Vienna Symphonic Library Forum
Forum Statistics

185,035 users have contributed to 42,375 threads and 255,407 posts.

In the past 24 hours, we have 3 new thread(s), 10 new post(s) and 76 new user(s).

  • The Sword of Damocles- Marimba and String Quartet

    last edited
    last edited

    Hi all,

    I just completed this concert work for marimba and string quartet, which I hope you will enjoy. Looking forward to your thoughts!

    The Sword of Damocles - PLAY

    Cheers!

    David Carovillano


  • As always, Dave, a really cool piece with an excellent virtual realization. Mallet parts may be pretty straight forward to reproduce but the string quartet really shows off your skill with virtual instruments. The piece is also a very cool pairing and one that I think recitalists would enjoy. In fact, it's kind of surprising to me that wind or perc solo/str4 isn't a mainstay of chamber music. It seems to usually be str4 + piano. I think Mozart has a str4 + horn. I'm sure there are many others but there is certainly room for a piece as cool as this.

    BTW, where do you sell the sheet music to your chamber music charts? I checked your website but couldn't see a way to get them.

    Tom


  • Hi Tom,

    So glad you enjoyed the music and the rendering.  I recently had my concert band piece played by the university, and heard some wicked marimba music, which inspired me to write something for it (and of course, strings, since I have access to some musicians that might play it).  I agree that pairings like this should be more common, but then again, I play accordion, so I'm used to being on the outside looking in and always finding ways to get the accordion to "invade the sanctity of a string quartet."  :)

    As for sheet music, we just launched the new site and have put up our first piece, Capriccio Cattivo on Sheet Music Plus:  https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/capriccio-cattivo-digital-sheet-music/20741184

    They'll be added there and to the site in due time, but right now, I'm finishing up scores for actual performances, including a few different works being played in July.  Selling the pieces really isn't worth the time it takes to make a beautiful score, so I'm more motivated to finish pieces by actual performers/ensembles that have agreed to program the works.

    Cheers!

    Dave


  • That is a unique combination - I've never heard that before - and a really good composition.  Also the performance is excellent.  You mention the "sanctity of the string quartet" - actually this is one of the things modern composers can do that would be unthinkable in Beethoven's day - creating a piece for such unusual but well-complimented instruments.  This is one approach that allows composers today - who live in a time already saturated with music - to do something truly new.  Interesting also how it is not merely timbral difference - this shows how the unusual texture can create new ideas that aren't quite like anything previous.


  • Thanks, William!

    You hit the nail on the head, in terms of finding ways to try new things in a world of abundance, although to quote a famous song, "It's all been done before..." 

    I just showed the piece to a percussionist today and he was excited by it, if not a bit daunted by the difficulty.  Hoping that in time it will get played, but if it doesn't, I'll always have my VSL version :)

    How goes the film score?

    Cheers!

    Dave


  • That's very significant when performers want your stuff.  That is the best.  

    The score I am doing is mostly finished.  I hit up the distributor of the last film to do a soundtrack album and they may be doing it!    The current film is one that I am trying to integrate the music and the images very closely.  I am using a very small number of instruments to match the "intimate" small scale of the film.  Also I decided to use the leitmotif approach to the score - even though my favorite Bernard Herrmann contradicted that style totally. Shocking!  

    However - I won't distract attention from your thread.  That is such a good piece you did and so unique in its scoring.  Another thing here on this Forum that makes me think hard about my own approach.  I think it is so important for composers today to be practical and get the attention of performers who want what they are doing.  That is what you are doing because you are a performer as well as composer and have the perspective of both.  That will benefit you immensely.   


  • Great to hear re. your film, William.  Hope you'll post info on how to view the film/listen to the soundtrack when it's available!

    As for live performance, while it rarely will live up to the technical precision of what we're able to achieve with our samples, it's a way to ensure the music doesn't just sit in cyberspace obscurity.  I mean, consider our very own forum...it's the same, small handful of us that continue to discuss new compositions, where once the initial fanfare dies down within a couple of days (if it gets any fanfare at all), leaves the piece to sit on someone's website, or music streaming service with zero "plays/buys".  At least with live performance, you have that interaction with an audience, that feeling that you shared in an experience together that is far more personal to me than simply seeing a counter online that shows 100 people listened (actually, very few even listen to more than a minute if we're lucky) with little to no comments (although, some individuals do enjoy commenting negatively simply to elevate themselves...another wonder of the internet age).  But I digress :)

    Happy Scoring!

    Dave


  • That is funny and so true about online music.  Live performance is still what drives musical expression, even though it is not necessarily superior as you pointed out.    I have had live performances that are simply horrific, even bad enough to make me think my composition was a piece of garbage.  Then I did a virtual performance and realized, "wait a minute!  that actually sounds o.k.!"  But still, getting people interested in actually playing your stuff is the main thing, no matter how you do it. 

    I sometimes think about the great analog synthesizer music like "Tubular Bells" or Morton Subotnick, etc.   No one but those guys will ever play that music even though it is really good.  But think of J.S. Bach who not only didn't record of course, but often didn't orchestrate or even specify instruments at all - and yet he is constantly being played all over the globe centuries after he died.  


  • last edited
    last edited

    @William said:

    I sometimes think about the great analog synthesizer music like "Tubular Bells" or Morton Subotnick, etc.   No one but those guys will ever play that music even though it is really good.  But think of J.S. Bach who not only didn't record of course, but often didn't orchestrate or even specify instruments at all - and yet he is constantly being played all over the globe centuries after he died.  

    True, but he suffered from apathy/indifference/disrespect too.  There were those who could care less about his musical abilities and only employed him to repair organs.  There was the post he got only because the "best" (Telemann) wasn't available.  

    There are too many great composers and musicians relegated to obscurity...my teacher, in the album notes for a CBC accordion recording, wrote that he considers himself like a chemist in a lab, in that the work of building a body of repertoire for a new concert instrument was generally unknown to the public, and often scoffed at by fellow musicians who knew little about the possibilities of the instrument.  It's only when you have that "breakout moment" that a career can go from nothing to something, and then all of a sudden, people start heaping the praise.  You're no better than you were, your music is no more "genius" than it was, it's just that once a few important voices say you're someone special, everyone starts to believe it. 

    Historically speaking though, I don't think any of the "giants of musical history" are undeservedly recognized, even though some would suggest certain composers are overrated...I do shut down though when I see a person on another forum suggest that Mozart's a joke compared to Scriabin.  No...Mozart is different than Scriabin.  They both warrant praise for their brilliance, and while one may speak to you more than the other, to dismiss a titan like Mozart is plain stupidity (and yes, that individual has never posted anything to showcase their "genius.")


  • last edited
    last edited

    That's a good point about Bach. Especially in his older years as he started to be looked down on as someone old-fashioned and out of it. Which is absurd today but in his own time would have been just as depressing.

    Telemann was considered the best probably because of his insanely huge productivity. He wrote music like other people breathe air. Though he did do a lot of great pieces. For some odd reason I played a lot of them in brass quintet and brass choir. Seaking of insane productivity - I often think of how people are impressed by a rock band like the Rolling Stones with 34 or so albums. "Wow, those guys are the ultimate!" Take a look at Mozart Complete Works in one box. This was someone who died at 35. Sorry - I m also digressing!


  • We may have digressed, but it was interesting, and helped me to forget how little interest there is in my piece :) Cheers! Dave

  • Hi Dave,

    Sorry to be so late with my comment, but I was in hospital for 4 days because of an acute gall bladder inflammation and gallstones. The whole lot had to be removed urgently...

    So back to the Quartet and Marimba. A strange combination? I wouldn't say so. During the stone age of virtual music, I wrote a number of so called classical pieces with marimba en strings, even with other strange or 'unusual' instruments for the musical "The Wise Tomcat". So I'm very pleased that you did it again and the instruments do fit marvellously together, contrasting at some passages, but evenso completing each on other spots. The sonic neutrality of the marimba opens so many possibilities. The only limitation is its overall volume, but in modern music this is hardly an issue anymore. In any case, in your work it is perfect as it is and you've captured its own specific sound to mix it into the ensemble as if it were always created for that purpose: so natural and losely integrated without losing its apart playing style. That again is a master trick of yours. The playing technique is a challenge for the performer, but not impossible and it serves the composition very well (nothing searched, far fetched or exaggerated).

    Dave, another brilliant feather on your musical hat!

    Jos


  • last edited
    last edited

    @Jos Wylin said:

    Hi Dave, Sorry to be so late with my comment, but I was in hospital for 4 days because of an acute gall bladder inflammation and gallstones. The whole lot had to be removed urgently... So back to the Quartet and Marimba. A strange combination? I wouldn't say so. During the stone age of virtual music, I wrote a number of so called classical pieces with marimba en strings, even with other strange or 'unusual' instruments for the musical "The Wise Tomcat". So I'm very pleased that you did it again and the instruments do fit marvellously together, contrasting at some passages, but evenso completing each on other spots. The sonic neutrality of the marimba opens so many possibilities. The only limitation is its overall volume, but in modern music this is hardly an issue anymore. In any case, in your work it is perfect as it is and you've captured its own specific sound to mix it into the ensemble as if it were always created for that purpose: so natural and losely integrated without losing its apart playing style. That again is a master trick of yours. The playing technique is a challenge for the performer, but not impossible and it serves the composition very well (nothing searched, far fetched or exaggerated). Dave, another brilliant feather on your musical hat! Jos
    Jos, Far more important than music, is your health, and we wish you a speedy and full recovery from your ordeal. Take it easy and rest well in the coming weeks. Thank you for offering such positive words about this piece. I am very appreciative of your expertise and insight, and always look forward to your thoughts. Be well! Dave

  • PaulP Paul moved this topic from Orchestration & Composition on