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It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!
Yeah I am Maxwell Janis. I wrote most of these pieces years back, and have just now been getting around to posting them. I am in the process of sending in some of my work to some unsolicited publishing companies. But I am wavering on that a bit. I want to see how people react to the music first before I make that decision.
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Well, I've listened to the Waltz and the Aire so far, and I think these are truly wonderful pieces. I can honestly say that I've never heard anything quite like the Waltz before. It almost has New Age sensibilities, but without the mawkishness and transparent desire to relax its listener that plague that type of music. (Obviously this is all in my rather overstated opinion.) The Aire was also fascinating. Really beautiful. It sometimes reminded me of Conlon Nancarrow at his calmer moments. I'd think there would be a market for this kind of thing (although the Waltz sounds very hard to play).
Also, beautiful playing. Are you at the piano?
I look forward to listening to more. I see you've got a fair amount up on youtube.
past: Schubert Bb Impromptu present: Chopin 1st Ballade future: Rachmaninoff B minor Prelude; Liszt 11th Hungarian Rhapsody
Thank you for your encouraging comments. I am the one at the piano. The pieces are quite a challenge to play. since you have been to the YouTube page, I would encourage you to become a subscriber. There will be more additions in the near future, since I have only uploaded a small amount of the repertoire on YouTube.
I really enjoyed 90% of the waltz. The octaves at the end are a significant change in the character of the piece. It seems as if you were trying to find a way to further heighten the drama, but for me they don't work. I would look for register changes and consider a soft ending.
The Adagio is simply wonderful as is the Aire. I especially like the harmonic ambiguity of the Aire. The imitation in the Aire and runs at the end are especially nice touches.
So all in all very fine work, but if it was me I'd rethink the end of the Waltz.
Thank you for your critique Steve. I think I agree with you completely on your assessment of the Scarborough waltz. Infact I think you like it more than I do. That ending was diffinatly a challenge to over come. But I think I have some Ideas about how to improve it. That waltz is the fourth piece in a set of Six or Seven pieces from Op.16 (Scarborough Pieces) and its the one that I have had the most issues with I don't plan on trying to publish that set for a while though, so this will give me a chance to improve the ending quite a bit.
I'm very glad to meet another composer in PW. There's not too many of us here, so...
Here are my (perhaps harsh) comments on your music.
First of all they are all quite nice, very competent writing and piano playing (this is you playing? Cause it sounded a bit mechanical...).
Your harmonic progression is wonderful in most instances! The melodic movement as well.
However, I did find that all the works had rather similar tendencies (for example the triplets in most cases, your habit of going for 3/4 time signature in most cases, etc). It's not necessarily "bad" in any case, but it feels that something else would be needed. Of course if these works are part of a whole, then perhaps it will be there.
The aesthetics are quite romantic in most cases, but with enough variation and changes that creates a great end result.
Finally, a word about the scores I saw on youtube. On the first valse you posted, there was quite a few errors in paging, etc. for example in the second to last page, the last system has 1 single bar, and then the same thing happens on the last page. You will need to correct all these issues before you send out anything to any publishing house.
Other than that best of luck with it and I'm hoping to listen to more stuff from you.
Loc: Worcester, UK
I haven't listened to them all yet, but I just wanted to chime in with the general chorus of approval. So far, I particularly enjoyed the Aire.
Originally Posted By: "Nikolas"
You will need to correct all these issues before you send out anything to any publishing house.
Not so - any publishing house will always lay the score out again anyway, according to their preferences. So long as the score is clearly legible, which it is, any such layout issues would make no difference at all. Put it like this - if they are still prepared to accept handwritten submissions (which most are, afaik) then a large bar at the end of a computer-notated piece is unlikely to be a deal breaker.
Ben, it really depends on the particular publishing house. Plus you need to remember that these are hard times. If the composer hasn't been paying attention to such details (yes details, but it's not tiny really), perhaps it's not a deal breaker, but it is something that the experienced eye will catch. Plus having to relay the scores (or even worst copy them from manuscript) means more work for the publishing house and thus more costly.
If something can be fixed, with minimal effort, why not do it?
Thank you for your words of advise. I have also noticed that a lot of the work that has been uploaded are in 3/4 time or have triplets. I didn't notice this at first, Thanks for pointing this out. Like I said earlier, most of these pieces come from larger works. The Scarborough pieces however I believe are all in triple meter. In the Commentary for the Scarborough Pieces (Which I haven't Uploaded) It Identifies the all of the Pieces as being in triple meter. There are a lot of other works that are not in triple meter (I might upload these later on)
On the Issue of the Scores, I am planning to fix those at some point in the future when I have some more time. I don't plan on trying to publish the Scarborough Pieces any time too soon so I'll have time to fix the scores. and maybe rework the ending of that first Waltz.
These are excellent pieces - I'm especially enjoying the harmonies you're using, I know that's vague but I can't think of anything more constructive to say. I'm looking forward to hearing more of your work.
Thank you for your comments Mirior. To answer a question That was asked earlier about the recordings sounding a bit mechanical. I think the reason it seems that way is because: A. the Recordings were done through a midi connection between the piano and the computer B.As you can see, some of the pieces are difficult to play in one sitting, so I would do several takes of chunks of the music, then put them together in a program Like Cubase (Its a bit more technical than that) C. There was a bit of editing that had to take place after this, and my computer isn't quite that great, so that might be taking away from the performance as well.
Apart from that the recordings are genuine, However some of the more quite ones were recored in one take such as the Aria (Aire). You should be able to tell when you listen to them I hope.
A Small section of the Second Sonata final Movement.
If anyone wants to hear the rest of the Sonata, you can let me know. It's a pretty taxing work (Just over half an hour in length) and could take a while to upload to YouTube. Listening to the rest of the Sonata would give more perspective on the structures of what you have heard so far (Motif and Secondary/Ternary Themes and Harmonic progressions etc....)
I am not sure if I understand what you are saying. Are you saying that the music is too classy to comment on or that it isn't classy at all or that a few are? You are right about the adagio, it does have a bit of a nocturne feel to it in many parts. Anyway, thanks for the comments.