ASO (Day 59/365)

This life of glamor I lead is eating into my orchestration time. Last night I went to the Atlanta Symphony (accompanied by the lovely Marc). They played Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, and it was gorgeous. They also did VW’s Symphony No. 5, which was a bit of a muddle. But mostly they did Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor,” and it was stupendous.

These days I find myself using concerts as quick lessons in orchestration: how’d that effect work? What about that combination? Don’t forget that texture. And so forth.

Last night, the scoring technique that jumped out most at me was the use of muted strings in the scherzo of the VW 5th. Very subtle effect, and I’m thinking it’s one I need to try when it comes time to orchestrate “Milky Way.” If I don’t forget.

One thought on “ASO (Day 59/365)

  1. I wonder what the notation for muted strings is.

    It’d be nice if there was no established notation and you could just write: “do that mute thing here” or “if you know how to mute, please do” or “how bout some muting” or “please mute; check your manual for instructions.”

    I don’t know why I’m trying to make this so amusing. And failing. I guess I’m thinking about how a composer has to do a certain amount of serious partying with serious musicians to be privy to all the mysteries of extended technique, otherwise you are exposed as a fumbling autodidact.

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