Yeah I am Maxwell Janis. I wrote most of these pieces years back, and have just now been getting around to posting them. I am in the process of sending in some of my work to some unsolicited publishing companies. But I am wavering on that a bit. I want to see how people react to the music first before I make that decision.
Well, I've listened to the Waltz and the Aire so far, and I think these are truly wonderful pieces. I can honestly say that I've never heard anything quite like the Waltz before. It almost has New Age sensibilities, but without the mawkishness and transparent desire to relax its listener that plague that type of music. (Obviously this is all in my rather overstated opinion.) The Aire was also fascinating. Really beautiful. It sometimes reminded me of Conlon Nancarrow at his calmer moments. I'd think there would be a market for this kind of thing (although the Waltz sounds very hard to play).
Also, beautiful playing. Are you at the piano?
I look forward to listening to more. I see you've got a fair amount up on youtube.
Thank you for your encouraging comments. I am the one at the piano. The pieces are quite a challenge to play. since you have been to the YouTube page, I would encourage you to become a subscriber. There will be more additions in the near future, since I have only uploaded a small amount of the repertoire on YouTube.
I really enjoyed 90% of the waltz. The octaves at the end are a significant change in the character of the piece. It seems as if you were trying to find a way to further heighten the drama, but for me they don't work. I would look for register changes and consider a soft ending.
The Adagio is simply wonderful as is the Aire. I especially like the harmonic ambiguity of the Aire. The imitation in the Aire and runs at the end are especially nice touches.
So all in all very fine work, but if it was me I'd rethink the end of the Waltz.
Thank you for your critique Steve. I think I agree with you completely on your assessment of the Scarborough waltz. Infact I think you like it more than I do. That ending was diffinatly a challenge to over come. But I think I have some Ideas about how to improve it. That waltz is the fourth piece in a set of Six or Seven pieces from Op.16 (Scarborough Pieces) and its the one that I have had the most issues with I don't plan on trying to publish that set for a while though, so this will give me a chance to improve the ending quite a bit.
I'm very glad to meet another composer in PW. There's not too many of us here, so...
Here are my (perhaps harsh) comments on your music.
First of all they are all quite nice, very competent writing and piano playing (this is you playing? Cause it sounded a bit mechanical...).
Your harmonic progression is wonderful in most instances! The melodic movement as well.
However, I did find that all the works had rather similar tendencies (for example the triplets in most cases, your habit of going for 3/4 time signature in most cases, etc). It's not necessarily "bad" in any case, but it feels that something else would be needed. Of course if these works are part of a whole, then perhaps it will be there.
The aesthetics are quite romantic in most cases, but with enough variation and changes that creates a great end result.
Finally, a word about the scores I saw on youtube. On the first valse you posted, there was quite a few errors in paging, etc. for example in the second to last page, the last system has 1 single bar, and then the same thing happens on the last page. You will need to correct all these issues before you send out anything to any publishing house.
Other than that best of luck with it and I'm hoping to listen to more stuff from you.
I haven't listened to them all yet, but I just wanted to chime in with the general chorus of approval. So far, I particularly enjoyed the Aire.
Originally Posted by "Nikolas"
You will need to correct all these issues before you send out anything to any publishing house.
Not so - any publishing house will always lay the score out again anyway, according to their preferences. So long as the score is clearly legible, which it is, any such layout issues would make no difference at all. Put it like this - if they are still prepared to accept handwritten submissions (which most are, afaik) then a large bar at the end of a computer-notated piece is unlikely to be a deal breaker.
Ben, it really depends on the particular publishing house. Plus you need to remember that these are hard times. If the composer hasn't been paying attention to such details (yes details, but it's not tiny really), perhaps it's not a deal breaker, but it is something that the experienced eye will catch. Plus having to relay the scores (or even worst copy them from manuscript) means more work for the publishing house and thus more costly.
If something can be fixed, with minimal effort, why not do it?
Thank you for your words of advise. I have also noticed that a lot of the work that has been uploaded are in 3/4 time or have triplets. I didn't notice this at first, Thanks for pointing this out. Like I said earlier, most of these pieces come from larger works. The Scarborough pieces however I believe are all in triple meter. In the Commentary for the Scarborough Pieces (Which I haven't Uploaded) It Identifies the all of the Pieces as being in triple meter. There are a lot of other works that are not in triple meter (I might upload these later on)
On the Issue of the Scores, I am planning to fix those at some point in the future when I have some more time. I don't plan on trying to publish the Scarborough Pieces any time too soon so I'll have time to fix the scores. and maybe rework the ending of that first Waltz.
These are excellent pieces - I'm especially enjoying the harmonies you're using, I know that's vague but I can't think of anything more constructive to say. I'm looking forward to hearing more of your work.
Thank you for your comments Mirior. To answer a question That was asked earlier about the recordings sounding a bit mechanical. I think the reason it seems that way is because: A. the Recordings were done through a midi connection between the piano and the computer B.As you can see, some of the pieces are difficult to play in one sitting, so I would do several takes of chunks of the music, then put them together in a program Like Cubase (Its a bit more technical than that) C. There was a bit of editing that had to take place after this, and my computer isn't quite that great, so that might be taking away from the performance as well.
Apart from that the recordings are genuine, However some of the more quite ones were recored in one take such as the Aria (Aire). You should be able to tell when you listen to them I hope.
A Small section of the Second Sonata final Movement.
If anyone wants to hear the rest of the Sonata, you can let me know. It's a pretty taxing work (Just over half an hour in length) and could take a while to upload to YouTube. Listening to the rest of the Sonata would give more perspective on the structures of what you have heard so far (Motif and Secondary/Ternary Themes and Harmonic progressions etc....)
I am not sure if I understand what you are saying. Are you saying that the music is too classy to comment on or that it isn't classy at all or that a few are? You are right about the adagio, it does have a bit of a nocturne feel to it in many parts. Anyway, thanks for the comments.
You've probably heard this a lot before, Maxwell, but your music is honestly amazing. It deserves so so much more views on youtube. Have you tried publishing any of this music? This sonata immediately melted my heart. You seem to have a lot of influence from Debussy (maybe Scriabin as well? The start reminded me a lot of his Sonata no. 5 beginning) fit in the 21st century. What'd you think about when you made this piece?
Honesty, When I was in Fourth Grade, there was this Student in my Class Named Morgan, He brought his walk man to school one day and started playing this song on it. He then started to sing the song to him self, but it sounded nothing like the actual song on the walkman. The main theme from this Sonata is a variation of what he was singing to himself. I usually give the sonata's that I write a name. This one I called "Morgan", but I haven't put that in the title of the YouTube video yet.
Just listened to your entire "Morgan" Sonata -- a couple of comments about this composition and several others:
1 In general, I prefer your "up-tempo" efforts, my particular favorite being the "Scarborough Waltz". The slower, reflective material (which dominates in the Morgan Sonata) is for my taste too close to "cocktail noodling", although I have to admit your efforts are far better than that particular genre. Your playing and musical thinking is uncannily reminiscent of Bill Evans, but his reflective, introspective side - while beautiful - is too excruciatingly sad for me, particularly in large doses.
2 I don't relate to this music as a "sonata" -- I liked the 2nd movement the best, and I think the concept would be better served by turning some of the material into an extended one-movement Fantasy -- about 12-15 minutes long
3 Your thinking is ungodly virtuosic, although convincing throughout. You may want to think about having some mercy on lesser technical wizards such as myself.
Thank you Tim, for sharing your thoughts on the Pieces. I am quite glad that you noticed the Bill Evans influence in some of the pieces, most notably the Sonata. To be honest with you, I spent a lot of time listening to his live performance of My Foolish Heart, which gave me a lot of insight to writing the Third Movement of the Sonata. Speaking of the Third Movement of the Piece, when considering what sort of title goes to a piece, I don't usually have any convictions that lead to relating a piece to a name. What I do is relate the structure of a piece to a title. In this case. there are four movements. the first seems to follow a Modified form of Sonata Allegro form. the second movement is Slow. and the Third Movement (if you listen carfully)is actually a Minuet and Trio which leads into a Finale Rhapsody/Rondo Movement. However, if I understand you correctly, It isn't common to attach such a classical term as "Sonata" to a more modern sounding piece I have also though about this. In that regard I have considered some other approaches such as maybe writing a Jazz style Singing sort of (lady in the red dress sits on the piano with the spot light on her)piece. If not, I'll probably just do a Fantasy, or even a medium length Tone Poem based on these themes.
I think I agree with you on the level of virtuosity required for these pieces. It is just too much work. I remember being able to play most of these pieces when I first wrote them. But since it has been some years now (especially since I haven't played seriously in quite some time), when I go back to play them, I can hardly get past the first few measures. So I think that with the current evolution of my musical style, when I start up writing again, there will be a vast difference, and the Music will probably be technically simple-intermediate.
I'm a great fan of your work, you should get these published if they aren't already, you are a wonderful composer. I greatly enjoyed your comical impromptu, very animated piece, energetic and amusing to play and listen to. Your Grande Valse is brilliant, you have used some wonderful techniques in the composition, as well the variations throughout, very brilliant indeed. Where did you study composition and/or piano? (If you're not self taught?) I hope you keep up the inspiring work, looking forward to more...maybe a concerto. All best
Thanks for the Comments, I'll be working on getting the music published. Most of My music study came from the various music teachers and the Royal Conservatory. I have a lot of time now, so there might be a concerto in the works at some point.
The sound comes from the computer. I can't afford an orchestra performance at this point, Although one would be nice. There is a four or five min cadenza in there. So it really something like 14 minutes.
With the way this First Movement is set up You could Probably listen to it in five-six Minute Intervals. On YouTube I try to leave comments time links for those who don't want to listen from the beginning, yet have an idea of what is going on in the piece.
1st movement is 19 minutes?!?!?! yikes! (Promise to listen and comment later on, but...).
The first Movement is quite Long. I was planning on making this a four movement concerto With a second movement being a Menuet, Third as a Largo/Andante Movement, and then the Finale, but with almost 20 min taken up, I might have to either Cut out a movement, make a movement optional, or Shorten the lengths of some of the movements. I could possibly even shorten this movement, I just don't know where I would make the cuts. That's where maybe others thoughts might be helpful. In any regard, I am glad to receive any comments, criticisms, advise etc.....
I think that it's very very nice. It's in a highly romantic idiom, with some quite Rachmaninov-y lush movements on the strings... The orchestration is quite there already, and the piano writing is pleasantly solo-istic!
I've heard 1/3rd of the work so far, but I'll say that one thing that's missing for me is a faster part of the movement, something that picks up. I'm assuming that there will be something going faster later on in the movement, but right now it's already starting to be missing in my head...
Yup... highly romantic! Very romantic! There is a little movement going on, but it's in general a tad slow for my taste.
The following is personal: It somehow feels that you had so much romantic feelings inside that you couldn't hold them and you let it all out to 'choke' the audience with your 19 minutes of romantic music (or 14 without the cadenza)...
Still this is quite an achievement and I congratulate you fully for that! Very well done!
Yup... highly romantic! Very romantic! There is a little movement going on, but it's in general a tad slow for my taste. Still this is quite an achievement and I congratulate you fully for that! Very well done!
I found myself asking the same questions as I was writing this piece. Basically, "when does the allegro section come in"? I tried adding a semi-Allegro section at around 7 minutes,(Which also repeats right before the Cadenza) but before I knew it, I had written 19 min of music. I think What I might do is change my plans for this concerto a bit, and write a fast movement/scherzo instead of a traditional Slow movement as a 3rd movement, and I'll save those Ideas for another work.