This project, a tone poem for chamber orchestra, is delivered here a bit differently. Since the project itself is a longer form, it took a longer time to complete. In addition, it is only one movement. The links above reflect change over time, rather than separate movements as was the case with other of my compositions.

The Composition

Concept. September is the traditional end of summer, at a relaxed, serene pace. It is also the start of many human activities such as school, harvest time, and the commerce associated with the coming holiday seasons. These two ideas, and the transition between them, are reflected (at least in the abstract) in the design and implementation of the musical ideas. This is in keeping with the general form of a “tone poem,” of which there are many rich examples in 19th and 20th Century music, and beyond.

Music. In addition, the word “September” is based on the Latin septem– — the number seven in that language. The two major themes in the work are written in 7/4 and 7/8 time signatures, respectively. These signatures are unusual in music, providing an implied moving forward as they are, perhaps, “incomplete” (not the usual 4 or 8 beat lengths). In terms of harmony, this is probably the most tonal of my works so far, since it is based in a major key. But, as always, tonal centers change quickly and jarringly. More about that in the pages to come.

Instrumentation. As my first foray into orchestral composition, the work leverages a small, chamber-style orchestra with strings, woodwinds (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon), some brass (French horn and trumpet) and minor percussion (timpani).

Final Project. I am eliciting the help of several family photographers in the selection and ordering of images associated with the concept. It is my hope that a video leveraging these images, with the composition as the soundtrack, will be one of two videos produced as a final display of the work. (The other, of course, will be my traditional score video.)

The Delivery.

As stated above, I have provided a snapshot of the composition across its various stages of development. The links above will all be to pages which reflect a level of completion at a specific moment in time. The last link has the final video, with notes. The results are “blog-like,” but more formal.

The hoped-for result is a narrative of the process of writing a composition. I’m very much a “process” guy, so chronicling these things was instructive to me as I worked. Each page has specifics on theme creation, variation, selection of instruments, even workflow and ideas as they happened. Some of the writing is theoretical, some is conceptual, others just fun. As followers, you have the ability to look over my shoulder as I work. I hope that will be insightful and entertaining.

Go to Chapter 1: Themes