Introduction and a piece
  • Hello all,

    I'm newly-registered to this forum but have browsed it quite a lot over the years, particularly this forum on new compositions. I thought I'd introduce and share a piece of mine as well.

    I'm a composer and have been working as a musician within the Church for about 18 years. I'm currently director of music at the Church of Saint Peter in North Saint Paul, Minnesota. I just founded a parish schola, focusing on chant and polyphonic repertoires, and the reception so far has been positive.

    I'd like to share a choral setting of the "Salve Regina" I composed about 5 years ago (attached — apologies in advance for the watermarked pages). It's a long-ish setting that traverses a number of sentiments and musical textures. The Saint Louis Chamber Chorus premiered the work, but I unfortunately only have a recording from one of the rehearsals, due to a technological failure during the performance.

    In any case, I'm happy to have officially joined the forum and look forward to our discussions about music — especially the new stuff!
  • Timroycomposer,

    Welcome to the comment side of the forum.

    I've just briefly perused your setting of the Salve Regina. It's intriguing. My setting of the text (hereabouts somewhere) aimed at an entirely different result, and is, therefore markedly different from yours. [This is not a criticism. I enjoy both Howells Like as the hart and Palestrina Sicut Cervus]

    In measure 46 and again in measure 84 -- and there may be other places -- you have what appears to be a note with a pitch barred with a note which has no pitch. Can you explain the intended result and/or the cause?
  • Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the welcome and good to meet you. I'll look in the forum for your setting. Happy to answer your question. I assume you're talking about places in which stems are connected to rests instead of pitches. This is simply a notational practice, often called half-stemming, that is used to help the eye more easily sort rhythmic groupings. In measures where there isn't a whole lot going on, there is admittedly little benefit. I'm willing to admit that there are places where this practice turns out to be more of a hindrance than help, but my publisher requested it and wanted consistency throughout the score.

    For a more extreme example of half-stemming, which elucidates better why one would do this, see this page from Elliott Carter's fifth string quartet (attached).

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  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,343
    Timothy, you have formidable musical gifts. I spent a couple of hours (most pleasurable) listening to your opera at:
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  • Thank you, Ron! It's gratifying and humbling when others spend time listening to my music and enjoy it.
  • Carol
    Posts: 514
    timroy, just so you know, those little reminders in the boxes appear totally randomly and are NOT pointed remarks as a result of any particular comments.
  • Hi Carol — forgive me but I'm not following. What "little reminders in the boxes" do you mean?
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,544

    The moderator has set up the Forum Software so that every x number of posts a little box comes up saying something like: "Be polite. Critique principles, not people.", &c. Sometimes people get the wrong end of the stick and think that it was posted directly in response to something that they said: It isn't; it's completely random.

    The piece looks interesting, though I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, But, I will critique your publisher: I find absolutely no benefit to the half-stemming in this score. In something as complex as the polyrhythms in Elliott Carter's quartet, I can understand it, but in this piece It is really more of a hindrance than a help, in fact, I would go so far as to say that that particular notational practice, coupled with the absence of the choral practice of beaming according to syllabification--this makes a difference to singers, in my experience--would actually put me off purchasing this score. This is no critique of the music, but of the engraving---I would feel the same way if this was a score of a Palestrina Mass.

    I look forward to listening to your work.
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  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,598

    Do you have an official website where we can see/hear more music, especially for use in liturgy with a church choir?
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  • @Salieri

    Thanks first off for taking a look!

    The moderator has set up the Forum Software so that every x number of posts a little box comes up saying…

    Ah, ok. Got it! I did notice those but haven't seen any in this particular thread. I'm glad you and Carol have made me aware of their randomness, as I wouldn't have known that otherwise.

    I also tend to think this piece doesn't need the half-stemming, but that was the choice of Peters. Regarding beaming according to syllabification — this is an archaic practice that few modern composers and publishing houses follow, as far as I'm aware.
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  • @francis

    I do. It's
    Though you really won't find anything there composed for liturgical use, I'm afraid. The bulk of my work is chamber, electroacoustic, and experimental works. I haven't actually done much writing expressly for liturgical use.

    However, I do have a setting of the Ordinary in English using the revised ICEL text. I've just finished revising it. (I should note that I obtained permission from ICEL back in 2011 for this). It's scored for SATB and organ and is intended for use during Lent. It originally had a Gloria, but I recently determined that this jubilant, major-key Gloria and its Sanctus should be separated from the other movements, which are in minor keys and brooding. I provided a new Sanctus for the minor-key movements and have collected them as a cycle for Lent. The orphaned Gloria and Sanctus will receive new counterparts and be collected as a cycle for Easter.

    In any case, I'd be happy to preview the Lenten Mass if you like. It's traditional sounding — 18th-century with some modal inflection probably describes it. The melodies are (in my experience) quickly picked up by the congregation.
  • The engraving is indeed sub-par, and in several other ways as well - there's no reason you couldn't fit two systems on a page, for instance. It's a shame that EP has fallen to such depths - one can even find more attractive and readable scores on CPDL.

    Otherwise, an effective (though undoubtedly challenging) litany. I would almost say shades of Penderecki.
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  • @Schönbergian

    Thanks for checking it out! Were the score dimensions larger, they could've fit several systems per page. Not with the size they produced.

    I do greatly admire Penderecki's body of work. He, as well as Ligeti and Lutoslawski, were so very important for their explorations in timbre, texture, and time, and the techniques they developed to leverage these parameters! Many modernists wrote off Penderecki when his language shifted in the 80s, but I view his later works as clearly being informed by the earlier ones.

    Same can be said of Ligeti's final compositional period, returning to his Hungarian roots while exploring African rhythmic patterns and utilizing the most fruitful aspects of his sound mass period.

    Pages 2–4 of my score are a subtle nod to Ligeti…
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  • I disagree on the score - with that much space between staves, I could have easily fit two systems on a page. Spacing the music out too much like that (both vertically and horizontally) just makes it much more difficult to get the full picture at any given time.

    I heard the Ligeti references but leaned more towards Penderecki because your music seemed less tonally dense than his. All those clustered semitones and rhythmic motives produce a mass of sound which I found much different from your approach. I know a composer who primarily works in electro-acoustic music, and his choral music looks and sounds very similar to your approach - is that an intentional influence?
  • My experiences working in the electroacoustic arena have definitely led me to think about all musical parameters in a more expanded way. Working very directly with sound always reminds me that the notated score should be in service to the sonic result, not limiting the possibilities of the piece. I've noticed that my students' compositional imagination is often limited by the constraints of the notation. If it's prohibitively difficult to notate an idea in traditional notation, then they're less likely to consider it or even think of it in the first place. But having that experience of carving out sound in real time does wonders for one's imagination. Pp. 31–37 of my score present a non-traditional method of handling time that is really common for me these days, but I only started doing things like this after cutting my teeth in the studio.

    I'm curious as to who your composer friend is? Wondering if I might know him. The world of EA music is small…
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,020
    I'm having to paste the url's into my browser to get to the links, but a very impressive piece!

    The layout is a bit tragic, and if someone at Peters is collecting errata, the asterisk seems to be missing for the p. 31 footnote, and a piano reduction reminder of the pitches is wanted on pp. 32 & 34, as it is given on p36, the next page turn.

    "Eia" somehow reminds me of Sibelius' "Eilaa", with a completely different connotation!
  • Hi Richard --- Thanks for taking a look and for your kind words! I've been collecting errata myself, and these are on my list. Always good to get another set of eyes on things.

    I don't know the Sibelius piece, but I'll check it out. He's one of those composers I've never really dug into. Of his generation, Strauss was the one who really hooked me when I was younger (although it was the Strauss of Salome and Elektra that I was fondest of...)
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,598
    Yes, we would all like to see the completed movements of your Lenten cycle.
  • Hello all,

    I'm still doing a bit of editing on the engraving of my Lenten Mass cycle. Here is a link to listen to a demo. Please pardon the low-quality iPhone recording and not-so-stellar singing. My breath support wasn't great while trying to also accompany myself…
    FYI, the full scoring is SATB + organ with descants. There is also a Gospel Acclamation (not in the above Soundcloud playlist) with through-composed settings of each verse, utilizing similar music for each verse.

    I'm currently in the negotiation stage with a publisher for this, so while I'm not prohibited at this time from using or sharing it, I'd rather make the a PDF score available to those who inquire directly rather than posting it here. If you like what you hear, please private message me. Thanks in advance!
  • Not sure why the URL function doesn't seem to be working for me. The link has to be copied/pasted, unfortunately.
  • Thanks, Gerald! I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong when I try to post links.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,113
    Just copy and paste the text of the URL directly into the text box where you compose your message. Don't click the little chain-link/hyperlink thing. Should work like a charm!
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  • That's what I've been doing wrong — trying to use the HTML tool! Thanks for the heads up.
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 109
    You can also go back and edit links in the old posts.
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  • All links fixed.