The Biggest Orchestral Composition I've Ever Written - "Commencement Overture" - (Original Orchestral Composition)(Draft 2)

in #music3 years ago (edited)

Hello everyone! Towards the beginning of summer, I posted the first draft of what I have been calling the "Commencement Overture" which I am writing in preparation for my class' graduation in June of 2020 view that post here. I noted in that article that it was only a draft and I intended to make additions and revisions. This is the next draft. Since that draft, I have added several large scale components including a four part fugue in the development as well as the school Alma mater accompanied by the orchestra. I now believe that I have gotten a skeletal design of the structure, so it won't vary much from here in terms of structure (I don't have much flexibility there considering I am at 8 minutes and 20 seconds already). Anyway, here is the piece. Following it, I will discuss its components (both reviewing the old components and discussing the new ones).


Here, I will discuss the general components of this piece split into 4 subsections:

The Exposition

The exposition begins in g minor, introducing the syncopated ostinato which will remain prevalent throughout the overture (as well as the Alma mater). Fun little fact, I was inspired by Mozart's Piano Concerto no. 20 in d minor I wrote that ostinat (the big difference between his use of it and mine being the use of the tie at the end of the bar). For the theme on top of this ostinato, I drew influence from Mozart's Symphony no. 40 in g minor (though the resemblance is slight if at all). For the transition, I incorporated a transitional theme in the relative major's parallel minor (a concept which I learned from Beethoven's Pathetiqué Sonata). The second theme/closing now utilizes a vibraphone to more thoroughly highlight sections. I also incorporated a French horn and Clarinet solo. Following this section comes the development.

The Development

The development begins with a sequence based on my school's Alma mater which leads from C major to an explosion in b minor of several motifs from the exposition. This is then sequenced. This is then succeeded by a sequence based on the material from theme 2 leading to a minor. At this a minor section, I utilize the ostinato (combined with motifs from the exposition) with a chromatic descent in the bass which ultimately arrives at a g minor section with an offset bass line leading to an arrival on the V of Bb (F). Here, I go into a fugue utilizing a combination of materials from theme 2 and the transitional theme. Here is a video analysis of the development's fugue:

After this, I repeat the offset bass line section (playing with soft strong beats and loud weak beats). After this, I transition to e minor for the recapitulation.

The Recapitulation

The recapitulation sees a return of the ostinato in e minor fronted mainly by the saxes and horns. The Violins and Violas play the primary theme (in e minor), and then the transition occurs (much quicker than the exposition) and utilizes different instrumentation. The transitional theme now occurs in g minor and uses different instrumentation but serves pretty much the same purposes as the exposition's transitional theme. The second theme now is augmented and heavily played by the brass. After this, there is a contrupuntal coda which leads to a dominant seventh of C major. At this point, the timpani transitions us into the Alma mater.

The Alma Mater

For those who are unaware, my school's Alma Mater was written by Samuel Barber for an a cappella choir. I added an orchestral accompaniment, utilizing some of the base ideas from the overture. For example, the cellos and basses often play the ostinato, and the low brass often comes in with the ascending arpeggio motif. Obviously, I tried my best to expand upon Barber's already quite expansive ideas within the Alma Mater. Here is an analysis I did of the Alma Mater several years back:

Here are the lyrics (both verses):

Rustin High, to thee our Alma Mater
Praises we sing, and pledge our love anew
Lessons of life, and truth to us impart
Knowledge to serve to each a loyal heart.
Sing then a song, unto our colors bold.
Rustin High, the Blue and the Gold!

So may we strife, that when life's dawn is past,
Mindful of the, and loving the last.
We shall have lived the virtues thou hast taught.
We shall have found the victory we sought.
Sing then a song, unto our colors bold.
Rustin High, the Blue and the Gold!


I obviously will have to make revisions in the coming months based on balance. I also got a ton of suggestions from my theory teacher tonight, so I intend to implement some of those. But, overall, this is the first "complete" draft. I hope you enjoyed it!


Thanks for reading/listening to this! Please remember that feedback is always greatly appreciated! Hopefully I will see you next time!

(Note) In order to encourage meaningful feedback on the platform, I will check comment trails of users who leave superficial comments (ie "Awesome post," or "Upvoted.") and will mute any users who exhibit a pattern of leaving "spammy" comments.


Impressive! It's always a touch weird to hear it with computer generated sounds, but it sounds pretty decent! Hope you get to have a real orchestra play it soon!

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