Home Music Articles Forums Blog Chat More...      

Tuscan Morning


by

Doug Somers

 Genre: Classical

Get Flash to see this player.

Description
It is April just after sunrise. The wooded hills are just starting to catch the first rays of the sun as it climbs over groves of olive that march down the slopes. Other leaves are not yet out, waiting for warmer days later in the month to burst forth their viridian life. The new sun glows weakly through the early morning haze as the pastel mist slowly rolls and plays with the trees on the hillsides. All around are the distant sounds of a new day as they soar across the waking valley.

I was very fortunate to spend time near Cortona Italy this April and to have the chance to do some composing on my laptop in the open air (a form of musical impressionism?). This is the first of a cycle of pieces that I wrote while in Italy or that are based on influences from that time. As time permits I hope to complete and release more music in this new collection.

I decided as I put this together that it felt right to keep this orchestration very small - almost like a chamber piece but not with 'stardard' instruments. I thought that various flavours of the environment could be well expressed by solo instruments that wove slowly around each other. I found a real challenge with finding a solo oboe or cor anglais that played well in legato. The JamPack instruments for these parts were pretty good but sounded electronic and a little shrill next to the other sampled orchestral samples (EWQL Play Symphonic Orchestra was used for most of the strings). The english horn from EWQL SO did not play the highest notes I had written for the line (the synth english horn from the Jam Pack does play higher) and the oboes from SO just didn't seem to play a believeable legato no matter what I did to them - even with legato samples and settings in Play. I found a French Oboe in my Kontakt samples and with a legato setting it seemed better, although I think a live performance in this line would be way better. Surprisingly, the clarinet and flute are quite good I think as they are, and they are from the Jam Pack. Go figure.

Thanks to Paul F. Page and Drakonis for many well considered comments on early in-progress versions of this work that I found to be so helpful in shaping it to what you hear today. Guys, I am most grateful for your ears, thoughts, time and of course the gifts of new music you give to all of us here at MJ.

This piece is dedicated with much deep affection to my wonderful coach Jill who always has been such an inspiration for moving me forward in artistic and other fulfilling pursuits.

This is also dedicated to Luigi and Stefania who were the most welcoming and gracious of hosts while we stayed at their villa. Grazie mille!!

I hope you enjoy a little slice of a quiet early April morning in Tuscany.

Doug
Leave a Comment
You must be registered and logged-in to comment.
Song Stats
Hits: 4461
Comments: 53
Fans: 28
Plays: 151
Downloads: 132
Votes: 4
Uploaded: May 25, 2009 - 02:26:16 PM
Last Updated: Aug 10, 2009 - 12:51:50 PM Last Played: Mar 05, 2019 - 06:37:45 PM
Song License
Creative Commons License:
Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial

Creative Commons

Song Actions
share on facebook share on twitter download song
Hardware:
MacBook Pro
Software:
GB '09
EWQL Symphonic Orchestra (Play)
Comments
Calchas said 3767 days ago (May 25th, 2009)
A treat...
...for the minds eye. In this piece the aural and the visual merge into a unified sensory experience. Sunrise in the countryside is wonderful pretty much anywhere in the world I'll wager.

A tremendous amount of work went into this, yet it doesn't sound cluttered at all.

Simply lovely Doug. Thanks for sharing this.

Be well friend!
Check out my latest song called CLING TO YOU
Doug Somers said 3767 days ago (May 25th, 2009)
Sunrises are gorgeous
Thanks for your gracious comments Mike - and glad you liked the open feeling to the music. Room for the breezes to blow through....

Cheers,
Doug
Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
LunaTrick said 3767 days ago (May 25th, 2009)
This is really fine work Doug...
The first thing that impresses me is your use of dynamics... especially in the strings, which is hard to do with software. The cello and viola voices are nicely done too... and I like the way the bell toll comes in with the woodwind motif. Reminds me a little bit of Vaughn Williams or Finzi... sort of an English pastorale feeling to it. Although the bird call towards the end recalls Resphigi too. A really satisfying piece... I am very impressed!
Check out my latest song called Luna Gypsy Heart II (Eternal Firelight)
Doug Somers said 3767 days ago (May 25th, 2009)
Nice to hear from you Daniel
I was thinking of you actually when I penned the cello part. I'm sure you could have us all enthralled were you to have played the line. Maybe another time?

Interesting you picked out Vaughn Williams and Resphigi - both of whom I admire greatly, and the former's music I have played. And just how do they do those complex bird calls and weave them into the music? Vivaldi is no slouch in that department either.

Many thanks for your kind thoughts on the composition!

Cheers,
Doug
Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
Moviz said 3767 days ago (May 25th, 2009)
So Beautiful
and descriptive of the scene you set above.... this is marvellous. I loved the discordant Church bell against the sweeping orchestral sounds.... the whole thing brings that air of early morning peace.... you'll have to do more of the 'Plein-Air' composing Doug, regards M

Check out my latest song called We'll Meet Again
Doug Somers said 3767 days ago (May 26th, 2009)
Plein Air!
It was quite different composing outdoors, but it is a bit like when I painted outdoors (pictures, not houses) in that the mood changes faster than you can capture it. Still, I was pretty happy with the results.

I took artistic license and simplified the church bells as there were at times quite a few going off, even early in the morning. They did have a wonderfully discordant quality that made the whole sound space come alive though.

All the best Maurice,
Doug


Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
Feter said 3767 days ago (May 25th, 2009)
Tuscan Morning
Indeed ..a well crafted canvas for a real master piece from Italy open air
to us here at MJ ..I can hear the upper flute as a real bird ..with all the
huge sound of nature ...what a remarkable way of writing ..this is just
incredible ..with feelings and approaching the sense of the mood you wanted
us to have ...thank you so very much for the gem !!!!
Check out my latest song called Roll with it
Doug Somers said 3767 days ago (May 26th, 2009)
Thank you Mr. McBlues!
I'm so glad you liked the open feel to the work. It makes it all the more worthwhile. Peace my friend,

Doug
Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
davisamerica said 3767 days ago (May 26th, 2009)
Doug ...
what a lovely early morning walk. The sound on this is crystal clear beauty. Doug ... deepest bows.
Check out my latest song called ok char2(Vic and Flatrock mix)
Doug Somers said 3766 days ago (May 26th, 2009)
And bows to you Jack
After your recent post I'm thinking that I should load up an iPhone and go off in the country side and make music.

So glad you enjoyed the piece. Thanks for your thoughts!
Cheers,
Doug
Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
TobinMueller said 3767 days ago (May 26th, 2009)
Light
Pastoral, unrushed, graceful change of colors, pre-dawn since of life-coming. It opens into both an internal and external light. Very nice.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Doug Somers said 3766 days ago (May 26th, 2009)
Light
Thanks for having a listen and sharing your positive comments Tobin. There is something magical about light, especially early morning and late evening. Colours are softer, warmer, and change more rapidly than during other parts of the day, and to me this is noticed 'outside' but also changes the quality of feeling 'inside'. I'm so glad this worked for you!

All the best,
Doug
Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
Reinholt56 said 3766 days ago (May 26th, 2009)
Hi Doug......
You must have really enjoyed the vacation and the surrounding where you were. It comes through really well in this beautiful piece of classical music. I can't wait for your other pieces to be presented here on Macjams.

The thought that has gone into the instruments is very evident as I listen.

Take care.

Paul

Check out my latest song called The Ups and Downs of Life
Doug Somers said 3766 days ago (May 26th, 2009)
I can't argue - it was a great time
I'm sure it did seep through into the music. Thanks for your kind thoughts Paul. I'm so glad that you enjoyed it.
Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
Bowman said 3766 days ago (May 26th, 2009)
A beautiful tapestry...
that's woven with delicate strands of subtle eathtones. Never forced, gently persuasive with a wonderful sense of time and place. I'm partial to the flute and your use of it here was just perfect.
Thanks for sharing this lovely Tuscan Sunrise with us Doug.
Cheers,
Charlie


Check out my latest song called THE LOST JEDI
Doug Somers said 3766 days ago (May 26th, 2009)
Your poetic commentary
is always a treat to read Charlie. Funny you mention the earthtones, as I found them everywhere - the buildings, the roads, the grasses, even reflected into the clouds. Maybe like with the terroir creating the wine, the earthtones seeped into the music.

Thanks for your supportive remarks!
Best always,
Doug
Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
Bubowski said 3766 days ago (May 26th, 2009)
Nice work
Love the subtle orchestration and the open harmonies. The introduction of the pizz strings is a nice touch, allowing for a transition to the feel of the piece but maintaining the overall color. Well done.
Check out my latest song called Yosemite Voices
Doug Somers said 3766 days ago (May 26th, 2009)
Ahh the pizz strings
In fact they were a solution to the melodic line changing in character and rhythm, since I didn't start on the downbeat at 2:41. I felt the transition to this form was too abrupt and so I thought that a pizz pluck on beat one would tide things over a bit. Since it seemed to work, I then backed up the pizz strings to enter earlier and lead up to this moment, as well as letting them play a bit afterword as well.

Glad you like it Graham. Thanks for your note!!
Cheers,
Doug


Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
Char said 3766 days ago (May 26th, 2009)
Oh yes,
this is full of awe and appreciation. What a wonderful piece of music. You are very gifted. Nice way to give back after being able to experience Italia. Thank you.
Check out my latest song called Bound, v2. w Music by Dirigent
Doug Somers said 3766 days ago (May 26th, 2009)
Thanks Char!!
After coming from your latest post - it's hot! - this is a bit of a snoozer :o) Thanks for your so very generous comments. Thanks for giving it a listen.

Keep well,
Doug
Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
drakonis said 3766 days ago (May 27th, 2009)
ask not how many times the bell tolls...
You addressed all the critiques I remember... the initial strings are now gorgeous with that subtle flow, excellent dynamics throughout actually, the oboe and flute are untangled, everything fits wonderfully. A very evocative piece, I can feel the warm morning sunlight breaking through the morning gloom and awakening the world with beauty and grace. Superb orchestration and attention to detail, and a sweet satisfying coda... ahhh. Tuscany, listening to this is the next best thing to being there. :-)
ttfn,
Drakonis
Check out my latest song called Miwok
Doug Somers said 3766 days ago (May 27th, 2009)
Hey Drak
Yes, the bell tolling was adjusted forward two hours, although the last clang is almost lost under the clarinet. It still amuses me that you noticed the original 4 tolls and found it too early, and that as I composed it I thought you might say that. Anyway, it still works well with the correct time! :o) Your point about the opening strings was right on too and not only did I pull back the volume but I used a better quality sample and I think it helped add the mist to the tonal atmosphere I was looking for. The oboe note you noticed being odd was in fact odd in pretty much all the samples I had - so I changed the note to another one that worked better. It still seems like the note is about to squeek though. A mystery.

Thanks again my friend - your well considered thoughts are always appreciated.

Doug
Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
lengold said 3766 days ago (May 27th, 2009)
Thank you
for such a lovely listen first thing in the morning. Mind you I feel like going back to bed again now.
Extremely accomplished.
Cheers
Len


Check out my latest song called Decent Girl
Doug Somers said 3766 days ago (May 27th, 2009)
Wow Len
High praise indeed! If you were relaxed enough to go back to bed then my work here is done... :o)

Keep well sir,
Doug
Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
Giusepppe said 3765 days ago (May 27th, 2009)
Great
Brilliant, it manages to create an atmosphere of the dawn
Check out my latest song called Feeling Sweet
Doug Somers said 3765 days ago (May 28th, 2009)
Welcome!
I'm glad that the impression of dawn worked for you. Thanks for having a listen and leaving your kind words.

Doug
Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
Roxylee said 3765 days ago (May 28th, 2009)
Beautiful....
I listened with headphones, first song of my morning. Wonderful....:-) Although I'm in my dining room in NY, not in Tuscany, the feelings evoked were the same as if I were. Doug, you painted such a sweet, delicate picture of sunrise over God's creation! I don't know how you find all the right instruments and fix all the notes to make it sound just right, but my ears appreciate it. Reading the liner notes was very interesting, too- I even learned a new vocabulary word. (viridian)
Check out my latest song called Emma, by davisamerica
Doug Somers said 3765 days ago (May 28th, 2009)
FIrst song of the morning - great timing!
I'm touched by your compliments and am encouraged that you could share a little of the Italian countryside in your home.

I am equally in awe of your singing and harmonies. How does she do that - the right emphasis, the timing, which notes of the chord to sing and in what inversion - I often wonder.

Many thanks Roxy - and keep well,
Doug

PS - Tomorrow's word: batholith
Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
Daugrin said 3763 days ago (May 29th, 2009)
Tuscan Morning
Dam it never sounded like this when I was there, I must have been across the tracks were the obvious tourists stay. It sounded like accordions and such, where is that? This stuff here on the other hand, now I don't have to go back there and look for this sound. If you say it was there I must believe you.
Contrats are in order, downloaded for further study...

Daugrin
Check out my latest song called Rachel's Blues
Doug Somers said 3763 days ago (May 29th, 2009)
Well as tempting as it was
to include an accordian track, I only heard one accordion on my whole trip, and I think it was played by a visiting band and dance troupe from Austria. Also, all the accordion players I know sleep in until well past 6 am, so their cheery tones don't grace this little tune. Maybe another of the Italian pieces will have them show up....

Thanks for the congrats and I hope you enjoy the download!

Be well,
Doug
Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
paul f. page said 3763 days ago (May 29th, 2009)
My two cents...
Doug,
I've just listened to your Tuscan Morning three times. My first, second, and third impressions are this: WONDERFUL!!! You have captured the feeling of the morning with exquisite details and a very judicious use of your "orchestra." I am particularly taken with two sections: about 2-1/2 mins. in, you have this marvelous little section where dissonance rules. The temptation might be to make this more soothing and naturally harmonic, but you provide a little tension there and I think it works really really well. And I love the clarinet coming in near the 3-1/2-4 minute mark. It is just about the perfect segue from everything that precedes it. Very nice... I do like the oboe solo breaking away from the whole, too, but I find the timbre of the plugin to be really strident. Digital woodwinds are hard to get right. You might try throwing in a little more bass and backing off on the treble on this one stop. The "idea" of the oboe is a smart one, though. If you have an oboe d'amore or even an English horn, that might do the trick even if played 8ba. At the very opening, I sort of felt like a little more "distance" from the strings and flute (?) would be more satisfyin,but s I listened again...and again, I've somewhat altered my opinion on this. I'm sort of thinking visually about this opening (and, indeed, the whole composition) and now find it to be "familiar" rather than "orchestral," and, so, the closeness I am feeling/hearing might be just fine. It's a "taste"sort of thing, I guess. ...

Doug, this is really an impressive little landscape that is carefully-considered and meticulously orchestrated without falling into the trap of over-orchestration. You use just a few elements awfully well and your skill as a composer and arranger are evident in every choice you make.
Check out my latest song called Caprice
Doug Somers said 3763 days ago (May 29th, 2009)
Paul, thank you so much for your careful listen
and your comments. Your preview and first round of suggestions were of great help to me as I was tweaking the sounds. Based on your feedback, I did actually change the oboe sample and eq, although it may still be a little shrill. There is a taste thing about how close the instruments are - as you said, the more I heard it the more I thought it was 'right'. And when I later tried playing with the space of the mix, when the instruments were in more of a hall ambiance, the intimacy of the images seemed diminished. Or I was just stuck in my original rut from repetition :o)

Many thanks Paul for letting me borrow your ears and considerable craft to polish this up. I am most grateful and glad that you enjoyed the results!

peace,
Doug
Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
kassia said 3763 days ago (May 29th, 2009)
a gentle breeze
what gorgeous harmonies. i love the way you have each instrument entering slowly and delicately, gradually building the layers of the beautiful piece. excellent use of the church bells. lovely use of the woodwinds, with accents from the strings. this is a wonderful little journey through a morning in the country. and I am thoroughly impressed with the quality of this recording using EWQL and GB. This solidifies my decision to get the EWQL software. Thank you for sharing this wonderful breath of fresh air with us!
Check out my latest song called Greensleeves
Doug Somers said 3763 days ago (May 30th, 2009)
Hi Kassia!
Thank you so much for the detailed and well considered comments. I was starting to wonder if in the slow entry of the various instruments this would get a) over simplistic and b) plodding. I kept wanting to add a sophisticated line from say the violas that played a countermelody with more complex rhythms but it never seemed to work out as being authentic to what I felt about the morning.

The EWQL is a great package, and I really like the Play interface, but it doesn't do everything as well as I would hope (like the solo legato oboe). Still, it seems to let more instruments to play at the same time and not get as muddy as the synth instruments when they're layered on. Also, JamPack instruments are really good for many purposes (like the clarinet here) and I often mix both. I also keep the jam packs on my laptop and the EWQL samples on a separate external drive. When I travel, I use the JamPacks and then sometimes change out the samples to use EWQL in the 'studio'. This often requires a rebalance of the mix but it is worth it for some instruments.

Thanks again!

Doug
Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
kassia said 3763 days ago (May 30th, 2009)
wow
thanks Doug, for that info about EWQL. it's exactly what i needed to hear. i've been debating about which software to buy in upgrading from the jam packs and your information here is very much appreciated. cool!
Check out my latest song called Greensleeves
alan_ said 3763 days ago (May 30th, 2009)
Doug
Tuscan Morning. If I could only use one word to describe this piece I'd use "Magnificent". Each time I listened was a joy and revelation. I am in awe of your talent to translate those things in your world that are beautiful and inspiring and bring them to us in a way that "We get it". Bravo.

Alan
Check out my latest song called It Can't Last
Doug Somers said 3762 days ago (May 31st, 2009)
I'm really struck by your remarks Alan
Thank you so much - I'm really glad that this translation of place and circumstances from me to the listener works for you. Making available and sharing the beauty I experience is important to me.

Many thanks again,
Doug
Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
bud said 3763 days ago (May 30th, 2009)
Your description totally transported me
the opening paragraph is pure poetry as is the music. You really did a fine job of capturing time and place. The bells are a nice touch - and I like the tension in some of the harmony - nature is complicated.
Check out my latest song called mixer 2
Doug Somers said 3762 days ago (May 31st, 2009)
Thanks Bud
Appreciate your comments on the poetic description as well as your kind thoughts about the music. I found one of the points of tension was the sun getting warmer and much brighter but still being stopped from bursting through by the swirling early morning mists. Nature is indeed complicated. It's probably what makes it so interesting.

Thanks again for having a listen!

Be well,
Doug
Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
mike_d said 3763 days ago (May 30th, 2009)
Wonderful!
I hate repeating comments already made, but I think you've done an outstanding job capturing the awakening day. Absolutely beautiful piece Doug!
Check out my latest song called Experimental Track
Doug Somers said 3761 days ago (May 31st, 2009)
Thanks muchly
I am so pleased that this transported you to the feeling of the day's awakening. Appreciate your kind remarks too!

Peace,
Doug
Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
VicDiesel said 3762 days ago (May 30th, 2009)
Mind over matter
So you have all this poetry in you, and then the samples refuse to cooperate....

In general I think you're doing a great job making this sound natural. The only place that really jarred was 1:10 where there is a very synthetic swell in the strings. But the cor anglais is lovely at that point. The final swell on the other hand, is decidedly, eh, swell...

Really good stuff.

Check out my latest song called Frippery
Doug Somers said 3761 days ago (May 31st, 2009)
Poetry
That's a nice way to phrase creativity. As to the swells, if I should re-work this I will look back at the samples as I think I can use a recorded swell for some of the shorter ones which might sound better. As with most things, I'm still finding my way around what is possible with these rather amazing tools.

Thanks for your comments Vic, and I appreciate the detailed listening!

Be well,
Doug
Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
Diviner said 3762 days ago (May 31st, 2009)
Very well composed
You can tell this is a really well thought out piece of music. Very impressive and conjures lovely morning sceanes. Well done Doug for putting together a really great track.
Check out my latest song called Away ft Lokka
Doug Somers said 3761 days ago (May 31st, 2009)
Very kind Keith
It was not so much thought out but then I believe that the best in my music comes from making motion and sounds and seeing what comes of it, then cleaning up the bits that are really messy.

Really appreciate your kind support, as always.

Cheers,
Doug
Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
mowguy3 said 3762 days ago (May 31st, 2009)
Nothing to offer
and nothing more to say that hasent been said. Outstanding offering and I thank you for yet another DL for my early morning walks and much more listening pleasure.
Check out my latest song called What Would That Make Me?
Doug Somers said 3761 days ago (May 31st, 2009)
I have yet to try this outdoors again
but now that you mention it I will certainly give it a try. Enjoy!

Thanks for the very generous comments!

Doug
Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
Ibstrat said 3757 days ago (June 5th, 2009)
This
is a beautiful piece of work.A great piece to wake up to!
Check out my latest song called What the
Doug Somers said 3756 days ago (June 5th, 2009)
Nice to hear from you Mark
I'm glad to hear you've been listening to this in the morning - it seems to sound better somehow! Thanks for your kind comments.

Be well,
Doug
Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
Henke said 3720 days ago (July 11th, 2009)
Congratulations!
This is some astonishing accomplishment! Sorry to be late to the party, has been away from MJ a lot recently, but am now trying to catch up. Thanks for sharing this beautiful Italian morning with one who is having a "staycation" this summer... Peace!

/Henke
Check out my latest song called Summer (Promenade) (WIP)
Doug Somers said 3717 days ago (July 14th, 2009)
Staycation morning music
It's never too late to come to the party.

Thanks for coming by and having a listen, not to mention your kind comments.

Be well,
Doug
Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
richard13 said 3649 days ago (September 21st, 2009)
A beautiful paean to the rising sun
This is, as you know by now (and must have suspected before), glorious. You've done a masterful job of composing, arranging, and producing and the result is worth however much time and effort you put into it. Bravo!
Also, I'm glad I listened to your two latest pieces in reverse order: this one is warm, light and reassuring after the Descent.
Thanks for your efforts and for making it available: I, too, will be taking this one with me.
Cheers
Check out my latest song called one last night with you
richard13 said 3649 days ago (September 21st, 2009)
Whoops!
This is not one of your two latest, but I think you know what I mean ;-)
Check out my latest song called one last night with you
Artist Info
artist photo
Name: Doug Somers
Location: Ottawa Ontario Canada
send a note
I make music for pleasure, usually using a computer to create soundscapes around all kinds of music. I used to jam with a local celtic group, playing bodhran and 12 string guitar, but I find that my technical and live performance skills fall short o... [see more]

Check out some of my other songs:

Chat
Who's Online
164At
Invisible Members: 0
Visitors: 82
Links