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#1977143 - 10/22/12 02:52 PM Giving Away My Royalty Right In Exchange For....
Joey Townley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/04
Posts: 242
Loc: Los Angeles
Some of you may know that I recently wrote a piano concerto that I have been trying to get performed.

Piano Concerto No. 2 in D minor Opus 2 (Opening) - Joe Townley

I've tried many avenues with no success. This next idea may be the product of too much time on my hands and too little to do but I'm going to throw it out there anyway:

Assuming the concerto has some commercial worth that just hasn't been discovered, is it too out-in-left-field to offer to give all my future royalties to any pianist willing to give the concerto a public performance? Remember, I'm just throwing ideas out there for advice, no matter how brainless or inane they may sound. Thanks to anyone for their feedback.

PS For those daring enough to venture a complete listening the full concerto can be found here:

Piano Concertos Composed By Joe Townley

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#1977504 - 10/23/12 09:39 AM Re: Giving Away My Royalty Right In Exchange For.... [Re: Joey Townley]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2629
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Joey,

You have ventured into the most difficult realm of composition getting a concerto performed. Simply put it's very difficult to get an 8 minute orchestral work performed. A symphony is far more difficult and a concerto is most difficult of all. The reason is economics, a concerto requires both an orchestra and a soloist.

Your concerto has some interesting ideas but the harmonic language is mid 19th century. It may be an excellent work but it will never be cool for an orchestra to perform it. There are many wonderful 19th century concertos that don't get performed. Ask yourself why an orchestra would invest in the rehearsal and concert time and similarly why would a concert pianist invest the time to learn and perform your concerto? If you can't come up with an answer that addresses the concerns of a symphony administrator (attract new audience, attract donors or prestige) then your piece will languish. Any soloist would have similar concerns. Good luck.

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#1977695 - 10/23/12 07:30 PM Re: Giving Away My Royalty Right In Exchange For.... [Re: Joey Townley]
Mark Nicol Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 34
Loc: South Australia
Dear Joe,

as a fellow composer I understand your problem. When I have time I will listen to your work, and you can email me on marknicol@live.com.au to discuss this with me if you like.

Mark Nicol.

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#1977762 - 10/23/12 10:07 PM Re: Giving Away My Royalty Rights In Exchange For.... [Re: Steve Chandler]
Joey Townley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/04
Posts: 242
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: Steve Chandler
Joey,

You have ventured into the most difficult realm of composition getting a concerto performed. Simply put it's very difficult to get an 8 minute orchestral work performed. A symphony is far more difficult and a concerto is most difficult of all. The reason is economics, a concerto requires both an orchestra and a soloist.

Your concerto has some interesting ideas but the harmonic language is mid 19th century. It may be an excellent work but it will never be cool for an orchestra to perform it. There are many wonderful 19th century concertos that don't get performed. Ask yourself why an orchestra would invest in the rehearsal and concert time and similarly why would a concert pianist invest the time to learn and perform your concerto? If you can't come up with an answer that addresses the concerns of a symphony administrator (attract new audience, attract donors or prestige) then your piece will languish. Any soloist would have similar concerns. Good luck.


I hear you, Steve. What I am up against (and I understand this completely) is prejudice against anything traditional. I've always had a different way of reasoning out a difficult situation such as this. It's nothing new for me. It's been a weakness for me my entire life. My way of thinking when I started all this was "if it is appealing they will come and listen to it." However, the correct way of viewing my predicament is "if it is traditional they will ignore it".

What I did not take into consideration, going into all this, is that compositions are judged not so much on worth as they are on some kind of historical aura and the story behind the composition. Rach's 2nd Concerto, if it were written by me today, would languish just like my own 2nd Concerto. Why is Rach's 2nd so frequently performed? It has a dramatic history and pedigree--Rach, probably the greatest pianist of the 20th century, composer of a concerto filled with so many good Romantic melodies they've made two or three hit songs out of them, suffers a nervous breakdown and writes a great concerto coming out of it. It's a story so good I'm shocked Hollywood hasn't made a movie out of it yet. If Rach had been like Christian Sinding for example, an unknown Swedish composer and he sat down one night just like I did and wrote it out and wasn't a pianist like I am not he'd likely never have gotten to first base with it. Rach's story is as magnetic as the music itself and 100 years later we're all as enthralled with the story of the concerto's genesis as we are with the music. Conversely, if I had been mistaken for a spy in Iran, arrested, put on trial for espionage, pulled off a dramatic escape out of Iran and gotten back to the US with vital intelligence my concerto would be an instant hit. In either case the music hasn't changed. Whatever worth it possessed as having been written by an unknown is exactly the same worth it had being the product of a James Bond-type spy, which is why it isn't the music so much as it is the story behind the music.

Long rant, I know, but I didn't come to realize all this until after I wrote both concertos and had numerous talks with musicians of varying success who agreed with my conclusions. So here I am, trying to figure out how to get it in front of an audience and you're right, Steve, I chose the worst kind of composition to write---one that takes a full orchestra and a piano soloist.

I have no trouble offering the rights from a financial POV. I have the resources to get it performed tomorrow. But I have made a promise to myself that I would not invest any substantial amount of money to do it. "That's cheating" so to speak and from a logical POV why on earth would I invest 50-75K just to get one performance and then have it forgotten the next day. The work either sinks or swims on its own merits, but since I don't need the royalties I figure they might be an inducement to a pianist to take it on. A pro could learn this concerto in a week--it's not difficult technically. The question I ask myself is "would he or she feel it was a small price to pay to essentially 'own' the concerto?" My thinking is likely naive, but as I said, I've had that problem all my life.

Originally Posted By: Mark Nicol
Dear Joe,

as a fellow composer I understand your problem. When I have time I will listen to your work, and you can email me on marknicol@live.com.au to discuss this with me if you like.

Mark Nicol.


Greatly appreciated, Mark. I saw your critique of my 1st Concerto on Youtube and I agree with you. I'll respond in greater detail at the YouTube website.


Edited by Joey Townley (10/23/12 10:57 PM)

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#1978426 - 10/25/12 10:01 AM Re: Giving Away My Royalty Rights In Exchange For.... [Re: Joey Townley]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2629
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Originally Posted By: Joey Townley

I hear you, Steve. What I am up against (and I understand this completely) is prejudice against anything traditional. I've always had a different way of reasoning out a difficult situation such as this. It's nothing new for me. It's been a weakness for me my entire life. My way of thinking when I started all this was "if it is appealing they will come and listen to it." However, the correct way of viewing my predicament is "if it is traditional they will ignore it".

What I did not take into consideration, going into all this, is that compositions are judged not so much on worth as they are on some kind of historical aura and the story behind the composition. Rach's 2nd Concerto, if it were written by me today, would languish just like my own 2nd Concerto. Why is Rach's 2nd so frequently performed? It has a dramatic history and pedigree--Rach, probably the greatest pianist of the 20th century, composer of a concerto filled with so many good Romantic melodies they've made two or three hit songs out of them, suffers a nervous breakdown and writes a great concerto coming out of it. It's a story so good I'm shocked Hollywood hasn't made a movie out of it yet. If Rach had been like Christian Sinding for example, an unknown Swedish composer and he sat down one night just like I did and wrote it out and wasn't a pianist like I am not he'd likely never have gotten to first base with it. Rach's story is as magnetic as the music itself and 100 years later we're all as enthralled with the story of the concerto's genesis as we are with the music. Conversely, if I had been mistaken for a spy in Iran, arrested, put on trial for espionage, pulled off a dramatic escape out of Iran and gotten back to the US with vital intelligence my concerto would be an instant hit. In either case the music hasn't changed. Whatever worth it possessed as having been written by an unknown is exactly the same worth it had being the product of a James Bond-type spy, which is why it isn't the music so much as it is the story behind the music.

It's good that you understand the situation, but I'm not sure if I completely agree with your statement "If it's traditional they will ignore it." Rachmaninov was viewed as a old fashioned in his time, but he had a soloist lined up (himself) and some reputation already as a performer so people were willing to at least hear his work. Yes, there was also a good story there, but his strength was in being willing to tell it and share that vulnerability. Think about it, at that time there was a stigma to having therapy, just as there is now. Being willing to show your vulnerability is a hallmark of an artist, indeed some can't be any other way.
Originally Posted By: Joey Townley

Long rant, I know, but I didn't come to realize all this until after I wrote both concertos and had numerous talks with musicians of varying success who agreed with my conclusions. So here I am, trying to figure out how to get it in front of an audience and you're right, Steve, I chose the worst kind of composition to write---one that takes a full orchestra and a piano soloist.

I have no trouble offering the rights from a financial POV. I have the resources to get it performed tomorrow. But I have made a promise to myself that I would not invest any substantial amount of money to do it. "That's cheating" so to speak and from a logical POV why on earth would I invest 50-75K just to get one performance and then have it forgotten the next day. The work either sinks or swims on its own merits, but since I don't need the royalties I figure they might be an inducement to a pianist to take it on. A pro could learn this concerto in a week--it's not difficult technically. The question I ask myself is "would he or she feel it was a small price to pay to essentially 'own' the concerto?" My thinking is likely naive, but as I said, I've had that problem all my life.

If I had 50-75K to invest in getting a concerto performed I'd seriously consider it, but only if I was completely confident that it was a world class work. In your case I think that may be putting the cart before the horse. I heard a lot of drama in your piece, but the only melodic aspect that I can remember was the swooping piano part. Maybe that's all there was to those first few minutes, but there should be more. Rachmaninov had lots of infectious melodies, so did Tchaikovsky, heck so did Stravinsky. For a traditional piece to be successful it has to have dense melodic content. That's what makes minimalism appealing, the constant and gradual transformation of melodies. However, if you combine melodic content with more adventurous harmonic content you have something that will appeal to both audiences and performers by increasing the coolness factor.

I think there are some things you can do now to prepare the way for presenting a finished concerto to your symphony. I assume you're already making donations, the question is at what level? What is your standing in your local music community? Do you participate in it by singing in a community choir (church choirs unless it's the biggest church in town may be too limited) or playing in a community orchestra? Are you an accompanist? This is how people get to know you.

Finally, remember Beethoven promoted his own concerts. There's nothing wrong in doing that if you can afford it. Just keep in mind that for a piece to be successful it has to combine aspects of everything I mentioned above, the story behind the piece, melodic and harmonic content (why would an orchestra want to play your piece?), your standing in your community and your support of it. If all that gets you a good recording then you have something you can shop to other orchestras for subsequent performances. Then maybe you won't have to give away your rights.

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#1978498 - 10/25/12 01:57 PM Re: Giving Away My Royalty Rights In Exchange For.... [Re: Steve Chandler]
Joey Townley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/04
Posts: 242
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: Steve Chandler

If I had 50-75K to invest in getting a concerto performed I'd seriously consider it, but only if I was completely confident that it was a world class work. In your case I think that may be putting the cart before the horse. I heard a lot of drama in your piece, but the only melodic aspect that I can remember was the swooping piano part. Maybe that's all there was to those first few minutes, but there should be more. Rachmaninov had lots of infectious melodies, so did Tchaikovsky, heck so did Stravinsky. For a traditional piece to be successful it has to have dense melodic content. That's what makes minimalism appealing, the constant and gradual transformation of melodies. However, if you combine melodic content with more adventurous harmonic content you have something that will appeal to both audiences and performers by increasing the coolness factor.

I think there are some things you can do now to prepare the way for presenting a finished concerto to your symphony. I assume you're already making donations, the question is at what level? What is your standing in your local music community? Do you participate in it by singing in a community choir (church choirs unless it's the biggest church in town may be too limited) or playing in a community orchestra? Are you an accompanist? This is how people get to know you.

Finally, remember Beethoven promoted his own concerts. There's nothing wrong in doing that if you can afford it. Just keep in mind that for a piece to be successful it has to combine aspects of everything I mentioned above, the story behind the piece, melodic and harmonic content (why would an orchestra want to play your piece?), your standing in your community and your support of it. If all that gets you a good recording then you have something you can shop to other orchestras for subsequent performances. Then maybe you won't have to give away your rights.



I do have the funds to invest. They're retirement funds, however, so that's why I won't touch them. I'm cognizant of the fact that the concerto is anathema just because it's a Romantic tradition piece. I had mentioned before that one local conductor of a pretty large orchestra turned it down despite my generous offer (this was before I decided against investing such a substantial sum) because it was more a matter of it being an embarrassing experience to premiere a Romantic warhorse than a matter of accepting the funds.

Hence, the realization that any large amount spent would be money down a hole despite what I personally think of the concerto's worth. Personally, I think it could stand alongside the MacDowell 2nd (which it is derived from). It actually is loaded with good melodies. But no concerto, even one as good as Rach's 3rd, could overcome the prejudice the powerful classical music industry lobby has against traditional music. Anything commissioned today, for appearance's sake, must sound like this:

Example of Modern Atonality

This is not a put-down of the composer's music. I admire what she does. But I question whether it will gain a foothold in the repertoire, or whether it will endure like the Beethoven Ninth.

That's where we are in classical music today. Composers must write in this atonal style to be recognized. Yet the bread-and-butter of any orchestra is the classics. So 90% of their programming is music the public is familiar with, while 10% is devoted to new premieres of ultra avant-garde that will be played once and then forgotten.

Against this impossible scenario I invest a ton of money to get something played just once. The masses would enjoy it while the music industry's Haute Couture would rail against it. A day later it's forgotten and I'm 75k poorer.

That's a roundabout way of explaining why I don't invest the money even though I believe in the concerto's worth. If it's destined to find an audience it will happen via Youtube. And if, perchance, I offer the royalty rights and nobody takes it up then the concerto is destined for what I call the "graveyard of Romantic piano concertos".

Thanks much for your generous feedback, Steve. Greatly Appreciated.

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#1978581 - 10/25/12 04:38 PM Re: Giving Away My Royalty Rights In Exchange For.... [Re: Joey Townley]
ScottM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/05
Posts: 549
Loc: Southern Oregon
There is a third path between very traditional tonal classical music and atonality. Atonality is still popular in some quarters, but has nothing like the overbearing sway it once had on composers. I personally never liked it much and pattern my music on a variety of styles rooted in tonality.

I disagree with your premise that commissioned works must sound like your example. My experience hearing such work is exactly the opposite. However, the quality of most modern works is mostly second rate. That's probably always been true.


Edited by ScottM (10/25/12 04:39 PM)
_________________________
Scott

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#1978636 - 10/25/12 07:31 PM Re: Giving Away My Royalty Rights In Exchange For.... [Re: ScottM]
Joey Townley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/04
Posts: 242
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: ScottM
There is a third path between very traditional tonal classical music and atonality. Atonality is still popular in some quarters, but has nothing like the overbearing sway it once had on composers. I personally never liked it much and pattern my music on a variety of styles rooted in tonality.

I disagree with your premise that commissioned works must sound like your example. My experience hearing such work is exactly the opposite. However, the quality of most modern works is mostly second rate. That's probably always been true.


My question is: has there been ANYTHING written in the last 50 years that brought the audience to their feet in a spontaneous burst of enthusiasm similar to what used to happen when the likes of Beethoven's Ninth, Mahler's Resurrection, and the 1812 Overture were premiered? If not, another question: Why? And are composers today even capable of composing something that can bring the audience to their feet? Certainly if they were they'd be doing so. But honestly I am not aware of a single instance where in the last 50 years a single work has entered the permanent repertoire alongside the Mahler Symphonies. Everything I've heard has, at best, been played a few times and then forgotten.

One has to ask why composers just don't have what it takes anymore to appeal to the public at large. I submit that avant-garde will never find an enduring audience, outside the music Intelligentsia and corporate sponsorhood, whose choice of music to premiere has more to do with politics than putting good music before the public.

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#1978712 - 10/26/12 12:07 AM Re: Giving Away My Royalty Rights In Exchange For.... [Re: Joey Townley]
ScottM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/05
Posts: 549
Loc: Southern Oregon
I don't know, but I would guess that somewhere in the lat 50 years there's been applause like you're describing. Standard repertoire changes from country to country, too. If you go to Finland there are works in the standard repertoire we don't see here. Many of them are fine works. Sallinen has written several works that are very popular. Listen to "Shadows", and you'll see it's not all serialism, even when it was written over 25 years ago.

There is a lot of trash written by composition professors and there still seems to be a strong bias toward hiring avant garde types, but I can't say what the real trend is there, since I am not at a university.
_________________________
Scott

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#1978725 - 10/26/12 12:57 AM Re: Giving Away My Royalty Rights In Exchange For.... [Re: ScottM]
Joey Townley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/04
Posts: 242
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: ScottM
I don't know, but I would guess that somewhere in the lat 50 years there's been applause like you're describing. Standard repertoire changes from country to country, too. If you go to Finland there are works in the standard repertoire we don't see here. Many of them are fine works. Sallinen has written several works that are very popular. Listen to "Shadows", and you'll see it's not all serialism, even when it was written over 25 years ago.

There is a lot of trash written by composition professors and there still seems to be a strong bias toward hiring avant garde types, but I can't say what the real trend is there, since I am not at a university.


I did listen to "Shadows". It IS in the vein of Sibelius--that dark, brooding Arctic cold that Sibelius captured so well. You may be right. The world has gotten so vast that no one composition will likely never become universal as everything up to about Shostakovich or Stravinsky has become. It seems composers of today are destined to be cult figures to a small but loyal group of followers. Ashley Wang's followers, I understand, simply refer to her as "The Wang" and no doubt they devour every piece she writes. The best hope a person (I don't think of myself as a composer) such as myself has is to get the concerto on CD's, which are perennial. As the generated version I have is near to perfect audio-wise it might behoove me to send a copy to a label such as Hyperion or some lesser one, offering them exclusive rights to any fees generated through sales in exchange for issuing it. That can be done at next to nothing cost-wise for a company. Any cleanup on the audio can be done in a few hours by a single technician for a concert-hall quality sound.

Sounds like I'm thinking out loud, I know, but your excellent commentary has put the idea in my head, which otherwise would never have occurred to me. Thank you much, Scott. thumb

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#1978748 - 10/26/12 02:11 AM Re: Giving Away My Royalty Rights In Exchange For.... [Re: Joey Townley]
Nikolas Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 4994
Loc: Europe
Joey,

If it was 30-40 years ago, I would agree that the world of classical music is a very strict place filled with dissonance, etc. But NOW it's nowhere near there anymore! You can listen to Scotts music (check for editions musica ferrum), or my music, or the composers in the rosters of EMF and check what kind of music gets published there.

Then check the likes of John Psaths (Greek living in NZ), and his amazing trio (No. 3 please) and see how tonal and amazing and fresh it sounds...

Point is that (forgive me for saying this) that you've taken the negative route in your mind: "My music won't be performed because it's like that". I'm afraid that this is an easy excuse.

The blunt truth is that, as I think I've said before, you're missing plenty of elements in the whole package, so it's not just the music. I'm ready to bet that if Hans Zimmer works on a very classical (Baroque even) concerto, he'll find tons of people to play it. If a working, active, published composer gets a concerto up, with an impressive track record before him, he may have chances of getting any concerto up (as long as it's good). Someone who is very young (aged 12) and works on a nice sounding concerto will also get exposure.

The question you need to ask yourself and reply very honestly is this:

* What will the performers earn from performing my concerto?

and then continue your questioning by asking yourself:

* What will it cost the performers to get it up?
* Is it worth the trouble?

and so on...
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#1978898 - 10/26/12 01:12 PM Re: Giving Away My Royalty Rights In Exchange For.... [Re: Joey Townley]
ScottM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/05
Posts: 549
Loc: Southern Oregon
Joey, I'm glad you took the time hear "Shadows". I think you got my point. I used to see just what you've been seeing until I started exploring lesser known repertoire and composers. Then I found that there was more diversity than I thought (and it's been getting better over the last 20 years), and actually, performance possibilities are not impossible, but it depends on the area of the earth you're looking at. For a big work like yours, it's difficult anywhere, but smaller pieces have a better chance (that's one reason you don't hear about many brand new symphonies).

But it's all possible, in theory. New operas get performed even today! And concertos.
_________________________
Scott

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#1979130 - 10/26/12 11:00 PM Re: Giving Away My Royalty Right In Exchange For.... [Re: Joey Townley]
Joey Townley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/04
Posts: 242
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Joey,

If it was 30-40 years ago, I would agree that the world of classical music is a very strict place filled with dissonance, etc. But NOW it's nowhere near there anymore! You can listen to Scotts music (check for editions musica ferrum), or my music, or the composers in the rosters of EMF and check what kind of music gets published there.

Then check the likes of John Psaths (Greek living in NZ), and his amazing trio (No. 3 please) and see how tonal and amazing and fresh it sounds...


After having checked your examples, Nikolas, I agree. I wasn't aware that tonality still had a foothold, though it appears to be more prevalent in foreign countries than here in the US where avant-garde rules.

I read your bio, Nikolas. I didn't realize you were that prominent a figure on the music scene. There ARE some success stories out there, thank God, or this would all seem so futile.

I wasn't successful tracking down the trio, though. It's not on your website or on YouTube or even under Google search.

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Point is that (forgive me for saying this) that you've taken the negative route in your mind: "My music won't be performed because it's like that". I'm afraid that this is an easy excuse.

The blunt truth is that, as I think I've said before, you're missing plenty of elements in the whole package, so it's not just the music. I'm ready to bet that if Hans Zimmer works on a very classical (Baroque even) concerto, he'll find tons of people to play it. If a working, active, published composer gets a concerto up, with an impressive track record before him, he may have chances of getting any concerto up (as long as it's good). Someone who is very young (aged 12) and works on a nice sounding concerto will also get exposure.


Probably true. I know I'm at the bottom rung of the ladder and all the thinking in the world that I've written a masterpiece does me absolutely no good if no one hears it.

Interesting thing is consciously (or unconsciously) I tried to play by all the rules i.e. give the listener exactly what I thought they were looking for--mysterious grandiose opening, romantic secondary and tertiary themes, a boffo development section packed with one-two punches, a recapitulation worthy of Brahms' stormy First Concerto and a tranquil ending that would do the MacDowell 2nd proud. The ending to the concerto is straight out of the Tchaikovsky 1st and Rach 2nd playbook:

Advance to 1:40

Ending Piano Concerto No 2--1st & 3rd Mov's

Now if that doesn't wind up a piano concerto in grand fashion I don't know what does.

Point being that, good or bad, right or wrong, I tried to give a listening public what I thought it wanted: a good alternative to having to listen to the Tchaikovsky 1st & Rach 2nd for the 10,000th time because there is nothing out there that I know of that comes close to doing it. And I've listened to about 1,000 unknown concertos on YouTube. Precious few fill the bill for good melodies and exciting conclusions. Whether mine does or not is for others to decide but personally I thought it did. Now I'm starting to have my doubts because as you pointed out, Nikolas, if it did somebody would have picked it up by now---at least picked up the last movement anyway.

But then being a Tchaikovsky doesn't guarantee everything will be a smashing success either. I mean look at his 2nd and 3rd piano concertos which rarely ever get played today. Frankly, take away the big opening tune of his 1st and all you've got is another 2nd. And I know that Hans Zimmer has a better shot because of his name, but a concerto would probably flop miserably because nobody, I think, takes film composers seriously as classical composers. John Williams doesn't seem to have had stupendous success with his serious works. Ernest Gold wrote one of the most famous tunes in movie history (Exodus) but his Piano Concerto, written when he was seventeen, was a failure even after he became famous because the N.Y. critics branded it "movie music"---what he called "the kiss of death" for a serious work. The concerto is on YouTube, by the way and is never played.

Originally Posted By: ScottM
Joey, I'm glad you took the time hear "Shadows". I think you got my point. I used to see just what you've been seeing until I started exploring lesser known repertoire and composers. Then I found that there was more diversity than I thought (and it's been getting better over the last 20 years), and actually, performance possibilities are not impossible, but it depends on the area of the earth you're looking at. For a big work like yours, it's difficult anywhere, but smaller pieces have a better chance (that's one reason you don't hear about many brand new symphonies).

But it's all possible, in theory. New operas get performed even today! And concertos.


Yeah, I've tried writing small, Scott---God knows it's a heck of a lot less trouble---but for some reason I just can't do it, I don't know why. My mind just keeps drawing these big symphonic multi-movement works. That's partly why I kinda gave up composing--too much work for an old codger like myself, endlessly clicking the mouse putting notes on a score and rewriting and rewriting. And it really only started out as a desire to fulfill a teen dream to write a piano concerto. So forty-five years later I fulfill it and now where do I go....... confused frown

Nice job on that Prelude V, by the way, Scott. I enjoyed it very much--a perfect blend of tonality with modern harmony. thumb

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#1979159 - 10/27/12 01:33 AM Re: Giving Away My Royalty Right In Exchange For.... [Re: Joey Townley]
Nikolas Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 4994
Loc: Europe
Joey,

first of all forgive me for not offering links. I was in a real hurry when I last posted.

Here's a link to where you can listen to John Psathas work: http://www.nzchambersoloists.com/listening-page.html It's the very last one (3 island dances, III).

Also thanks for the kind words!

There are many more composers who are not 'cutting edge', including people who are in the academia (Philip Cashian comes in mind. My former supervisor, who is now the head of composition in Royal Academy of Music in London. Great music, of various styles...).

The point you offer for film composers stand true. It's extremely difficult, if not impossible to cross over industries just like that. I'm also having my doubts about Zimmer, but Williams has had some sub-success on his concert hall works.

And, yes, Scott has done some excellent work on his preludes! ^_^
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#1979250 - 10/27/12 10:52 AM Re: Giving Away My Royalty Right In Exchange For.... [Re: Joey Townley]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2629
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Originally Posted By: Joey Townley

After having checked your examples, Nikolas, I agree. I wasn't aware that tonality still had a foothold, though it appears to be more prevalent in foreign countries than here in the US where avant-garde rules.

I read your bio, Nikolas. I didn't realize you were that prominent a figure on the music scene. There ARE some success stories out there, thank God, or this would all seem so futile.

How about Joan Tower, Jennifer Higdon, Eric Whitacre, John Adams, John Corigliano, Michael Daugherty, Morten Lauridsen, and many more that won't come to mind right at this moment?

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#1979260 - 10/27/12 11:36 AM Re: Giving Away My Royalty Right In Exchange For.... [Re: Joey Townley]
Numerian Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 1071
I've had a hard time in listening to your concerto getting past the computerized orchestration, which sounds like an organ or hurdy-gurdy. Would your money be better spent on hiring a very skilled electronic orchestrator/synthesizer who could create something close to an orchestral accompaniment? I think you discussed this once earlier and maybe there is no such thing as getting close to the sound of a real orchestra on computer. If you were able to accomplish this, you could post on YouTube and have something you could take to radios, orchestra management, and so on. Also, don't neglect the possibility of writing the concerto for chamber orchestra or chamber group accompaniment. That would be a lot cheaper to produce and give you more of a shot at having it performed in a satisfactory way.

As to the musical content, I still don't hear a melody that is very memorable. The melodies seem to get close, and they stay with you the more you listen to the piece, but at first hearing I think the melodic component won't be pulling the listener back for a second time. Harmonically, there is something not quite right either. It's not even middle to late Romantic harmony - it's just too simple and predictable.

Now here's the strong part of the composition. The whole package put together is rather compelling. You have a way of building up tension and releasing it that is quintessentially Romantic. It could be even more convincing with a recording that sounded the way you scored it and imagined it, because it is also possible that your ability at orchestration could be another strength. It's just hard to tell with the recording as it is. There are moments when you get hints of Bruckner in the music; it might even sound like Strauss or Mahler, if the harmonic treatment was much more complex.

The piano part, by the way, sounds appropriate for the music, which is actually another big plus. I get the feeling I am listening to a piano concerto from a composer who knows how to play the piano well and knows how to score the instrument properly when it is accompanying the orchestra, and at other times when it is in a solo mode.

I'd keep at it if I were you. I wouldn't fuss too much over the harmonic component; you should not suddenly change your style as that could begin to sound artificial. I was just giving you my take on what I would like to hear harmonically, but bear in mind the melodic element is even more important, and with the right orchestration, and with your architectural talents at putting it all together, the concerto could be very winning with the harmonies you use now.

P.S. I have to agree with others here that tonality is back big time in "classical music". Anyone who writes a concerto with the melodic excellence of Rachmaninoff's 2nd is going to have a hit on his or her hands eventually. There is also good cross-over between concert hall music and movie/television work. I especially like the compositions of Karl Jenkins, whose initial career was writing music for TV advertisements. Here he is presenting some beautiful melodies and delightful orchestration in a modern piece - In Paradisum. The text is the traditional 11th century chant of the Catholic Requiem Mass - pretty old fashioned I would say, even more so than a 19th century style piano concerto.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64DM6U5Zz-g


Edited by Numerian (10/27/12 11:55 AM)

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#1979349 - 10/27/12 05:09 PM Re: Giving Away My Royalty Right In Exchange For.... [Re: Joey Townley]
ScottM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/05
Posts: 549
Loc: Southern Oregon
Thanks for the nice words about my prelude, Joey. It's good to hear you liked it.
_________________________
Scott

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#1979518 - 10/28/12 02:21 AM Re: Giving Away My Royalty Rights In Exchange For.... [Re: Joey Townley]
Joey Townley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/04
Posts: 242
Loc: Los Angeles
And thanks to all who contributed. Wishing you all the best.

Joe Townley

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