My luck holds with Blake Leads a Walk on the Milky Way. Tonight I got another 18 measures orchestrated, and although I think I still have some polishing to do, what I have is still fine. (I’m not ready to post it as an mp3, however.)
One thing I’m learning is to hold back my resources. I remember reading (in several places) that Schumann would never trust his winds to hold the line on their own and consequently muddied his textures unnecessarily by doubling them with the strings. I’m afraid I suffer from his fears. But as I listen to symphonic music these days, I pay particular attention to those times when the woodwinds especially are holding down the fort all on their own, and I try to force myself to use them as they were meant to be used.
I think I’ve been successful in that passage which follows the line “and I fear we will finish it old,” m. 31-34. I’ve sprinkled that melodic line all the way down the woodwinds section before picking back up with the strings at the end. It sounds like real music.
In fact, this represents progress on a problem that has been facing me since I finished Milky Way: how to orchestrate the nearly constant sixteenth note passages that drive most of the piece. I knew I would have to find ways to vary who’s playing them, or it would be insanely boring if not outright grating. Up to this passage, it’s just been the celli, which is fine, since it establishes the themes. But from here on out it’s got to be shared amongst the rest of the orchestra.