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Perpetual Light for Violin and Orchestra
Last post Sun, Dec 22 2019 by Acclarion, 12 replies.
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Posted on Mon, Dec 16 2019 21:14
by Acclarion
Joined on Sat, Aug 15 2015, Canada, Eh!, Posts 513
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 :)
 
Instruments:  all VSL dimension strings and brass, as well as VSL woodwinds.  A non-VSL product is the solo violin.
 
  Perpetual Light for Violin and Orchestra
 
Cheers!
Dave
www.DavidCarovillano.com - NEW SITE!
www.acclarion.ca - concert accordion & clarinet duo
Posted on Tue, Dec 17 2019 02:36
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5514

Dave,

That is a beautiful piece, so complex and wonderfully developed.   Your MIDI performance also sounds so good.  A fascinating concept behind the music also.   I hope you continue posting these fabulous pieces here on VSL.  

Posted on Tue, Dec 17 2019 12:28
by crusoe
Joined on Sat, Dec 26 2009, Posts 134

Hi Dave,

I understood the composition on a basic level, I think. You start with a theme, and then modulate to a "darker" tonality several times, before the violin fully enters in the "dark" middle of the piece. The violin then leads the way back into the light. 

Well, the "dark" part was not that dark, which makes me doubt the above interpretation. This was partly emphasized by the violin being in the higher register most of the time (if not all the time). It also reminded me some of your works for clarinet (with the author being the same, I guess that's not too surprising :) ).

On the technical side of things, the piece is very well-made, I thought. Convincing individual parts and dynamics. One little remark that I could make is that the solo violin is positioned very far from the listeners. It does sit in the orchestra well, but then I *personally* would like to hear some more detail/character in its part. Maybe it's a property of the instrument itself.

Ok, now that I've outlined the criticism that I hope to be useful in at least some way, let me say that the piece is beatiful, enjoyable, and very-well programmed. Keep up doing the good work.

Cheers,

Crusoe.

Posted on Tue, Dec 17 2019 18:26
by Acclarion
Joined on Sat, Aug 15 2015, Canada, Eh!, Posts 513

Originally Posted by: William Go to Quoted Post

Dave,

That is a beautiful piece, so complex and wonderfully developed.   Your MIDI performance also sounds so good.  A fascinating concept behind the music also.   I hope you continue posting these fabulous pieces here on VSL.  

Thanks, Bill!  As long as I write music, I'll keep sharing it :)

Btw, I've received a similar response (or lack thereof) on that other forum as your Symphony did.  All the more reason to remember that we do what we do, first for us, then for the few that may appreciate it.

All the best,

Dave

www.DavidCarovillano.com - NEW SITE!
www.acclarion.ca - concert accordion & clarinet duo
Posted on Tue, Dec 17 2019 18:33
by Acclarion
Joined on Sat, Aug 15 2015, Canada, Eh!, Posts 513

Hi Crusoe,

I will admit to always looking forward to your comments.  I think you try harder than most to see beyond simply the music, and try to arrive at the meaning behind the work.  The beautiful thing about instrumental music is that it can convey so many different, yet all viable, meanings to different listeners.  I sometimes wish I didn't have to name pieces and provide my own thoughts when sharing, because it's never my intention to force my own ideas of what was influencing my musical decisions on others.  More often than not, I arrive at a "feeling" about the meaning after I've completed the work...in other words, I often write with the absolute music mentality, even if much of my stuff has that programatic/narrative feel to it.

Anyway, one interesting point to bring up:  the violin being in the high register most of the time (there are a few moments for impact where I had it in the lowest range) is more a function of it cutting through the orchestra, than a desire to imply lightness vs. darkness.

As for the placement of the solo violin, it's literally kissing the microphone, while everything else is quite further back.  Any closer to the listener and they might feel violated by the violin's bow :)  It's always interesting how the sound is perceived to different listeners and through different equipment, but you have impeccable hearing/attention to such detail, so who am I to tell you it was close enough? lol

Cheers!

Dave

www.DavidCarovillano.com - NEW SITE!
www.acclarion.ca - concert accordion & clarinet duo
Posted on Wed, Dec 18 2019 02:58
by tchampe
Joined on Wed, Apr 25 2018, Posts 76

Another wonderful piece, Dave. As usual, I've had to listen to it several times to get a handle on it. I think the idea of providing a program is a two-edged sword: On the one hand, it gives the listener something to get a grip on. (How could anything be more abstract than purely instrumental music? If Till Eulenspiegel was named Concert Rondo in F maj would you figure it was about a medieval smartass giving academics the raspberry and getting himself hung for it?) On the other hand, it can get the listener twisted around the axle trying to hear some element of the program in every note and forgeting to just listen and enjoy it for its own sake. No wonder Beethoven himself blew hot and cold on the topic: "Not really a picture of a day in the country, more, you know, an impression...like...y'know...sort of a feeling...but not reallly...sort of..." With your stuff, I try to split the difference. I always figured you went where the muse took you and tried to determine what is was about after the fact...as your note to Crusoe seems to confirm. The one aspect of the program that I hung onto for the first hearing was wondering how you would end it. What was going to happen to the fire? After acting like it was going to head off somewhere into the unknown a few times, the coda settled down and went right where it told us it was going...C maj fading serenely into the sunset. I think you're pretty upbeat about the light, my friend. Elegant, soulful stuff.

On another thought, I'm with Crusoe on hearing the violin in the distance. It's as if you placed it in the back of the house using MIR. I heard a trumpet (I think) that left the same impression. My hearing is always suspect, but if Crusoe hears it, there is likely something to it.

Thanks for sharing this, Dave. I never tire of your work and look forward to your next creation.

Tom

Posted on Wed, Dec 18 2019 11:03
by crusoe
Joined on Sat, Dec 26 2009, Posts 134

Hi Dave,

Quote:
More often than not, I arrive at a "feeling" about the meaning after I've completed the work...in other words, I often write with the absolute music mentality, even if much of my stuff has that programatic/narrative feel to it.

Totally makes sense, and I understand this from my own (rather humble) experience. But then, and this is why my thought went this way, you provided a very specific, detailed text that summarizes the piece. So even if there's no literal translation from music into words, you still had something to add! 

Thanks for the explanation about the violin. Amazing... I should have another listen :)

Cheers,

Crusoe.

Oh, and again, very nice piece. 

Posted on Wed, Dec 18 2019 15:32
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5514

Tom,  yeah those medieval smartasses.  They're a pain.    

I like what you were saying about program music and the example of the Beethoven Pastoral is perfect - it manages to be "programmatic" but not too much or too explicitly.  The Disney cartoon in Fantasia is a bit sickening.   I guess too much is "Mickey Mousing" it.  Using music to explicitly describe something almost in a mechanical way.  Like there is a somewhat trite piece (I hope I don't enrage a fan) Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofe with donkey brays and hooves trotting, etc.  It is annoying. 

However Dave manages to do that subtly suggestive aspect perfectly - another person here who does it is Paul McGraw with his beautiful nature tone pictures.    

I remember hearing how Bruckner, at one point, created an elaborate program for his 4th Symphony complete with galloping knights and battles, etc.  He then - wisely - withdrew it.  So that was an example of somebody - the compsoer himself in this case - just dreaming up something after the fact.  I think that when it is inherent in the music to begin with it works (except with donkey brays).  

Posted on Wed, Dec 18 2019 18:01
by Acclarion
Joined on Sat, Aug 15 2015, Canada, Eh!, Posts 513

Hi Tom,

Thanks so much, as always, for your support and thoughtful comments.  I'm starting to wonder if you've got my home tapped (all those bloody Amazon devices around my house are sending my conversations with Becky to you, aren't they?)  Your comments about program music are spot on.  I often dread finishing a piece, because I know it is at that moment that I have to A) come up with a title, if I haven't already... B) find a way to summarize the work in words that I know will be more easily digested/analyzed by the average listener than the music itself, and C)  try to make it seem like every note I wrote was intentioned with unmistakable purpose...yeah right.  The fact is, I very much just write.  The truth is, if writing music was laborious for me; if I had to painstakingly sketch out a theme prior to writing; if I had to think about the overall structure and map out my cadence points, key changes, secondary themes, etc. I would never write a single thing.  I've always been that way, both with music, and the written word.  

Imagine the dread I faced with writing assignments in school, where they purposely asked you to map out your thesis, arguments, etc. on these neat little charts.  I basically wrote the essay, did little to no revisions afterward (I know how ironic this statement is in light of your work, Tom! lol) and plugged in what I believed the teacher was looking for on the "pre-planning template" after the entire essay was done :)  I'm not suggesting that in recent years, as a composer, I haven't tried to discipline myself to think more about these things prior to starting, but I invariably always end up just doing what I'm going to do, for better or worse.

Anyway, I'd love to name every piece, "Rondo in F Major" (hell, even if it's in G Major...I deplore tonal "labels") :)

Part of the joy of sharing music with such brilliant listeners like those on this forum, is the exchange of ideas.  I'm just as happy to have you or someone else tell me what you feel the music represents. I'm never married to my own idea of the meaning, even though I'm quite married to the music itself and would be far more reluctant to change the way I write music based on someone's suggestions, than to change the "program" or meaning of the work, if a better story emerged from the discussion.

As for the violin, here's what Becky and I suspect:  we listened on a few different speakers last night, all with strikingly different impressions.  My studio monitors give the sensation of a relatively close proximity, my TV has the violin jumping out way in front, my Sonos speakers put it closer to blending with the orchestra.  I honestly never know.  In graphical terms, the solo violin is right in front of the main mic, with all the orchestra significantly behind.  However, the violin I used has its own reverb and I didn't turn it off here, as I normally do.  That spatial representation of the violin's reverb, plus that of the Mir venue may have made the instrument more "airy" and "wet."  This is probably what's happening with you and Crusoe hearing it more distant.  I do agree that Crusoe has a special sensitivity to this stuff and I don't...so, let's just say that you guys are probably spot on with what you're hearing!

William, thanks again for your kind words as well.  I always enjoy dipping in to the lake of knowledge (a pool is too small) that you possess, and love that you're literally an encylopedia of classical and film music references.

Cheers!
Dave

www.DavidCarovillano.com - NEW SITE!
www.acclarion.ca - concert accordion & clarinet duo
Posted on Fri, Dec 20 2019 14:52
by tchampe
Joined on Wed, Apr 25 2018, Posts 76

Originally Posted by: Acclarion Go to Quoted Post

I'm starting to wonder if you've got my home tapped (all those bloody Amazon devices around my house are sending my conversations with Becky to you, aren't they?)

Nothing that sinister, Dave. The fact is, you're a sensitive artist doing your best to expose something that's in your heart through your music. If someone listening to it gets it right once in awhile, that's on you! Actually, it might also have something to do with the "kindred spirit effect." Let's just say that your method of reverse-engineering essays is not entirely unprecedented.   Come to think of it, my one and only composition (the Pop Goes the Weasel fantasy) just sort of...went there. I had no intention going in of doing a jazz-style variation, of a Bill Chase tribute, of it turning into a march...none of it. That's just how it turned out.

Bill, you may be surprised to learn that I'm quite a fan of Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite but I agree with you 100% about the jackass movement (On the Trail). It really hasn't aged well, especially as a serious concert piece. The problem ol' Grofe (a helluva musician, BTW) has is that he's best known for one his lamest tunes. I think he introduced the suite when he was the arranger for the Paul Whiteman Orchestra (the self-styled "King of Jazz." Rarely has an artist had a last name that was so profoundly fitting.) The Whiteman recording of the jackass movement was something of a hit and lead Grofe to create the version for full orchestra of the entire suite that we are familiar with. I like the Sunrise and Painted Desert movements the best. Cloudburst is pretty cool, too, but it suffers from comparison with all of those other "sturm" classical charts...4th movement of the PastoraleScheherazade, Eine Alpensinfonie, etc, etc.

Tom

Posted on Fri, Dec 20 2019 15:45
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5514

Tom you're right on that - I remember liking those other movements.  I was traumatized by the jackass movement (not something you want to step in). 

Posted on Sun, Dec 22 2019 13:02
by Acclarion
Joined on Sat, Aug 15 2015, Canada, Eh!, Posts 513
Originally Posted by: tchampe Go to Quoted Post
The fact is, you're a sensitive artist doing your best to expose something that's in your heart through your music.


Not doing a great job, unfortnately. I have 3 supporters that "get it". It's funny how I'm constantly told how abstract my music is on forums, and yet I know how "off the beaten path" much modern/avante-garde music can be in comparison, that I sometimes feel like postng my music side by side with some of these works, so people will consider my music to be the pleasant and familiar work :)

Merry Christmas to all! (Happy Hannukah, Kwanzaa, or any other holiday you may celebrate)

Dave
www.DavidCarovillano.com - NEW SITE!
www.acclarion.ca - concert accordion & clarinet duo
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