Koti Jaddu’s submission to the Young Composer Score call reads right out of a book of preludes; it has a distinct feel of Bach, Vivaldi, and other baroque composers that pairs fugue-like passages with more distilled, smoother, almost popular chord progressions that keep it fresh and enjoyable:

Jaddu_1Jaddu_2Jaddu_3Jaddu_4

As you can hear, the MIDI realization sounds like a performance (I assume the composer performed it into a digital audio workstation or other program).  The combination of the score and the performance help us understand the piece as one full of rich counterpoint and well-measured form/structure.

The score is very bare-bones, much like a typical prelude, but since we have limitless possibilities and opportunities today with notation, I would encourage the composer to write in phrasing marks, breaths, dynamics, and stress/tenuto markings so that any player can realize this piece the same way as the recording.

It seems that much of the work is played from memory or primarily from the composer’s head, as the variances between the score and the rubato playing are not marked in the score.  One of the hardest elements of composing is getting the music completely out of your head and onto paper, so the performer can find out just exactly what is in your head.  This enables them to realize the work.  For example, expressive text can help create mood and humanize one’s work.

Nice work with the counterpoint and lilting style of the latter sections.  The composer clearly has an ear for harmony and contrasting/intersecting lines of melody.  As next steps, I would consider attempting similar, but more recent, settings of this type of music.  For example:

  1. Charles Ives, Piano Sonata No. 2 (“Concord”), Mvt. III. The Alcotts – this is a breathtaking movement in this sonata, and captures both rich color and dark sonorities.
  2. Liszt, Mephisto Waltz No. 1 S. 514 – a piano favorite, it incorporates programmatic elements (eg. the devil tuning his instrument), the use of dissonance, and the use of melody over and in between chords.  This may be a next step for the composer, to incorporate more melody in between the harmony instead of on top and below the harmony.
  3. Aaron Copland, Symphony No. 3 – I would encourage the composer to think about their piano music “orchestrally”.  Perhaps the composer can make piano reductions and orchestrate them for sting quartet, string orchestra, and then full orchestra.

I’ve talked for too long.  What are your thoughts?  Leave a comment below!

Happy composing,

Dan