QCSO Masterworks III; BIG Composition Projects Started!

December 3, 2017, 4:15 PM · QCSO Masterworks III: Postcards from Scandinavia!

After a successful Christmas at Augustana performance yesterday, this afternoon I got to enjoy three late-Romantic works live: Carl Nielsen's "Maskarade Overture," which the BBC YouTube channel in 2015 posted a clip of from that Prom season; Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto, with Charlie Albright playing fantastically (and the YouTube channel TwoSetViolin have used parts of in their recent videos); and Jean Sibelius' majestic Second Symphony, which I had heard last year at the Cleveland Symphony when I went. It was a wonderful program - Albright improvised the big piano cadenza in the Grieg, which took the themes from the exposition and masterfully finished developing them for the composer, getting quieter and growing louder twice, until the orchestra came back in for the tutti. (I did bring scores for the entire program with me to read through - hearing the notes I see on page is much more tactile for me to appreciate the music. But that's just me.) Of course, waiting for that finale of Sibelius 2 seemed to last a long time, but once we arrived through that second half of the piece, I was set to just enjoy some wonderful, lush Finnish music. All in all, I had a wonderful time this afternoon, and am inspired for my evening I guess.

I have a bit of exciting news related to my senior year - already! I still remember my "Little Snow-White" and Rimsky-Korsakov Concerto projects that occupied me senior year of high school - seems so far away now! What I plan to be doing as of now (this may change) is for my big research project, to take a short black-and-white silent film (perhaps Charlie Chaplin, or something else) and set music to it, researching early films in general. This would help me wonderfully in getting started further into the film music world. For my big composition recital, then, I plan on writing a tone-poem based on Shakespeare's "King Henry V," a play I read senior year of high school and really enjoyed. It's also a very cinematic play, so I hope to play (ha!) up on that and make this work like a film score, even though it is not, in my compositional style I've been slowly growing and working on over the past few years at Augustana. I have a fairly large chamber orchestra worked out, so I'll be excited to start orchestrating - though I've barely begun writing it yet, I did go on a long walk this morning before the concert sketching out a leitmotif for King Henry V. We will see where that takes me!

In addition, later on this month, a couple friends from high school studying in the Czech Republic will be performing my "The Man Who Was Thursday" violin/viola duet, based on G.K. Chesterton's novel! That was the main inspiration for the idea for my new tone-poem, "Henry V", where I take an existing story and write music for it - which I suppose goes back to "Little Snow-White" in a way. This has already started as a wonderful holiday season, and in the couple weeks I have leading up to Christmas break, I hope to get a lot of music written, practiced, and studied, so I can go home and have a wonderful holiday season to celebrate!


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