Gestures of AbSter – No, I did not accidentally put a capital ‘S’ in the middle of AbSter. It was on purpose. This String Orchestra composition is dedicated one of my best friends from home Abbey Sedlacek. As you can see, her first name can be shortened to Abs. But I decided to capitalize the S because ‘AbS’ is a play off her last name too! She agreed so it stuck. As our friendly relationship blossomed, I had a soft, simple little song I made for her. So as you can see, I had this melody for YEARS. I first developed it when Abbey and I first met, she was a freshman in high school and I was a senior.

I got the idea to finally elaborate on this melody in my Advanced Composition class I took with Professor Stephen Jaffe. He wanted us (the three students he had in the class) to compose one big final piece that should be over 4 minutes long. And funny thing was Abbey’s ‘theme’ was the first idea to jump in my head. So I stuck with it. At first I was thinking of a Piano Trio instrumentation but that wasn’t doing it for me, so I decided on a String Quartet. When I was putting a quick 12 measure draft together, I kept feeling that I needed more bass for that extra support. So I added the Contrabass and then piece finally ended up being for String Orchestra. Then there was one more dilemma. I couldn’t decide if I wanted the piece to be soft and smooth, or change it up and have it rock a little bit. Then God threw the best idea into my head! Abbey and I were (and still are) great friends, so I knew the different sides of her personality. THEME AND VARIATIONS!

So the theme is brought to us by the cello section. The other strings come in after the phrase to harmonize the cello line. The harmony is displaced a little to add a bit more flavor. The mood of the theme shows the elegance of Ms. Sedlacek when I first met her. A little shy probably because she was freshman and new to the scene.

The first variation exemplifies her hesitation, nervousness, and struggle to fit in as we all have had when entering a new arena. You feel this by the accompaniment in the cello and bass, short bursts of choas. The melody is in the minor mode and the endings of the phrases are not the typical (V-i) but (flat-II^6 – i). The ending of the section is a sequence where the violins and violas resolve on the off beat and the cellos and basses resolved on the beat, creating this uneasy though nifty double hit event.

The next variation shows that Abbey has opened up. This is her playful side and where she is comfortable. This was also my first attempt at counterpoint (it was actually an accident but as you see it worked out!! :D ) I used the melody as accompaniment as the rhythm of the two eighth notes and dotted half note dances around between the violins and violas. then the cellos and basses come in with the melody but just stretched out more than the support. At the end of the variation, I decided to be different. At the end, it builds up tension with a strong dissonant chord (F, G-flat, C-flat, E-flat) that resolves right into the next variation.

This final variation, coming from the previous one, starts on a 6/4 chord that is suspended for a while. This depicts Abbey as a wonderful, beautiful person that I knew she was the first time I met her! You can feel the compassion in the yearning of the high violins. As the pieces comes to a close, it goes back to the beginning, where the cello softly has the melody and the other instruments harmonize with one final beautiful major seventh chord.

(midi realization)