The Gods of Old are Silent, on Lord Byron’s poem

For a long time I wanted to compose a choral work with English lyrics but related to Greece. Among the first things there was Lord Byron’s philhellenism that came to my mind, and after searching I found one of his poems, a passage which is practically unknown. It looks rather like an unfinished draft, but the more I was reading it, the more impact it had on me. At once, this rough but yet genius fragment had given to me what I was seeking for: a retrospective view where great Greek mythology, history and spirit of freedom would be condensed just in few lines. Thus I’d made my choice. The choral song is easy to perform, it has only two choral parts (soprano-alto and tenor-bass). The flute pastoral solo (reference to ‘the mighty Pan’) had been added to the classical chorus+piano ensemble as an option.

Structure and technique

The song is in C major, Con moto e narrante. The lyrics are Lord Byron’s passage from his unfinished poem ‘Aristomenes’ written in Cephalonia island in September 1823, shortly after his arriving to Greece to help the Greek people in the liberation:

The Gods of old are silent on the shore.
Since the great Pan expired, and through the roar
Of the Ionian waters broke a dread
Voice which proclaimed “the Mighty Pan is dead.”
How much died with him! false or true—the dream
Was beautiful which peopled every stream
With more than finny tenants, and adorned
The woods and waters with coy nymphs that scorned
Pursuing Deities, or in the embrace
Of gods brought forth the high heroic race
Whose names are on the hills and o’er the seas.

The musical form is free and reflects the text. Natural modes have been chosen as the appropriate for the solemn, epic character of the piece. The phrases are evenly distributed between female and male voices to provide the easiness of singing of choral texture, and that makes the work suitable for amateur singers (while the piano and the flute parts should be considered of intermediate level of difficulty).

Performance notes

The performance is expected to move in moderate tempo and strict, stable rhythm. The flute part is optional and can be omitted.

Date of composing March 2017

Genre choral song for mixed 2-parts chorus, piano and flute

Language English

Style Neo-Romantic

Duration [2’20”]

Level of difficulty beginner or amateur chorus

Copyrights music: © 2017 Natalia Pispini; George Gordon Byron’s poem ‘Aristomenes’ from public domain (https://en.wikisource.org)

Look at the score sample

Listen to the MIDI-rendering on YouTube

Purchase the escore on Etsy 

Purchase the escore on Sheetmusicplus

This work had its first performance on June 24, 2017, in Orestiada, Greece. read more…

 

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…the only lily…

The only lily

This lily pond in a botanical garden in Kuala-Lumpur (Malaysia), probably, was not so bright in the season we had visited it: dry and dying plants, lots of duckweed, reflected grey-coated sky and unclean and humid air around… Yet the pond was very attractive. There were few water flowers left, pure beauty, whose pale white heads stayed obscured and almost unnoticed. Since I am an amateur in photography, I could not make any better photo, anyway it is one of my favorite image from our Malaysian collection. As for music, in my current improvisation I tried to follow that rather gloomy atmosphere and an indistinct beauty somewhere there. I chose a mysterious sound of a woodwinds ensemble, chromatic scale and partially parallel and synchronized motion of ’empty’ intervals.

Title …the only lily…

Genre improvisation (live playing on MIDI-keyboard)

Tasks woodwinds; chromatic scale, fourths / fifths / tritone intervals; expression of gloom and obscured beauty

Duration [3’00]

Date of creating May 15, 2017

Copyright © 2017 Natalia Pispini

(Raw score is available on demand. Also you can order a music of similar style from Natalia)

Watch on YouTube

…eventide will come…

Eventide will come

Sunny day on a beach in the Gulf… So noisy, busy and shiny all day long, and suddenly getting quiet by the evening… And before the evening there was an hour or so when you could sense this turning to the slow mood. I was fascinated by those slight changes… Playing this music, I thought of the moment when our thoughts are calming down and we feel that happiness  of the being itself, no matter what is around. For that expression I chose simple major scale and slow change of bases of harmonies (pedal points).

Title …eventide will come…

Genre improvisation (live playing on MIDI-keyboard)

Tasks piano; major scale, pedal points; expression of calming down and happiness

Duration [2’40]

Date of creating May 8, 2017

Copyright © 2017 Natalia Pispini; CC BY-NC license (for non-commercial use)

(Raw score is available on demand. You can order similar style music from Natalia)

Watch on YouTube

Transparent Green

TransparentGreen_image

All about spring…

This music was composed right before my completion the course ‘Survey of Music Technology’ in Coursera (Georgia Tech University) in winter 2016/2017. I was eager to test new opportunities which come with EarSketch sound library and sound processing effects in DAW Reaper. My previously composed choral piece ‘The First Dandelion‘ was used here as stretched ‘back-sound’, and some more ‘spring’ sounds were added from the library.

Title Transparent Green

Genre contemporary electronic

Duration [6’36”]

Date of creating December 2016

Copyright © 2016 Natalia Pispini

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Wind, don’t take me away!

20160315_170538

Composed as an assignment  when taking Coursera course ‘Survey of Music Technology’ (Georgia Tech) (in winter 2016-2017), that was my first attempt to make something not in classical but in popular manner. The style here could be described as a mixture of  ‘funk’ and ‘ambient’… I included ethnic instruments sounds, natural sounds from EarSketch sound library… There are two moments which are personally remarkable for me in this music: 1) I used the live recording I have made in Kuwait, on the stony seashore during a stormy weather. The track is incorporated into the composition in a form of regularly distributed short fragments (so the stormy wind would sound in rhythm). 2) It was written in EarSketch API, with Python code, and that was a real challenge for me since I am not an IT specialist. Although it is not very clear when listening, the initial and the final parts of this music are based on stochastic functions (and that was the point of programming, otherwise you could do the same work, or even better, in DAW).

Listen to the track on SoundCloud