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Topic: Brass Quintet

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  1. #1

    Brass Quintet

    Hi. Now that I've managed to put a few of my oldest stuff on the site, I thought I would risk putting up the very first chamber music piece I wrote as a student. It was modelled on a quintet that my teacher, Gordon Delamont particulary admired, a brass quintet by Gunther Schuller. When I say modelled, I mean a nod in his direction. It is music from the early 1970's and has the hallmarks of the kind of serial writing many of us were pursuing then. (For those who do not like this kind of thing, no tomatoes please!) I don't write this way at all anymore, but with more than 30 years having passed since I kind of dig listening to it these many moons later!

    http://www.paulread.ca/songs/brassquint.mp3
    If interested a pdf of the score is at: http://www.paulread.ca/Score%20Study/BrassQuintNo1.pdf

    I think this will be my last retrospective offering. It is time to get some of my newer things up for your feedback.

    By the way, I appreciated the feedback from everyone on the other pieces, from a compositional, artistic point of view and also the technical, rendering part as well. I am a real newbie with GPO and (think it's FANTASTIC!) know I have a lot to learn.

    NOw I need to spend more time listening to what others are doing. The pieces I have heard so far reveal that there are some pretty incredible and musically talented folks here!!

    Paul

    (again....no tomatoes)
    Last edited by daerp@mac.com; 11-07-2005 at 11:04 PM. Reason: typo
    Mac Pro 2X2.8 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xenon, 10Gb 800 MHz DDR2 FB-DIMM, OS10.6.4, Finale 2011, Digital Performer 7.1, Altiverb 6, Yamaha S90, Built-in audio, GPO, JABB, Garritan Authorized Steinway (Pro), Reason 3, M-Audio Ozone, Giovani, Symphonic Choirs, Kontakt 2, Vienna Symphonic Library. Website:http://www.paulread.ca

  2. #2
    Senior Member valhalx's Avatar
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    Re: Brass Quintet

    Quote Originally Posted by daerp@mac.com
    it has the halmarks of the kind of serial writing many of us were pursuing then. (For those who do not like this kind of thing, no tomatoes please!)
    This is quite good. You are right in that serial is a hard pill to swallow for many. But it's no differnet than baroque, it's easy to distinguish the good from the bad and this is a well written piece. Frankly, I think Schoenberg would have loved it.
    Bill
    Never look at the trombones. It only encourages them. Richard Strauss

    My Website
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    Antonio Salieri
    The History of Studebaker

  3. #3

    Thumbs up Re: Brass Quintet

    Paul this is quite good!!
    I never heard before this composer, but as you probably know I am not a musician!
    It is a pleasure to hear different style, and thanks to this forum and the beautiful people therein, I can get this!!

    Thanks for posting this.

    Best,
    Roberto

  4. #4
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    Re: Brass Quintet

    Paul,

    Very nice work. You did a good job in realizing Shuller's work. It's good to hear the works of some of the lesser known composers.

    Thanks for posting this and looking forward to hearing more of your music.

    Gary Garritan

  5. #5

    Re: Brass Quintet

    Wow! I must know, which GPO instruments did you use?

    Interesting work. I liked a lot of the rhythms.

    I love the sound you got out of the GPO brass!

    I would really like to get more out of the brass as my attempts always sound obviously fake. And I know GPO's brass can sound better than what I achieve, I've heard it many times (and this is one such example!)

  6. #6

    Re: Brass Quintet

    Thanks for your note. I'm glad you like the piece. I wrote it so long ago, I barely remember the writing process, although I know I used a series and then went at it, with plenty of feedback from my composition teacher (back then).

    To answer your question about which instruments I used:
    Tpt 1 Solo
    Tpt 2 Solo
    French Horn 1 Solo
    Tenor Tbone Solo
    Tuba 1 solo

    I think part of whatever qualities about this you like may come from the use of accent and dynamics in the score. My posting has a link to a pdf copy of the score if you want to check it out. I think the brass sound good when there is plenty of shape. Also I think finding a good reverb setting may have a bearing too. I tried a few times with this one and can't say I am 100% happy. I am expecting delivery of Altiverb 5 (which I read about in these forums) any day now and I can't wait to try some of these various pieces of mine in different environments!
    Thanks again. Hope my info helps you out.
    Paul


    Quote Originally Posted by DZComposer
    Wow! I must know, which GPO instruments did you use?

    Interesting work. I liked a lot of the rhythms.

    I love the sound you got out of the GPO brass!

    I would really like to get more out of the brass as my attempts always sound obviously fake. And I know GPO's brass can sound better than what I achieve, I've heard it many times (and this is one such example!)
    Mac Pro 2X2.8 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xenon, 10Gb 800 MHz DDR2 FB-DIMM, OS10.6.4, Finale 2011, Digital Performer 7.1, Altiverb 6, Yamaha S90, Built-in audio, GPO, JABB, Garritan Authorized Steinway (Pro), Reason 3, M-Audio Ozone, Giovani, Symphonic Choirs, Kontakt 2, Vienna Symphonic Library. Website:http://www.paulread.ca

  7. #7

    Re: Brass Quintet

    I was really looking forward to hearing this piece. I've recently tried to compose in a more modern style myself, but remain woefully ignorant. I was eager to try out my new ears.

    Well, I could hear the sound craftsmanship, really decent performance (except for the occasional machine-gun effect on repeated notes), and an adherence to some "rules." There is a discernible form, some nice rhythms and great dynamics ...

    But this style is still just too formless for me. Pitches are avoided on purpose, but that leaves the remaining pitches purposeless too ...

    YBaCuO
    GPO and Synful experiments; chaos-more chaos compositions
    http://ybacuo.wusik.com/

  8. #8

    Re: Brass Quintet

    Hey YBaCuO
    Just read your remarks. Thanks for listening to the piece. As it says in the original post at the top, this was a work (written over 30 years ago) using a specific technique that was a bit of the rage in these parts back when it was written in the late 1960s. I don't remember having written a purely serial piece since. I find the architecture in the process used very appealing from a formalistic point of view, but it has never been an easy one for audiences and this is likely why it was abandoned in favour of more user friendly approaches along the way.

    Incidentally, this piece, in my view, is far from modern. If anything it is a bit of an anachronism. Your reaction was kind and astute and very similar to the reaction i get from students when I play them Schoenberg's early piano music. Most sense the form and the order of it, but few of them run out to buy a copy for repeated listening. Anyway I appreciated your comments and wish you well with your music. I intend to check some of your writing on this forum over the next day or so.
    Regards
    Paul

    Quote Originally Posted by YBaCuO
    I was really looking forward to hearing this piece. I've recently tried to compose in a more modern style myself, but remain woefully ignorant. I was eager to try out my new ears.

    Well, I could hear the sound craftsmanship, really decent performance (except for the occasional machine-gun effect on repeated notes), and an adherence to some "rules." There is a discernible form, some nice rhythms and great dynamics ...

    But this style is still just too formless for me. Pitches are avoided on purpose, but that leaves the remaining pitches purposeless too ...

    YBaCuO
    GPO and Synful experiments; chaos-more chaos compositions
    http://ybacuo.wusik.com/
    Mac Pro 2X2.8 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xenon, 10Gb 800 MHz DDR2 FB-DIMM, OS10.6.4, Finale 2011, Digital Performer 7.1, Altiverb 6, Yamaha S90, Built-in audio, GPO, JABB, Garritan Authorized Steinway (Pro), Reason 3, M-Audio Ozone, Giovani, Symphonic Choirs, Kontakt 2, Vienna Symphonic Library. Website:http://www.paulread.ca

  9. #9

    Re: Brass Quintet

    You did quite a good job of rendering this, Paul; especially difficult, considering the ensemble and the nature of the piece: there's simply no place to hide -- so you have to do it right.

    Compositionally, the piece is quite well done. I must confess, though, that, like you, I think I have perhaps written only two or three purely serial pieces -- ever. With a very few exceptions, there seems to typically be a certain sterility, austerity, and emotive ambiguity inherent in the serial idiom, and consequently in pieces written in it, that listeners find daunting and distancing; and though one can sense the intellectual landscape and appreciate that, the largely mathematical underpinnings of such pieces more often reap respect than lasting affection.

    Yet, one should not hastily write off serial organizational principles. In some sense, probably the vast majority of Western music uses (albeit, much broader) serial formations -- with twentieth century dodecaphonic and other serial idioms carrying the concept to its finest possible granularity. (Milton Babbitt's Composition For Twelve Instruments comes to mind as one of the epitomic embodiments of this approach, with everything from pitches to dynamics to instrument choices to note durations, serialized.)

    An understanding of serial concepts and the ability to exercise them musically is still another technique in the modern composer's arsenal, and it does have its uses.

    Well done on this, Paul.

    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

  10. #10

    Re: Brass Quintet

    Thanks David.

    You have a knack (I've noticed in reading your postings here and there) of saying things in a wonderfully clear and positive way. I appreciate your comments. And I am totally in agreement. I still use serial techniques in my writing (I'm sure you've detected that in some of my postings). But the only time I ever used serial (and strict 12-tone technique) and used it with rigorous attention to rules was back in my university student days. One interesting sidelight (at least, to me) is that most of the writing I have done over the years has been in the jazz idiom and I have to say that for one reason or another I have not used, more than sparingly, the same techniques I have used in my other writing, although they certainly work there and lend themselves well. This is just not an avenue I've pursued yet and it presents lots of exciting possibilites for me to explore. I'm looking forward to using the new JABB libraries in a new project (although I'm finding I have a lot to learn about JABB to be able to get a good rendering - early experiments have yielded substandard results) where I want to try a few ideas that will reflect the approach I have taken in my 'classical' work.

    Anyway, I digress and digress. Thanks again. Looking forward to hearing more of your excellent music!

    Paul

    Quote Originally Posted by etLux
    You did quite a good job of rendering this, Paul; especially difficult, considering the ensemble and the nature of the piece: there's simply no place to hide -- so you have to do it right.

    Compositionally, the piece is quite well done. I must confess, though, that, like you, I think I have perhaps written only two or three purely serial pieces -- ever. With a very few exceptions, there seems to typically be a certain sterility, austerity, and emotive ambiguity inherent in the serial idiom, and consequently in pieces written in it, that listeners find daunting and distancing; and though one can sense the intellectual landscape and appreciate that, the largely mathematical underpinnings of such pieces more often reap respect than lasting affection.

    Yet, one should not hastily write off serial organizational principles. In some sense, probably the vast majority of Western music uses (albeit, much broader) serial formations -- with twentieth century dodecaphonic and other serial idioms carrying the concept to its finest possible granularity. (Milton Babbitt's Composition For Twelve Instruments comes to mind as one of the epitomic embodiments of this approach, with everything from pitches to dynamics to instrument choices to note durations, serialized.)

    An understanding of serial concepts and the ability to exercise them musically is still another technique in the modern composer's arsenal, and it does have its uses.

    Well done on this, Paul.

    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .
    Mac Pro 2X2.8 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xenon, 10Gb 800 MHz DDR2 FB-DIMM, OS10.6.4, Finale 2011, Digital Performer 7.1, Altiverb 6, Yamaha S90, Built-in audio, GPO, JABB, Garritan Authorized Steinway (Pro), Reason 3, M-Audio Ozone, Giovani, Symphonic Choirs, Kontakt 2, Vienna Symphonic Library. Website:http://www.paulread.ca

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