Cody Sosko

Adventus

 

Program Notes

 

This piece was composed for the Philadelphia Classical Orchestra and Partners in Distance Learning Young Composers project, which was an opportunity for students in grades six through twelve to compose an original fanfare; mine is called Adventus (arrival in Latin). The piece uses a standard medium of a small brass ensemble to accomplish its goal of announcing the arrival of some one or something important like most fanfares did. The exact specifications of the composition are: two trumpets, one trombone, one French horn, one tuba, one tubular bells, and one timpani. The melody almost sounds baroque (which was the idea), and it mixes modern influences like a commonly used drumbeat played on the timpani. In future works, I would like to mix old and new by using modern rhythms that people would recognize from contemporary music, and old aspects of melody, along with modern tonality (or lack thereof) to truly combine multiple aspects of the chronology of music.

When composing Adventus, my main priority was to keep things simple and then build from there. This was accomplished by keeping my motives small and by building upon a small theme. The entire group seldom played in unison and really stayed in groups that played in a call and response type manner. The trumpets first introduce the melody, and then the French horn and trombone echo the melody later on. The Timpani actually plays frequently to give the music a sense of motion and to exemplify the rhythmic patterns. All instruments had something close to the melody at one time or another, except for the tuba that played almost all harmony and having only one quick run toward the end of the piece. The most important part, was that of the tube bells which exemplified strong tonal moments and really made a clear goal of identifying the tonality, modality, and key of the music while also enriching strong rhythmic points.

One criticism I have of my work was that too much time was taken during its composition, which resulted in a loss of unity and really made no powerful theme present or repeated. However the theme I did have was monotonous at points and needed to be varied in order to create the needed variety. The biggest improvement that could have been made, was the lack of dynamics, articulation, and any other form of communicating exactly how the music should have been played. This was found out during the Brass Bonanza concert in which I could hardly hear the piece (whereas it was supposed to be loud) due to me never writing in an increase in volume; I assumed the players would know. However, this serves as a learning opportunity and I will be sure not to make that mistake again in the future.

All things aside, this was a fun composition with a lot of work in it. Adventus afforded me the option of the brass ensemble for musical composition, and I could not be happier being given this opportunity. I just wish I would have written in the dynamics so I could hear it played.

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