Scoring for Theremin and Orchestra - Initial Thoughts

Posted: 6/5/2015 10:50:06 AM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

I've decided to write a piece in the vein of Britten's "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" - only centered on theremin. Will have all the traditional instruments (sampled of course) of the orchestra play with the theremin (my new Wavefront Classic) and also each orchestral section. I think this will be very instructive for me and hopefully others.

This should take me a while and keep me out of trouble. I'll possibly post excerpts as I write it here to keep this discussion relevant.


Posted: 6/5/2015 12:10:16 PM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

Ravel's "Pavane pour une infante défunte" (Pavane for a dead princess) was written in 1899 when the composer was studying with with his teacher, Gabriel Fauré. The title of the composition was a simple play on the two French words "infante défunte" (in English, "defunct infanta" = dead princess). No one would ever actually say "infante défunte" in French, any more than we would say "defunct infanta" in English. It's a joke!

It turned out to be one of Ravel's most haunting and enduring melodies.

Posted: 6/6/2015 5:01:29 PM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

And it looks like Faure's Pavane was written in the 1880s. I wonder if Ravel wrote his in deference to Faure.

So perhaps I should not have said "great Pavane's of the 20th Century" - but nevertheless they are both iconic.

And I should have included Morton Gould's Pavane (from "American Symphonette No. 2 - 1938), which is another well known example (but quite different from the Ravel & Faure pieces). 

Actually surprisingly few really famous Pavans/Pavanes/Pavannes written in the past 300 years.

However, none of these have that much in common to my ear with the original form written by Byrd and others in the later Renaissance. In truth, almost any stately dance in 4/4 might qualify these days.

You must be logged in to post a reply. Please log in or register for a new account.