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Compromises

I'm about to publish a (yet another) version of Debussy's Girl with the Flaxen Hair. I've arranged this piece for tuba quartet, brass quintet (2 versions), brass septet, brass nonet, the Denver Brass instrumentation of 422.12, Boulder Brass 423.11, large brass ensemble 443.11, and now this version 444.12. Unless I'm forgetting one, that's 9 versions for brass. After I finished the most recent iteration, in a moment of self reflection (or loathing, if you wish), I wondered "why can't I leave this alone?" The answer is a little more interesting than boredom or just being out of ideas (which, I will admit is a growing concern). Here's my premise: When a human being has an original thought, it i

Wheat or chaff?

A great brass ensemble can make any arrangement sound good to great. A great arrangement can make any brass ensemble sound good to great. These are the false positive results to which I have previously referred. In other words, there is a whole lot of chaff that is passing off as wheat.

Palette

I'll admit that I'm a movie music nerd and a fan of the usual suspects (Williams, Horner, Howard, Zimmer, etc.). Some others on the less beaten path are Harry Gregson Williams, Alexandre Desplatt, and Thomas Newman. Getting to the point - one of the many things that these composers are all really good at is choosing an instrumental color palette for a film. The latter 3 in the list above are all really good at that. But Hans Zimmer has developed a knack as well. The music from the Sherlock Holmes films, for example, is almost instantly recognizable because of the instruments Zimmer chose to feature, almost as a distinct character in the film. The other day, a new track popped up in my stream

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