I brought the printed out copy to rehearsal and I showed it briefly to a couple of friends. I guess I realized that I didn’t need to ask many questions anymore. I’m feeling comfortable with what I’ve learned so far, and I hope that a real orchestra will read it before too long. My contrabassist friend mentioned that they don’t really like solos, but I have this line that is letting them solo briefly in the piece. Well, they get to anyway.
This morning, I look through the printed copy. I make a mental note of a handful of things to take a closer look at. I noticed this part where the second violins cut out for two beats, and I was wondering if they should keep doubling the viola line right there, and decide to let them do that.
I also noticed that I had changed the pitch in the timpani sooner than I realized, and make a note for the timpani to change one of the pitches earlier in the piece. There is this fortissimo section, where the flutes were only at mezzoforte, so I give them fortissimo as well.
There was this place that looked unfinished. I had copied in a couple of string parts to the clarinets. And the second clarinet was playing higher than the first. That isn’t necessarily a problem, but it didn’t look right. So I went to work on that section. Now the first is playing higher, and I also added in some flute doublings, because they should be playing when it’s nearly tutti.
I look at the timpani some more. At first, I’m thinking, maybe I should add a fifth timpani to the mix. But that seems excessive, if it’s just for one note. So I work on the timpani part some more, and add in another tam-tam beat at the fortissimo section, and a triangle entrance that adds some zest.
I’m very pleased with the divisi violas from yesterday.
I can’t believe how hard it is to call it done. I feel like every time I look at it, I find another small problem with it. But I need to move on. It would be very fun to prepare the professional parts, with cues and everything. I know how helpful that must be for the timpani after 31 measures of rest, to know just what to listen for. It is for me as a violist, after a long rest, and I don’t usually get that many measures of rest. Sometimes there are no cue notes, and you have to infer from tempo changes, just count, or make notes yourself to know what to listen for.
So I go through it again. I’m second guessing the quick switch from snare drum to bass drum, and give the percussionist three more beats to switch. I decide to divide the violas one more time, just for a few notes, to make the string sound a little fuller, not so gaping between second violins and viola.
The competition I’m entering asks for program notes. So I take some time to describe what is happening in the movement. It’s pretty abstract, but I guess all this blogging about the orchestration and composition of this piece might have helped me know how to talk about what I’m doing.
That’s it for now. I’m not making any more changes unless an orchestra picks it up and there are obvious problems with something I wrote that I hadn’t addressed.