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Idaho City Story (Complete Suite)



 Genre: Classical

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Idaho City Story
So, I wrote this thing. Now I am going to sit back, pretend it was written by some great composer, and provide my commentary.
Introduction: A lively, bright and exuberant introduction which introduces (as mostly fragments) the material that is used relentlessly throughout the piece. The primary theme is answered by a confused, but again, playful answer in the woodwinds. It ends, however, on a sort of familiar, mildly dissonant chord.
Andante (Pastoral): Again a somewhat lively reiteration of the introduction theme, but slower and now actually becoming real music. This initial theme is repeated, and at points, develops into a dizzying sensation of being pulled in both minor and major harmony at once. Then, it erupts into a more energetic section, which sort of disintegrates into some type of temporary ecstasy, followed by a quiet, reflective second subject. This second subject more or less plays itself out, and gently returns to the beginning theme. The movement ends on the bassoon quacking out a rather sour minor derivative of the motive from the beginning theme.
March: Lively Again! But almost a tad sinister in places. Yet grand as well.
Adagio: A special piece. A fragmented sounding theme with an eccentric melody, followed by a reiteration of the 2nd theme from the Andante, back and forth once, then developing in to an almost frustrated characterization, and a hopeless attempt to return to the original theme in an uncomfortable harmony, but in the end, we get back to the original theme, along with a more interesting counter-melody in the brass. It ends, serenely, and quietly, on a three syllable motif (played in the this case by the celesta).
A neurotic adaptation of the original introduction landing in ---->
The Finale:

Finally, the brass introduces the basis for the Finale in a noble, stately chorale. Variations of this and the andante themes recycle one another, until we arrive again in the Introduction. After exhausting the loudest repetitions of the initial theme in an gratifying frenzy, the piece lays itself to rest with this three syllable motif, accompanied by quiet, harmonically unsure woodwinds, repeats in the violins, and finally dies away in the cellos in unison, just barely audible.
Take my word for it,
It's quite a story.
Share away.
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Song Stats
Hits: 1922
Comments: 17
Fans: 11
Plays: 38
Downloads: 17
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Uploaded: Jan 07, 2015 - 03:16:27 AM
Last Updated: Jan 08, 2015 - 05:56:44 AM Last Played: Jul 26, 2019 - 04:52:52 AM
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Warren Smith said 1748 days ago (January 7th, 2015)
Congratulations on completing such an ambitious undertaking.

Its complexity demands multiple listenings to discern and appreciate its richness. The mood swings are marvelous, going back and forth between energetic brashness to contemplative quietude.

I'm glad you posted the entire five movements here so that I could take it all in at once using a single click.
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stviemr said 1748 days ago (January 7th, 2015)
Thanks Warren!
I'm not getting a huge ego from it, but it certainly was an incredible amount of work, and it is pretty neat to listen to the 34 minutes all together and note there is some degree of consistency. It's not Beethoven, but I've heard worse music. It's certainly got personality. I do love this little piece.
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H3nry said 1748 days ago (January 7th, 2015)
5 in 1
Ah, the whole enchilada! Thanks. Handier this way.
I like your suite, too. Nice contrasts between movements in a classic form.
Keep working on it when inspiration strikes, and it's OK to let it sit when your muse is elsewhere. But keep us updated.
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stviemr said 1748 days ago (January 8th, 2015)
I was thinking of selling this piece as sort of a parody (with a few serious undertones.) So, I've been trying to think of alternative titles (A good friend of mine is extremely good at this, so I hope he'll assist me.) I have come up with two so far, but I'll generate 30 by the end of the day. Feel free to contribute.

"Stravinsky assembles the sketches of Mahler's 10th symphony"

"1000 cliches in 34 minutes"

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H3nry said 1746 days ago (January 9th, 2015)
I appreciate the expanded description. Gives a glimpse at the composer's intent and intellectual process. Something I'm trying to develop, rather than just sitting down and noodling away hoping lightning strikes. :)
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stviemr said 1746 days ago (January 9th, 2015)
noodling around
Noodling around is essentially improvisation. All great composers were (for the most part) terrific improvisers. Composition could be described as harvesting the ideas that nature delivers to us through improvisation or where ever they come from, and trying to elaborate on them with at least a minimal degree of structure. Not that I'm an expert, Idaho City Story is but far the best thing I've written, and it barely passes as music. :) :.
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paul f. page said 1744 days ago (January 11th, 2015)
I'm coming back...
...tomorrow, and probably the day after, and the day after that...and I will write, hopefully, something that makes sense. Initially, though, I am trying to close my dropped jaw because this is so absolutely lovely in every way. I need to absorb what you have done here. It is such a superlative accomplishment...So, a little later. WOW!
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J.A.Stewart said 1744 days ago (January 12th, 2015)
You Could Have Fooled Me...
From the sound of it, I actually thought this was written by someone who knew what he was doing... then I read your *alternative titles* ;)

Actually Stephen, this is a wonderfully imaginative piece of music, with so many surprising and pleasing twists and turns... truly a pleasant musical adventure. You SHOULD be proud of this ambitious work. ;)

--- Joe
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bud said 1743 days ago (January 12th, 2015)
What a trip
really enjoying this piece - it has great energy and flow and is holding my attention and pulling me along in it's wake. What else can you ask for?
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paul f. page said 1742 days ago (January 13th, 2015)
I'm back
I've now listened to the entire suite a couple of times. It is a fascinating work that I found to be beautifully orchestrated and skillfully mixed. While there are a number themes that you develop (and do so carefully, diligently), that aspect of each movement is not what strikes me the most. Rather, it's the feeling you create with shifting harmony and layer upon layer of orchestra that, to me at least, is the most compelling musical element. With that notion, then, I can easily hear this (see this) as accompaniment to a broad pictorial or film montage, perhaps with narration, but maybe not. As a concert piece, I think there is too much sameness to sustain a concentrated 30 minute listen. Your work with strings is truly impressive and I'm curious as to what plugins you're using. ... Overall, this is such an impressive creation in every way and I am so pleased that you posted it here. (Oh, I hate to make comparisons that start, "This sounds like..." because that really does an injustice to the original work being presented. I did immediately think, though, of Stravinsky when I began listening. Please take that as a very high compliment.)
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stviemr said 1742 days ago (January 13th, 2015)
I'm not entirly sure what that means (forgive me, I'm a dinosaur) but what I use to render the orchestra sounds is a custom soundfont that I've worked on and tweaked for about 15 years. I can't publish it, because I'm not sure of the origin of all of the individual soundfonts (freely available at various websites), but the Strings and Percussion as well as most of the brass I purchased as an SF2 bank from Sonic Implants years ago. The bassoon was created (and is freely available) from Ethan Winer, and outstanding musician and friend of mine. Google "Ethan's Bassoon" and you should be able to find it. I don't use a DAW, VST, or any of that. I've spent about $70 on composition software and sounds since 2001.
Check out my latest song called Looking for feedback in the right places
stviemr said 1742 days ago (January 14th, 2015)
... or apology... (gotta love smart phones)

Paul when I first read your comments about "sameness," I thought, what is he talking about?! There's all kinds off variety to the piece! ... I responded in a few posts (in true 19th century juvenile fashion), which I, thankfully, deleted.

I've decided I'm going to treat this draft as a sketch, And improve the entire piece. I'll start again at the beginning And rework all six movements.

I'm going to discipline myself to make this my only project for the year, and refine it to the standards that it deserves, So, thanks Paul, you made me think.

Check out my latest song called Looking for feedback in the right places
paul f. page said 1742 days ago (January 14th, 2015)
Making you think...
Maybe you've misinterpreted the intent of my comment about "sameness." It might be the "color" ("colour") of orchestration and overall style of your writing v. new and independent melodic writing that strikes me as the prominent element in your marvelous suite. That is not to say that all the other elements aren't amazing in their own right, but rather, that the overall impression I experience focuses on the sound and not the melodies. I think that's why I feel a cinematic application would work in a more powerful way than a sit-down-and-list-to-this presentation. (Reworking for a year...draft sketch...??? I can tell you are not happy about my comment... or are you pulling my leg?)
And, you are a magician to have created and borrowed and retooled all your "instruments" from so many sources. I would have neither the patience nor the know-how. Amazing.
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stviemr said 1739 days ago (January 17th, 2015)
Hi Paul,
I now know exactly what you mean, and no, I'm not offended. (I just thought by sameness you were referring to a lack of contrast in the piece, which didn't make sense to me.) My very good friend, Keith Otis Edwards (also a macjammer)points out to me repeatedly that my pieces are formless and have no melody. I think that may be a little exaggerated, but I recognize that there is no strong melody / development of melody in this piece. I'm not sure why I like that. What I tried to do in many places was pass the melody around between voices and orchestrations (essentially lining up fragments of the melody occurring in sort of a contrapuntal order).

For some reason, I don't like melody to be obvious, probably to the detriment of my work, and I may be the only one who likes it. haha. :)

Thanks for your comments, Paul. You've not hurt my feelings, and your observation is on the mark and phrased quite politely. I do intend to re-write the piece as to help shimmy it into the classical domain and out of the evocative domain. Not that there's anything wrong with ambient or evocative.
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stviemr said 1737 days ago (January 19th, 2015)
he's probably right...
"It's not music"
- Keith Otis Edwards

I guess having good critics is a blessing.
Check out my latest song called Looking for feedback in the right places
drakonis said 1735 days ago (January 20th, 2015)
Stunning accomplishment, enjoyable listen
This is grand, in many ways to my ear... first of all, it is a very fun listen, even for this Haydn/Bach/Beethoven lover. And despite the fact that unlike you, I tend to really yearn for strong melodic content, I don't miss it here, your melodic fragments passed around to different sections and bouncing between ranges is a lot of fun. It does tend to feel more "cinematic/soundtrack-ish", evoking playful/thoughtful moods.

So, we will set aside the huge scope of writing such a grand piece for a moment... your technical touches, specifically your mixing and choices of sound fonts and dynamics and articulations really make this recording come alive and sound like a recording of a real performance. Wow, I am impressed! Bravo!

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stviemr said 1735 days ago (January 20th, 2015)
I agree
Yes, I realize this is not Claire de lune. I love it without the strong melody. The focus is on fun youthful, humorous moods. Texture, Lots of texture in there.
Check out my latest song called Looking for feedback in the right places
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