Here's a little treat. Back in 2014 I was still focusing my career as a commercial composer and working behind the scenes rather than putting myself in the spotlight. I'll delve into why that was the wrong path for me later (another post) but while building my portfolio I wrote a short Celtic reel for a full symphony orchestra in 2012 to show off my training in writing for large ensembles. This is what I came up with:
As you can tell, this sucks. First, it's a Celtic reel, but I used an ABAB form instead of the traditional AABB form. Not that big of a deal as there are reels that use ABAB out there. However, you'll notice just how short and repetitive this motif is. Each section is only eight measures long and it gets on the nerves quickly. There's also little to no thematic variation, just a few orchestral variations that don't do much for the melody or development. I have to say in hindsight, this was a disappointing end result (it was also written for a course so I had to meet certain criteria such as every instrument section in the orchestra had to be used, even though I wasn't keen on using brass for this sort of piece).
Normally, I'd let an old piece sit and forget it, moving forward in my writing. But I could hear something in this, something good that just needed more work. So, late last year I composed a proper B section for this piece and adapted it into a formal AABB song to meet the Celtic style. I then re-orchestrated the entire piece for winds and strings in a 14 piece ensemble with thematic variations. This eliminated the course required brass and percussion sections and allowed me to keep a traditional Irish feel and sound to the piece without distraction. This is the result of the rewrite:
I am now looking for players to help me premiere this in the near future and to help spread my love of the Irish folk music I grew up with in a contemporary classical environment. Please note that the audio from both of these is from Finale's playback, and the quality isn't commercial. I could fix this by replaying everything with Kontakt but the focus is on real people and real instruments to give this life.