Hymn to the Vanished, a Comparison

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This track is the original version for string orchestra performed by SONYC (String Orchestra of  New York City).

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This is the complete recording of the clarinet and piano version:

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First off, the clarinet version uses a faster tempo, otherwise, by the time the clarinet finished a phrase the soft piano chords would have faded away as we discovered in rehearsal. The faster tempo also helps with endurance. Even at this tempo, endurance became an issue around the 6:20 mark. Another sonic difference due to replacing a body of strings with a piano is the piano makes the work rhythmic. In the original, the only rhythmic element is the double bass’ two-note figure that is always present but in the distance. By combining the sustained chords with the two-note figure, the piano part becomes more rhythmic than harmonic, and I feel Jeff Abell’s comment on Facebook about the new version being “…a bit like Messiaen’s “Louange à l’immortalité de Jésus,” without the Catholicism.”  addresses the resulting new texture. It isn’t, therefore, the numerous melodic tri-tones that reminds one of the Messiaen piece but the now very present  two-note motive. What I miss in the clarinet version that peaks through the hazy sustained chords of the original is the references to bluesy chords (there are also melodic lines that reference blue notes)  and Ivesian type string chords. But as I mentioned in my previous post, the trade off is intimacy for resonance.

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About Mark Gustavson

I am a composer of unconventional music.
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