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New Composer - Inner Version

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by InnerVersion, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. avguste

    avguste Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I just listened to the Egyptian concerto(part 1) and I like what I heard and saw on the music.
    Well written and musical.

    I will listen to the ones you submitted within the next few weeks.
     
  2. InnerVersion

    InnerVersion New Member

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  3. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Very nice again, and this piece did not strike me as too long. Some very interesting harmonies in here.

    We've not talked yet about putting these pieces on the site. If you want that, please provide your bio and photo.
     
  4. InnerVersion

    InnerVersion New Member

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    Thanks - I sent you a PM regarding bio/photo
     
  5. InnerVersion

    InnerVersion New Member

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  6. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I seem to have missed this one. A lovely piece indeed, full of wonderful harmonies. It reminded me as much of Debussy as of John Ireland. I especially like the last 70 seconds, the winding down after the climax. The closing chord could have come straight out of a Mompou piece.
    Great work.
     
  7. InnerVersion

    InnerVersion New Member

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    Thank you, much appreciated :)

    Also, I don't think I've heard anything by John Ireland, any of his works in particular that you can recommend?
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Haha, trust me to detect an influence that isn't there :D Let's just say there is something quintessentially English (whatever that is) about his tonal language and yours. A common ground shared by many English composers, especially those from the first half of the last century.

    I know really only a couple of his piano works, notably his Prelude, Sarnia and the London Pieces. Absolutely great piano writing that should be far wider known. His much lauded Piano Concerto somehow failed to capture me.
     
  9. differencetone

    differencetone New Member

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    I like the aesthetics and musicality of your playing. "Cambric Clouds" has a beautiful introduction, then you switched gears to a slower jazz style and I was a little disappointed because I was enjoying the ornate classical flourishes so much. I like your classical style more than your jazz style. You go back and fourth a lot.
     
  10. InnerVersion

    InnerVersion New Member

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    Thanks - yeah Cambric Clouds is perhaps not as consistent in style as the other pieces (although it's one of my favourites and the one I return to the most often). This is due to it being written as a set of 9 different sections or "clouds" each in a different style, and ending on cloud nine. The sheet music is available as a free download here if you are interested:

    http://www.innerversion.com/sheetmusic/ ... Clouds.pdf

    Also, the introduction is actually based on the intro of a Radiohead song called "Street Spirit (Fade Out)", hence Cloud One (Fade In) on the sheet music...
     
  11. differencetone

    differencetone New Member

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    Yeah? I heard they toured with Robert Fripp who I totally idolize.
     
  12. InnerVersion

    InnerVersion New Member

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    Likewise my piece "Us Prisoners" is based around the intro of Radiohead - No Surprises (Us Prisoners is an anagram of No Surprises, hence the slightly unusual name ... )
     
  13. InnerVersion

    InnerVersion New Member

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  14. InnerVersion

    InnerVersion New Member

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  15. InnerVersion

    InnerVersion New Member

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  16. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hello Chris,
    I have composed and have taught composing. I listened to your three works and have a few things to say. Let's start with the encouragement :) You have a very well-devloped sense of musicality. You often have interesting harmonies (a splash of whole-tone here and there). I heard a section in Clouds that brought to mind the "EngulfING Cathedral" prelude of Debussy, because the large open-chord statements were descending. For its genre (which is a bit difficult to describe for reasons I'll state below) your music is beautiful and successful. Now for some (I hope constructive) critique. Your style is hardly novel. By and large, the works you gave us are what I would consider "sonic musings." There is no memorable melody that I will remember afterwards. Harmonically, you toy with other keys (as in the development section of a sonata where a "plurality" of keys may be featured) but never modulate to a distinct key "and live there." Consequently, the sense of departure is not clear, and therefore, the sense of return is not strong (when you finish in the same key that you started in). Rhythmically, there is nothing to catch my attention. Now, having said all this, I would have to add that "miniatures" like yours, especially if they are meant for "easy" listening, are supposed to be like that, BUT, your music is often far more interesting than "conversation music." There is the crux. Are you trying to let me talk over your music at a romantic dinner, or are you trying to interupt my conversation with your interesting musical ideas? I think (IMHO) that you need to decide if you wish as a composer to be in the background or if you want to say something worth people listening to. In a sense, to be a composer means to write works that other pianists (in this case) will wish to perform. The genre you are writing in does not lend itself to significant expression that will be uniquely identified by a single personality (yours); it will all pretty much sound very similar, not only to your other works, but unfortunately, to the works of others in the same genre. I suspect this may be disheartening to hear. You certainly have musical talent, but you haven't (IMO) begun to tap what you may be capable of. Keep in mind that this is a site for "Classical" (piano) music and that I am trained in that idiom. If you were my student, I would begin by having you do a lot of analysis (of extended works and Brahms Variations on a Theme of Haydn (the orchestral version) as a weekly vitamin pill on technical devices) and start you writing some variations on a given theme, for example on the opening of the Chopin Ballade No. 2. From there, you would be assigned to compose a work in ternary form (ABA, have you ever noted how beautiful are the B sections of Brahms piano works?). There you have it; take it for what it's worth. I wish you the best sincerely.
     
  17. InnerVersion

    InnerVersion New Member

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    Thank you Eddy, some useful criticism. I'm still deciding myself what direction to go in future, and like you I can't really put a precise name on the genre, especially for the piano sketches, which weren't designed to be that similar in style to each other.

    Also, I noticed you said you listened to my "three works" - have you only listened to the first three of my piano sketches? In total I've done ten pieces so far (5 piano sketches, 5 reflections, with 1 more reflection currently in development).

    The general aim for my second Reflections album was to have a more consistent style, which is roughly Debussy-esque impressionism merged with some elements of jazz, and partly inspired by Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" amongst other pieces. Each of the five piano sketches on my first album (I think) are quite different in style, even Egyptian Concerto Part 1 vs Part 2 are separate pieces that can be performed independently of each other.
     
  18. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I began my reply after reading the comments on only the first page, having failied to note additional posts (including yours) following, so my comments were based upon hearing only the first three links you provided.
     
  19. InnerVersion

    InnerVersion New Member

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    No problems - I've now updated the initial post with links to all of the pieces I've published so far.
     
  20. glenn

    glenn New Member

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    Chris -

    I did not see this when you posted it. I find it amazing that you are still receiving posts after all these months! That, in itself, is an accomplishment. :wink: I listened to some of your earlier music, then listened to your later music and changed my mind on some of the things I was going to say. Generally, I think I like what you are doing. I like your rhythm and rubato. You are obviously using piano software (which sounds fantastic, by the way - Is it the Garritan Steinway? I ask because it is what I use.) which means you are recording in MIDI, but you are recording straight out and not getting sucked in to the strict tempo trap that so many do. I like your harmony and willingness to experiment. Your music has a "look what I found" character to it which I find attractive.

    Though I found some structural devices holding together your earlier music, along with some clever - if sporadic - use of motivic material, this latest Reflections album seems even more spontaneous. The music seems to be held together by an underlying tonality, and the motion seems to be for you to make chromatic (or non-diatonic) excursions away from the tonality and then make your way back. Sometimes you "stay away" for quite a while, but I agree with Musical-md in that you never seem to arrive anywhere new. This does not bother me so much, though the entire album seems to be in the same or closely related tonality. Another thing that begins to wear on me is how each of your phrases ends in piano reverberation. It tends to stop the motion of what you just did. Some shorter pauses between phrases, or even elision of the beginning of your new phrase to the end of your old phrase would help to move your music along a little bit and allow you to group your music into longer sections.

    The characteristics I have mentioned cause me to ask if this music was originally improvised. This is not a criticism, but just an inquiry. I, myself, use improvisation as the origin of my written music (see my post under Composition), as well as improvising for its own sake. I ask because several of the devices you are using are those which might be used by a good improviser. Also, some of the chromatic notes seem to get left hanging without resolution, which happens. If not, you have done a good job of simulating or assimilating an improvised style.

    I also would like to pass along a structural technique I picked up from Debussy, since you name him as an influence. At the time I discovered this, my music was quite modal, and I found myself working with pentatonics and hexatonics rather than the regular tonal major/minor system. So I arranged the notes (not keys) in a line in fifths - flats in one direction and sharps in the other - like this.

    . . . A# D# G# C# F# B E A D G C F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb . . .

    Major scales are grouped together - so are pentatonics and hexatonics - and they are arranged in a coherent tonal system. But I liked it because it did not imply a tonal CENTER but just a tonal COLOR. I played around with moving from one grouping to another, adding notes to the left then right, jumping, etc. Then I took a look at some of the modal music of Debussy and graphed it using the above arrangement of notes as a Y-axis against time as the X-axis. What he seemed to do was to plan his modal pieces so that they moved first in one direction then back and to the other direction and back, creating sort of a sine wave. This was a revelation because tonal function doesn't work very well in a modal setting. Most romantic composers (Brahms and Dvorak for example) just use tonal harmony to go with their modal melodies. But Debussy moved the COLOR of his music back and forth, without using functional harmony. I thought I would pass this along, because you seem much more 'color" oriented than "function" oriented, and your music does seem to get stuck sometimes in one area. Of course, all your interesting chromatic excursions would still be great, but this way you could have your background color move to different tonal areas. It also might help you to expand your concept of a "tonal area" as it did for me.

    I don't see any problem with what you are going to do with this. Just keep writing and publicizing and something might happen. Hitting the jackpot is not always the most fortunate thing anyway, as people will no longer want you to grow and change. Composition can be a lifelong pursuit so growth and change are a must, for your sanity if nothing else. I did a show with James Taylor once who said that when he heard Carole King sing "You've got a friend", he complemented her on the song. She said to him, "you like it, why don't you take it?" He then said that if he had known then that he would be singing the song every day for the next forty years, he might not have taken her up on it!

    Best of luck with your work. It is quite promising. Happy holidays.

    Glenn Stallcop
     

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