

    It seems to me if you write for midi.....go mad. It is no more difficult for you to load up 12 harps, and 26 french horns to create a unique sonority than it is a template for a film score.

    To perform this live, is already on the logistically (pain-in the ass) side.
    Most likely a University as they would have the percussion battery to pull it off easily.

    Anyhow........ your work made me want to suggest Lou Harrisons Violin pieces to you. I think you would like them.

    Please let me know if you wish for me to steer clear of offering feedback. I never post comments on composers whose music I don't believe in.

  6. Hi Doug,

    First, thank you for taking the time to put some thought in to a thorough critique. I'll address each of your points below (my responses in bold):

  7. Why though? What makes you guys different from for example painters and illustrators?

    Personally - assuming I'm not making the same mistake and reading the wrong tone into your reply - I think you're reading the wrong tone into Doug's reply. I don't think it's warrented to get as irritated as you seem to be over his comment. Imho replies like you just gave are the reason in the first place why people are hesitant to just outright say what they think and feel a need to ask permission first to give proper critique & feedback in the "critique & feedback" sections of composer forums. And to clarify: I'm not angry at all, I just think it contributes to the deterioration of the craft. We have to stick together and fight that entropy (reference to something Mike said in one of the Unleashed intros).
  8. Thanks for sharing your interpretation of Doug's response to me, Martin. You likely know him far better than I, and I'll take your word on it. That said, I responded to his post with a "per line" response...I think each response I provided was on topic, and I also believe it is important that individuals be as free to defend themselves against criticism, as individuals are free to criticize in the first place. Further, there's a short, albeit "telling" history of responses in the past few weeks/months that lead me to believe that Doug's post was not purely altruistic and in the spirit of helping me with his expertise.

    Finally, as I stated above, I welcome ALL feedback (good and bad!) I don't wish this or any thread featuring music I've posted to degenerate in to a personality conflict. The fact that you chose only to reply to the building drama, rather than offer a single word on my piece is representative of the same path that led to the William drama on the other (and this) forum. I've received feedback of: "it sucks", or "it's amazing." People don't need to write essays to impress with their knowledge. If you had even commented a single word on the music, prior to interjecting on Doug's behalf, perhaps you could have avoided being part of the "deterioration of the craft." that you're suggesting I'm a part of.

  9. Wow..... I only read two sentences of your reply.


    Why not just outright say "I am not looking for feedback" when posting. I would never have said anything then.

    Both yourself and William seem to reply in such a personal and explosive way....... Without ever contributing anything other than self-promotion.

    Forget it. I have neither the time nor energy to carry this further.

    I shall set you to ignore, and thanks for killing the positive vibe of this forum. (along with your friend William)
  10. Fair enough. I felt whatever I could say about your piece would sound disengenious in the context of what else I had to say. Good to know that was a bad call, I'll try to remember it for next time. Sorry!

    I'm not the least bit offended and as I have spent much more time among painters and illustrators than among composers I came to pretty much the same conclusion through observation as you. I just don't understand why that's the case. Maybe it's just a little easier to put two paintings next to each other and compare them and there is a layer of "indirectness" in music that makes it harder to find objective criteria and make fair comparisons? But I didn't want to derail your thread, that might be a discussion for another time.

    Now to your piece: I quite like the midi mockup. I would have expected the brass to be a tiny bit louder, but I don't listen to enough non-sampled music to have a good feel for that, so consider it just a gut feeling or taste. It's a hell of a lot better than what I can do and I have mad respect for the perseverence you've demonstrated with the mountain of work you've put into mocking this up. That too I couldn't pull off I'm afraid. Your work is quite impressive to me, compositionally too. But I also find it "challenging to follow along" in some way, and I think Doug's comment regarding Mozart and Salieri (even though I haven't listened to much by either of the two) must be a very concise and clear way of expressing what for me just was a vague feeling. I love reading these comments because I know for sure that I'll listen to some things in a different way in the coming weeks and gain some insight from this.
    My favorite part of your piece is from 2:11 to 3:03. It reminds me of Japanese orchestral soundtracks to for example a Fantasy Anime or Game, and I intend that as a compliment. That part to me feels like everything flows together and develops organically in a way that is interesting but still sufficiently predictable for me to follow along. And in contrast to that part, e.g. starting from 3:45 I feel like we're jumping around between so many different ideas and I never have a clue where we're going next. Though that may be something that has a good deal to do with my own listening habbits that are fairly different from the majority here.

    I think I'm reminded a little of this thread and my reaction to the different pieces posted there:

    Anyway, congratulations on finishing another impressive piece of work and sorry if my first post here wasn't as helpful as I hoped it would be.

    Well, if it's a silver lining to you, I found your post quite insightful and I thank you for it!
  11. HI Martin,

    Thank you for this follow up message. I can appreciate your explanation as to why you chose to not speak about the music. For sure, the discussion on the insecurities of artists in all mediums is a worthy one to have. I don't have any more answers than you, though, as to why things are this way.

    Re. the brass: I agree with you. My wife and I have had this discussion ad nauseum...brass samples are the most frustrating thing to work with. I just acquired VSL's dimension brass and while they seem to be the best for what I do, they're still not giving me exactly what I want (probably a combination of my lack of skill with them and the samples themselves).

    The piece is a little more challenging than say, a rondo, to follow. You're right in that it is filled with myriad ideas (a lot of my music is like this, in spite of the prevailing pedagogy that suggests that we should stick to a single idea and develop it, lest we throw too much shit against the fan). I agree with that in many cases, by the way. This piece, though, was purposefully designed to reflect the unpredictable nature of a candle flame, as it bounces around randomly, sometimes still and serene, other times explosive and volatile...but never quite straying too far from the wick. It sounds pretentious to say this, but that was the hope of the meandering journey that is the piece.

    Believe it or not, as hoity toity (did I even spell that right?) as my music/written words may seem, I'm as far from a classical snob as you can get. I actually hate the fact that I'm drawn to write in this style, simply because I know it invites those "high and mighty" brilliant classical composers to try to demoralize/humble with their critiques. And yet, as composers of this type of music, we all wish people would give it a chance and try to find some meaning in it. It's the catch 22: do you want hyper critical composers tearing a hole through your score, or a bunch of uninformed platitudes from every day listeners? Maybe this is one of the reasons composers are so conflicted :)

    Martin Hoffmann likes this.
  12. Doug has put me on ignore, and so this post is simply to offer an explanation to those that don't know me/may wonder how things went this far:

    First, Doug coming back with the above post and then announcing I'm on ignore, shows much more about his character than mine.

    For those that care: please search out the posts of Doug with regard to his views on midi on this forum...please also, note the subtext of his comments. I simply am defending my choice to work with midi, while also welcoming the opportunity to work with live musicians. Doug cannot let go of the fact that midi seems to threaten him (on a forum where virtually everyone works with virtual instruments?!)

    He says I reply in such a personal and explosive way...and yet, his reply above has me put to ignore, when I invited him to further discuss things and/or simply not respond (and not responding vs. writing a post letting everyone know I'm on ignore are two very different things). Oh, and I'm as personal and explosive as he is. Why? Because music is personal, and the passion that fuels our work, fuels our thoughts. Doug's comments/criticism were a "no win" for me. Re-read his post after listening to the piece, and tell me how measured and helpful his comments were to my work. And by the way, his constant reference to me and William as some sort of "dynamic duo" offends me. I am not William, and he is not me. We're two separate composers living on two opposite ends of the continent. Doug seems intent on addressing us as having one mind/body. We are our own individuals and that is the last I will say about it.

    Finally, he says I never contribute anything other than self-promotion. This makes me the most sad of all. I'm a composer of music that is about as monetizable as a chewed up eraser. I gave up a lucrative career with the express purpose of sitting at home and composing full-time for the rest of my life. I compose classical music with the only purpose of sharing it on forums like this for the few that may enjoy it, and to secure live performances so that I may share my ideas with audiences.

    I don't make a single cent posting music on this or any other forum. I don't gain notoriety from the dozen views and the occasional response from a forum member. I don't leverage this to get live performances. I don't hope that I'll get discovered on forums. I share music because I literally feel it is what I am meant to do. No word of a lie: as soon as I put the finishing touches on this piece, I excitedly said to my wife, "I want to put this on the forums because I think some people will really dig the concept."

    When composers themselves start accusing other composers of self-promotion simply because they share their music amongst colleagues, I'm left with a simple question: what the hell are we to do with our music, if we don't share it? Seriously! I want to know. Should it exist only for our own ears? Buried deep on a harddrive never to be discovered by anyone until we're dead?

    I understand that I haven't contributed meaningfully to other discussions, because I am busy writing most of the time, and to be honest, I feel my biggest strength is being a musician...less so a critic or brilliant forum poster where others hang on my every word. I'm also not a teacher (at least not a composition teacher) and so, it's not my place to school others. I simply share music in hopes of generating a conversation around it. Is it selfish to do so? I guess, according to Doug, it is.

    Anyway, rant over. I apologize to the forum if my comments have killed the positive vibe of this forum. I literally only wanted to share some new music I'd written. That's it.

  13. #13 William Kersten, Dec 18, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2019

    There is NO positive vibe on this Forum with Doug Gibson. He has mastered a subtle way of putting people down, for his own pleasure. He is an internet troll who likes to goad people and then watch as they get upset. I quit this forum because of this guy but had to respond because now he is attacking Dave who is a fantastic composer.

    Dave - that is a fabulous piece of music and a great MIDI performance. Forget the ignorant "opinions" of internet creeps like Gibson. They are not worthy of your time.
    David Carovillano likes this.
  14. #14 Alexander Schiborr, Dec 18, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2019
    Hey Gents,

    Got up pretty early as usual..however, I just went through all the posts here also to check out Davids composition.

    First: Pretty cool piece there David! I am not so much of an expert with such more avant-garde modern classical music though you have some fascinating colors and orchestrational choices going on. So I appreciate that you are sharing your work here. The only little thing which I have a bit with is that there are times when the piece feels for me a bit lose so that I have simply not an idea where you are going with your motivic lines. However, that is a general thing I observe when I am listening to other works in that field. It is very evoking on the one side and at the same time, I miss a bit the main element with further exploration of one or two motivic elements. Probably it makes much more sense when I know the piece better. It is just my very first impression. But anyways pretty cool! And the midi rendering is for what it is fine. Surely we all strive for perfection still knowing that achieving a live vibe is very hard to almost impossible to achieve. But I guess that is anyways not the point so much rather than enjoying and being creative writing music and expressing ourselves wherever we can.

    Second: Guys I hope we can sort that tensions out without getting to aggravated. I know there is some dissent going on in the communication. What I can say so far about my own attitude with Redbanned is: To help and getting help or in other words: to give and to take focus on topics like composition, orchestration, motif development, etc, etc.

    @Doug Gibson Now one thing I know is that Doug is a very enthusiastic person and he contributed a tons of very useful information on this forum during the last 2 years which I would call exceptional because I don´t know any other person who would spend that much time in trying to help and give feedback on so many peoples works here.

    @David Carovillano Now, I know that his reaction to your first post wasn´t the most inviting one to start an interaction here with you and I can understand the confusion as I believe your intentions are genuine sharing your works. I think at that point the communication went a bit down the toilet, unfortunately. It does that fast and quick sometimes.

    @all: Without getting too much into all the single posts, please Gents let´s all try to sit down for a moment, take a deep breath and reset our system and hopefully return back to some fruitful music related discussion. Come one guys..:D

    David, you mentioned that you are interested in feedback which is great so I gave you a bit of feedback and I hope it helps. If you are interested I would also welcome you to check out other people threads and compositions in order to give them your feedback as I am pretty sure that they will absolutely appreciate that and can learn from your experience.

    Thank you all! :) :cool:

  15. #15 David Carovillano, Dec 18, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2019
    Hi William,

    Thanks so much for your kind words about Perpetual Light. Without wanting to drum up too many more emotions, I will say that I agree that there is an art to the passive aggressive put down, and that in general, people are far more interested in criticizing than praising. Perhaps this is why composers suffer so much with low self-esteem...they're never good enough. There's always something that can be done better. Of course there is, but isn't it amazing how the good rarely gets communicated with the same veracity as the bad? Can you imagine a world where composers were as kind to each other as they wished people would be to them? The Golden Rule went out the door with the rise of the internet.

    All the best,
  16. #16 David Carovillano, Dec 18, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2019
  17. #17 William Kersten, Dec 30, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2019
    I see now the nature of this Forum - Doug Gibson can say or do anything he wants because: "Oh no! he's depressed" Guess what - so am I, asshole. So are about 99% of all artists in any media.

    You know what? - this forum sucks. And the people here are a little clique who want to continue supporting each other no matter how they trash anyone else.

    I will make sure I never post anything here in the future.

    goodbye and good riddance.
  18. the whole point of this place is to give honest and "critical" feedback on each others music. if you can't handle someone saying anything remotely negative about something then that's your problem.

    we come here for harsh critiques and honesty, not pats on the back.
  19. #19 Alexander Schiborr, Dec 30, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2019
    Hello William,

    I am sincerely sorry that this forum doesn't make it for you and I will definitely pass that feedback on (as requested or not). Still, that doesn´t imply that the forum is bad or sucks. On my personal behalf I find the forum very helpful. And I can assure you that none of the people here have any agenda to help or support only specific people here on the board. If you have any suggestions in how to make it a more pleasing stay for you, please feel free to make suggestions.

    New members get definitely their feedback on their music as so in your case and also with David. David and Doug may not become the biggest buddies in the world of what I can see though.

    You say that 99 percent of all artists in the media suffer from depression. Well, I don´t know where you got your evaluation, sure it´s been tough times for artists these days, though depression is a word to be careful to use. When I have a bad day I feel maybe depressed (bad) about a situation but does that mean that I have depressions? I wouldn´t say so.

    So depression is in my humble opinion not always used accordingly or easily misused in terms of what it really can be. I know people from my past with heavily depressions and who have dealt with suicidal tendencies because of depression.

    Having said that: I respect your decision of course but please don´t trash a whole forum simply because it doesn´t work for you. I would appreciate that a lot.

    I sometimes wonder: What would be the situation if somebody critics your music? Would you be interested in exploring such things? What is the motivation to share your music on online forums? Do you get upset if someone doesn´t like your music? You can´t expect that everybody is enjoying things. Even the best composers in history had to face with such things. For instance Gustav Mahler had a terrible experience with his first symphony in 1889 which was perceived with very mixed feelings by the audience. And we call can say that Herr Mahler was a titan of a composer. Did he stop composing? No, way. He wrote his best works after that.

    When it comes to me: I simply post my music in order to get an evaluation of what I missed in my works. I never sit on a high pedestal looking down and saying: Well folks, here is it, please bow down to my genius and comfort me with your praise. No. That is not my agenda. Sure we all feel wonderful when getting praise but that doesn´t mean that we should not listen to a critic because this thing exactly might be the most useful information in order to improve yourself which eventually makes your next composition better.

  20. Why does this guy keep coming back? Aren't we on the 5th goodbye now.

    I never said anything personal towards David, nor you, until you both had hissy fits.

    I simply gave feedback on his piece. My feedback was echoed by 5 other people who had the same opinion as I did.
    (I've already posted the links).

    The 5 people who gave their feedback came after David pulled your trick of posting a message crying about no one listening or commenting on your piece. So then they do, give their opinion, and then you both get angry and run home.

    Only to come back again, and hurl an insult, and tell us you are leaving again.

    Only to come back again, and hurl an insult, and tell us you are leaving again.

    Only to come back again, and hurl an insult, and tell us you are leaving again.

    Only to come back again, and hurl an insult, and tell us you are leaving again.

    Only to come back again, and hurl an insult, and tell us you are leaving again.

    I still have zero ideas of what set you off. If you recall you started up a thread calling the people on Vi-Control a bunch of rat-fuckers.

    Just totally out of the blue. Nothing prompted this. Alex had to tell you to chill out....... which is saying a lot. Alex gives people a lot of freedom.

    You have a long history of bursting into angry tirades and burned many bridges on other forums. You went after Greg for no reason, and
    you- -- yourself--- are often embarrassed by your own behavior. We get a Jekyll and hyde with you. One super angry, the other apologetic.

    All I know is I wrote a post about more own personal points of view of using samples, and one sentence about not seeking admiration or something like that set you off.

    You must have written a really nasty reply, as another member pointed out I was not in any way talking to you, or about you. ( I was not. Honest truth)

    You deleted the post, so all I saw was an apology....but never the post.

    You know I said one of your works was really, really good right. I just said, "Bravo this is fantastic". I still think that.

    What was the point of coming back 12 days later, and bringing this up again?

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