We’ve arrived! Yes, there may be small changes, but this rendering of the tone poem “September” is pretty much in its final form. Coming tweaks may include some minor voicing changes, but mostly a clean-up of the manuscript itself. [Use this page rather than the link in YouTube, as this page will always display the latest version of this work. YouTube doesn’t allow replacing video content, only delete/new, so a link directly there will most certainly go dead as I remove older versions.]

Here are a few notes about the final composition, including some references to previous remarks.

  • Overall structure: The piece is now in 3 parts…
    1. The opening thematic area is in 7/4 time — slow and ponderous.
    2. The second, quicker (7/8) thematic area takes several ideas, all derivatives of the opening theme, and gradually develops them in an ever-changing instrumental context.
    3. A return and full statement of the original theme in its original time signature (7/4) is slightly extended to a natural fade closing the piece.
  • Tonality: I hung onto the original concept, cycling through three major keys (E♭ Major, to B Major, to G Major) for the entire composition. The results provide a harmonic feel which helps to unify things nicely. As mentioned, the initial thematic statements beginning Sections 1 and 2 cycle quickly, but the changes come less rapidly as things develop. But there is never anything like a “chord progression” common to most tonal compositions — just a cycling of tonal centers reflecting this simple underpinning.
  • Rhythm: Besides providing a strange but oddly familiar style to the entire piece, rhythmic thematic material based on 7 beats serve serious duty throughout as part of the structure’s building blocks. Although I toyed with the possibility of adding other percussion, I settled on the timpani’s unique ability to provide rhythmic color embedded in the tonal centers of the piece, and abandoned more instruments. (Besides, I had enough to learn!)
  • Themes: As mentioned previously, you would be well advised to listen to the specific thematic statements I sketched out in Chapter 3: Theme Details. With those things in your ears, you could do a scavenger hunt for them as you listen to the entire work. Besides being (potentially) fun, this’ll give you some hints as to how a composer takes very small ideas and builds big objects with them.

Go to September home page