Monday, October 27, 2014

Townsend: Symphony No. 3

I completed my Symphony No. 3 the other day so I have created a clip of it to post here. The piece is a little over twenty-one minutes long and is in four movements:
  1. Moderato - Prestissimo
  2. Adagio cantabile
  3. Allegro risoluto
  4. Grave - Moderato - Allegro deciso - Grave - Moderato
Here is the first page of the score, so you can see the instrumentation:

I think I like it the best of the three so far. But I was stumped as to what images to put in the clip. So I'm afraid they are a bit random! There are some photos from a recent trip to Mexico City and the Museo Soumaya there which had an exhibit of 20th century sculpture. There are a couple of photos of Mexico City around my hotel. A couple of photos of me earlier in my career and now, working in my studio. And there are some photos of nature taken here in Mexico. One photo from a trip to British Columbia. Basically, these are just photos of my environment. The last movement is all one photo I particularly liked, taken just a few days ago. It is a photo of a church and associated convent called Las Monjas.

I am no photographer, of course! The music is the important thing and these photos are just intended to be mildly amusing while you listen.

I hope you enjoy the piece. In order to be able to post it here, I had to compress it quite a lot, so the quality of sound is not the best. I apologize. This is a synthesized audio file from Finale and in its original format, sounds not bad.

UPDATE: As soon as I posted this I realized that I forgot to mention a couple of things: don't be put off by the percussion chaos at the beginning. It doesn't last long and is meant to set up the ethereal chord that follows. This symphony is for the largest orchestra I have written for so far: I added piccolo and tuba to the usual winds. There is also a hefty percussion section, though I think that on consultation with a percussionist I should be able to consolidate the parts into three players. I think there is both more lyricism in this than my previous symphonies and also, in the last movement, more of a "groove". Again, I hope you enjoy it!

UPPERDATE: A friend tells me she can't get this clip to play. Anyone else have the same problem?


Nathan Shirley said...

I'm usually not a huge fan of minimalism, but the spots of minimalism here and there are definitely my favorite parts of this piece- nicely handled.

Bryan Townsend said...

Thanks so much Nathan! I guess I use minimalist passages as a kind of Alberti bass for the 21st century.

Rickard Dahl said...

1st movement: Interesting use of percussion and nice contrasts. Reminds me a bit of Shostakovich. Somewhat unexpected ending though.

2nd movement: Very lyrical and nice mood.

3rd movement: I suppose it's a scherzo. Interesting use of the instruments. Nice "punchy" bits.

4th movement: The "groovy" part is possibly the best part of the symphony. Nice work.

Overall it's very nice. Are you working on your next symphony yet?

Bryan Townsend said...

Thanks for the comments! Much appreciated. I wrote three symphonies last year and started a fourth. But I felt the need to really break new ground and so I have not been working on it for a while. What I am doing is a lot of listening and trying to decide where I want to go with the new symphony. I have explored some of the moods and textures that I was wanting to, but now I want to strike out in a new direction.