Score available for The Geography of Dreams (for symphony orchestra)

DSCN9937

In my last post, I was able to present the score for one of my three most recent orchestral pieces. Tn this post I can announce that I’ve finished editing the score of the second of these. It can be downloaded (free) HERE.

The audio may be streamed (free) HERE (or use the player below). I strongly recommend listening on headphones or good speakers, not just tiny laptop speakers.

In my last post, I also talked a bit about the orchestra I find myself writing for. Basically, it’s solo woodwinds, solo and ensemble brass, at least 3 percussionists plus timpani, keyboard, and harp, plus–always–a full string section. However, in multi-movement compositions different movements use different subsets of that basic orchestration.

For instance, in The Geography of Dreams, you can compare the instrumentation among the movements from this list.

 
Mov. 1 – Dream of the City by the Sea and the Dark Castle Beyond Its Walls

flute solo
trumpet solo
piano
strings

Mov. 2 – Busts made of cork spinning slowly through the air

oboe solo
harp
strings

Mov. 3 – In the Hills Outside the City, the Old Man Sits by His Fire Conversing with the Forest Animals

picc solo
flute solo
oboe solo
english horn solo
french horn
Perc 1: Marimba
Perc 3: celeste
harp
keyboard (“chiffy” organ sound)
strings

Mov. 4 – Amidst The City’s Desolation The Anima Appears As A Woman Clothed In Radiant White

horn section & solo
trumpet solo
tuba
timpani
Perc 1: tam-tam
Perc 2: grand casa
Perc 3: tubular bells
harp
strings

Mov. 5 – Twilight Peal in the City of Dreams

horns section (unison)
trumpet section (unison)
strings

Score available for The Forest (for symphony orchestra)

Frideric in the snow by a fire ring_001 copyI’m in the process of editing my three most recent orchestral pieces. I just finished editing the score of the first of these. It can be downloaded (free) HERE. The audio may be streamed (free) HERE (or use the player below). I strongly recommend listening on headphones or good speakers, not just tiny laptop speakers.

In retrospect–I didn’t do this intentionally, things just came out this way–I’ve noticed that the “orchestra,” for which I naturally tend to write, has the following characteristics:

  • Normal string section;
  • Far fewer woodwinds and brass which are used almost exclusively only in solo/soli writing;
  • Expanded percussion/keyboard sections;
  • Always harp but also sometimes other plucked instruments;
  • Except for string section which seems to always be present in every movement, not all movements have same instrumentation, and some instruments might only be used in one or two movements.

For example, the instrumentation of this orchestral suite is as follows:

Flute
Oboe
English Horn
Horn
C Trumpet
Percussion 1

  • Tubular bells
  • Sistrum or tambourine (or any metal or bright sounding shaken instrument such as “egg” shaker)
  • Claves
  • Anvil or brake drum

Percussion 2

  • Hand bells
  • 6 large drums of varying sizes (in a pinch, roto-toms would do); notes immediately repeated should be of slightly different tonal inflection; the lowest 2 (or 3) drums may be of wood–at any rate, the lowest drums should be significantly lower than the upper 3

Percussion 3

  • Orchestra bells
  • Dumbek or a similar, single drum that can create a variety of pitches and timbers.

Harp
Violins I
Violins II
Violas
Cellos
Basses

New movement added to The Golden Thread — Wendeyaho

I’ve added a movement to The Golden Thread, Wendeyaho.

Although the arrangement and orchestration is my own, the melodic source for this movement is a traditional Native American tune called “Wendeyaho” that is often described as a “Cherokee Morning Song.” However discussion of it on the Internet indicates that the word, “Wendeyaho,” is not Cherokee. For a full, and fascinating discussion of this, please see Why You Can’t Find “Wendeyaho” in a Cherokee Dictionary
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Addition to Geography of Dreams

DSCN9937I added a new piece to The Geography of Dreams. The new piece is Dream of the City by the Sea and the Dark Castle Beyond Its Walls. There’ll be one more movement I think. Here’s the blurb: “A work in progress…These, and future movements to come, are all real dreams that have stuck with me over the years and that take place in a world that reoccurs very often in my dreams, ever since I was a kid. This dream world has a complete geography that is quite consistent and which I’ve explored over the decades. It’s a peculiar feeling to know that this other world exists. It seems to exist outside of this time stream…but it is very real.”

In the Hills Outside the City, the Old Man Sits by His Fire Conversing with the Forest Animals

I’ve added another movement to my orchestral piece, The Geography of Dreams. It’s In the Hills Outside the City, the Old Man Sits by His Fire Conversing with the Forest Animals.

These, and future movements to come, are all real dreams that have stuck with me over the years and that take place in a world that reoccurs very often in my dreams, ever since I was a kid. This dream world has a complete geography that is quite consistent and which I’ve explored over the decades. It’s a peculiar feeling to know that this other world exists. It seems to exist outside of this time stream…but it is very real.

Longfellow

In the previous post, http://hiltonkeanjones.com/2014/08/23/new-anthem/, I had a link to the first of a series of choral pieces based on Transcendentalist poets. The two transcendentalists everyone knows are, of course, Emerson and Thoreau, but there are many more than just those two, and a surprising number of them are women. More than half of the poems I’ve selected are by these women transcendentalists.

The text of the first choral piece in the series, the one featured last week, is by a famous male poet, Longfellow. A friend asked if I was going to post a demo of the choral piece. I didn’t really want to do that–I think choral piece demos sound particularly cheesy (not that other things don’t). What I have done, however–and I intend to do this for every one of the choral pieces–is I reworked them, texturally, into orchestral pieces.

The group of pieces will be called Transcendentalists, and for the orchestral versions, instead of the poem’s titles, I’m using the authors’ names as titles. So, if you want to follow along with some notes, look at last week’s post. Eventually, I’ll post the orchestral score and edit this post to give a link for it.

Here’s the SoundCloud link for Longfellow.

Amidst the city’s desolation, the Anima appears as a woman clothed in radiant white

DSCN9937I added a new track to The Geography of Dreams: Admist the city’s desolation, the Anima appears as a woman clothed in radiant white.

There’s two kinds of programmatic music: what are often called “character pieces,” short pieces with a descriptive title, the music generally depicting the emotions and character of that description; the other being the “tone poem,” longer pieces depicting blow-by-blow actions of a story line. Late Baroque composers and were fond of the character piece and early 20th century composers of the tone poem (a generalization, of course…character pieces have been popular ever since they were invented, even into the present). This movement is closer to the tone poem approach.

If you’d like to download the score, HERE is the PDF.

The Geography of Dreams with two movements…more to follow.

Busts made of cork spinning slowly through the air

I’ve started a new suite of pieces, The Geography of Dreams. At various times in my life, I’ve kept a handheld tape-recorder in bed and recorded dreams immediately after they happened. Even before I started doing that, I was aware that certain “places” kept showing up in my dreams. Eventually, I got so curious about this, I drew a map of this dreamworld. It has an actual geography!

So…this suite will portray some of those places and dream-events that happened in them. So far, there’s only this one movement: Busts made of cork spinning slowly through the air — the title (and dream) has sort of a René Magritte feel to it, doesn’t it?!

If you’d like to download the score, HERE is the PDF.