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Topic: Christmas already?

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
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    Christmas already?

    A local college is performing a modern morality play which asks what would happen if the Christ showed up to a group of street kids in 2015.

    This piece, "Softly Spoke the Angels," is the last scene of Act I. It presents the sleeping kids reaction to a sudden pronouncement by angels that the Son of God is back. Their reactions range from disbelief to awe to anger.

    While the arrival of angels is often presented with heralding trumpets and great fanfare, I thought it would be more dramatic to take a much more subtle approach for this scene.

    I used Garritan Oboe, English Horn, French Horn, Bassoon, Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello and Bass. The voices are EW Symphonic Choirs. Wirtten in Finale 2014 with no DAW.

    The text is:
    Haleluia, Haleluia, Haleluia.
    Rejoice, Rejoice, Rejoice.
    The Son of God is come , is come to you this day.
    Gloria in excelsis, gloria in excelsis Deo, gloria in excelsis Deo.
    Haleluia.

    https://app.box.com/s/h1oaw8xjakn5j7eziuh5jl3pq2mkq42o

  2. #2
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas already?

    Tom,

    An interesting morality play concept.

    Your music is great. it's very professional.

    I think your approach works well as it avoids the usual biblical cliches on this subject, creating a quiet and thoughtful mood.





    Phil

  3. #3
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas already?

    Phil,

    Thank you for listening. Another contributing factor to the music was the stage directions for the scene. There is no dialogue, just pantomime. The kids come together, form around a fire and bed down for the night. All is silent. Then with the first Haleluia they slowly come to realize something unusual is happening. At the very end the actors freeze in position under a blue light shining down from stage left while on stage right the actor named Jude is bathed in a dull reddish light. Then fade to black.

    Tom

  4. #4
    Senior Member tedvanya's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas already?

    Tom, first of all, it is beautiful.I think you know that, so I am not going to elaborate.To give some suggestion, the woods are too close, if you could push them back in volume or position, it would be a better mix (IMHO). I love the choir, sound just great.Congratulation and thanks for posting itTed

  5. #5
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas already?

    Ted,

    Thank you so much for listening and commenting. You know I respect your input. I will give the winds another look.

    I considered using flute and clarinet instead of oboe and English horn, but it didn't have the gritty feel I wanted for the urban setting of the play.

    Also, I've never really used double reeds much - especially the English horn, and thought this little stage piece might be a good way to learn more about it. Last summer the New York Kammermusiker performed here and in an after concert conversation it was suggested that I compose a selection for them. My lack of intimacy with double reeds in general has kept me from doing that, but in the 3 days that I spent on this little piece I have learned a great deal about registry and color.

    Tom

    Quote Originally Posted by tedvanya View Post
    Tom, first of all, it is beautiful.I think you know that, so I am not going to elaborate.To give some suggestion, the woods are too close, if you could push them back in volume or position, it would be a better mix (IMHO). I love the choir, sound just great.Congratulation and thanks for posting itTed

  6. #6

    Re: Christmas already?

    Tom,

    Thank you for this unusual but beautiful and original Christmas approach. It has already been mentioned, your handling is very professional and thought through. The choir score is very 'singable' and well integrated here in the Garritan orchestra. You did a terrific job in many domains: first of all the composition. It's has a number one listening factor to please a broad audience; the mix is perfect, the choir score fit for most amateur choirs, the use of woodwinds provides the necessary rural aspect without falling into clichés, the atmosphere is very serene and solemn, the approach is renewing and bright.
    And I could go on. You almost reinvented Christmas music...

    Happy to hear such good music again,

    Max

  7. #7
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas already?

    Quote Originally Posted by Max Hamburg View Post
    Tom,

    Thank you for this unusual but beautiful and original Christmas approach. It has already been mentioned, your handling is very professional and thought through. The choir score is very 'singable' and well integrated here in the Garritan orchestra. You did a terrific job in many domains: first of all the composition. It's has a number one listening factor to please a broad audience; the mix is perfect, the choir score fit for most amateur choirs, the use of woodwinds provides the necessary rural aspect without falling into clichés, the atmosphere is very serene and solemn, the approach is renewing and bright.
    And I could go on. You almost reinvented Christmas music...

    Happy to hear such good music again,

    Max
    Max,

    I am humbled by your comments. My intention was to create a different mood in the musical setting of the announcement of divine birth. I am grateful that you found it pleasing. I tend to be minimalistic in the use of instruments, especially when mixing with voices. It does, in fact, sound much better with live voices. Hopefully I will eventually learn how to use a DAW so I can offer a piece or two to the Garritan Chistmas Album.

    Tom

  8. #8

    Re: Christmas already?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_Davis View Post
    Max,

    I am humbled by your comments. My intention was to create a different mood in the musical setting of the announcement of divine birth. I am grateful that you found it pleasing. I tend to be minimalistic in the use of instruments, especially when mixing with voices. It does, in fact, sound much better with live voices. Hopefully I will eventually learn how to use a DAW so I can offer a piece or two to the Garritan Chistmas Album.

    Tom
    I'm sure you will. With your craftsmanship and talent, that won't be a problem. The notes in Finale, the mix and switches in a DAW. There's a lot of good DAWs out there nowadays. Some are simpler than the other, but all deliver good quality.

    Max

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