Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Don't Rush Gauntlet!

I went on YouTube recently, looking for new videos to link to my website and, not surprisingly, most of the performance videos of my music are of Gauntlet. It's still my most popular piece and it gets a lot of attention. However, while I was looking, I found an odd trend and wanted to comment on it. YouTube allows viewers to post messages and quite a few of them looked like this:

"honestly, i thought this song went much faster...really slowish"

"why do you play it so slow ? we play it waaay faster at my school ."

"its suposed to be alot faster"[sic]

One of the most prevalent problems I hear with performances of Gauntlet is that they're too fast. Gauntlet isn't a race and shouldn't be played too fast. Some young musicians even brag about how fast they can go, but speed isn't the point of this piece. I'd rather hear a performance that's too slow where dynamics, intonation, and expressiveness are taken into full consideration than one where the orchestra rushes through it. In fact, rushing through Gauntlet ruins the opportunity for expressiveness and negates the "dark" quality that people find so appealing.

The recording by the Alfred Studio Orchestra (which you can hear here) is still the best I've yet heard. The tempos are spot on, the intonation and style are perfect, and I've never heard the "hard part" (mm. 56 - 80) sound better. Sure, these are professional musicians playing, but it's an ideal that student musicians can aspire to achieve.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why do you call it "Gauntlet", anyway? A gauntlet is a sort of glove for knight's armor.

Doug Spata said...

A gauntlet is the glove on a suit of armor (more specifically, it's the part that covers the forearm).

A "gauntlet" is also a physical challenge used as an initiation. To successfully "run the gauntlet" is to prove your worth.

Also, to "throw down the gauntlet" is to make a challenge and to "pick up the gauntlet" is to accept that challenge.

Anonymous said...

I loved it. I heard it at my daughtes winter orchestra concert a few days ago and I wanted to see if I could get it on itunes but there was no music from you or just from the music. I really want it but all I can find are music sheets on it and ring tones. I want to play it in my car or when I need to relax. So is there any other way I can down load Gauntlet. And there is no need to change it. It sounds great just the way it is.

Doug Spata said...

Thank you! You can go to alfred-music.com and do a search for "Gauntlet" or for "Doug Spata" to find a recording. They're $.99 each and this is the really good recording I was talking about.

Anonymous said...

I love this peice mostly on the viola ;) I was wondering if you had anymre good peices that i could play??

Doug Spata said...

I have lots and lots! You can find a list of all my published titles here:

http://home.roadrunner.com/~dougspata/Doug%20Spata%20Music%20-%20Published.htm

or just browse around dougspata.com. You can find recordings at www.alfred-music.com

As a violist, you'll probably appreciate Goblin Dance most. Violists have also liked Agincourt, Lemon Twist, and Crusader.

Anonymous said...

ok, thank you very much! I will try all these peices! I think I have heard of the goblin dance before its a really nice peice...

Anonymous said...

When i looked for a sheet for gauntlet (The video game) I came accross your song, and i wondered was it the theme for a new game. Then i thought it was from a movie.... But where did it come from?

Doug Spata said...

Gauntlet sprung from my head. It's not the theme from the video game and it's not from a movie and, as far as I know, it hasn't been used in any other media (or else I'd get paid a lot more in royalties). I take it as a compliment though - I like that my music can be described as "cinematic."

Anonymous said...

Your welcome. I feel it has this "legend" sound with it, quite epicly aswell.

Jedi Girl said...

This is amazing, I am playing this with my school orquestra. Mr. Spata, If you listen closely this is an excellent piece for the Battle of Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2

Anonymous said...

Is there a 3rd Violin Part ?

Anonymous said...

Is there any story to gauntlet? Usually orchestra composers write like whats going on at a certain point in the description of the song, and i can't thin =k of on...