THIS COMPOSITION WON 1ST PLACE AWARD FOR THE QUEST FOR THE CROWN CONTEST! (Best orchestral/classical composition)
This is a conceptual miniature orchestral suite. The setting of this piece is during the final moments of the United States Civil War of 1861 from the perspective of the Southern Confederacy. The suite is comprised of four sections that represent a different scene.
Download the package here if you want the separated tracks AND A PDF OF THE FULL ORCHESTRAL SCORE (SHEET MUSIC, NOTATION): www.matthewpablo.com/arch ives/new-orchestralcinema tic-music-11-5-12
Sections by time of the track:
@0:00 - I. Homestead - An empty war-torn small plantation has only one occupant; A lonely and tired wife fearing for the life of her husband who went to fight in the war.
@1:13 - II. A Divided Nation - An intense battle between the Union and the Confederacy takes place. The south is forced to surrender and the husband of the lonely wife is captured and taken prisoner.
@2:35 - III. Escape - The prisoner makes a daring move to escape his captivity from the Union.
@3:29 - IV. A Southern Miracle - The southern wife begins to accept that her husband will never come back, but then unexpectedly in the distance her husband appears from the horizon to finally return home.
Some compositional notes:
Remember, this is a time period piece with a specific setting, so I tried to create some some musical ideas that emulate southern violin and guitar music. Open 5ths and lots of portamento seemed to be the best way to give this orchestral piece some southern flavor. I ended this section with your basic VI - VII chord progression. A common chord change you will find in many modern film scores. In this first section you will hear first appearance of the motif you will throughout the rest of the piece.
II. A divided Nation
This is your basic "action movie" sequence music. Low string ostinatos, syncopated hits with loud brass and drums to add for suspenseful and action-packed phrases. There are actually some significant tempo changes here from 116 BPM to 142 BPM. I have made sure that if this were to be performed live, that there isn't anything going on rhythmically where the tempo changes. Yes it's just a sequence, but I like to write music keeping in mind that real players may play this some day. There are some ornamental elements in the trumpets and xylophone similar to what you would hear in scores from John Williams, particularly in many of the Star Wars films. There is a lot of effective use of "call and response" here in the phrasing. The french horn would finish a phrase and another section would respond with another, but in the same musical context. I did choose to keep this section and the entire piece in one tonal center to keep it a little more simplified, and to sustain cohesiveness of the different sections.
Low string pedals and very soft snare drums adds some quiet, secretive and suspense moments to depict an escape of a captured prisoner of war. Some tonal elements were the use of the diminished 5th in the melody and in the harmony as well. The clashing minor 2nd creates a lot of tension even though it is played quietly and only between two sections
IV. A Southern Miracle
The scene goes back to the first section, but a little different. The reprise of this section shows that even after all of the other sections, nothing has changed at back at home. The orchestra swells from the V7 chord into the "romantic embrace" scene using a great chord progression for a love theme: [Eb --> I - vi6-4 - I - IVma7 - Vsus4 - V] There are also fragments of the motif that is heard through out just slightly re-organized in pitch: [C Bb G] Short and sweet but it makes its mark throughout the piece as a prominent motivic figure. The last cadence out features some modal interchange chords borrowing from the parallel of Eb: [Cbma7 Db Eb(9)].