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Celebration of Scholarship and Creative Activity 2021

Balancing Light & Dark

Noah Eckstein

Senior, Music Composition

Abstract

Balancing Light & Dark was composed as if it were the overture for a fantasy/adventure film, with different motifs that act as themes for each of the characters. The title refers to the classic dilemma that many protagonists face: trying to find equilibrium between good and evil, and learning to live with both of them.

Project Background 

I chose to pursue this work because I seek a career in film composition, and this is a way to explore that medium. The original composition was completed as a piece for full orchestra in November 2020. However, because of COVID-19 protocols, the UW Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra currently performs with only strings and percussion (non-aerosol producing instruments). To fit that ensemble, I reorchestrated the work, taking the music originally composed for brass and woodwind instruments and arranging it for strings, piano, harp, and percussion. Reorchestrating the composition was a challenging and time-consuming endeavor, but has resulted in great success. This newly orchestrated piece has already received recognition and was selected as a winner of the 2021 UW Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition. It will be performed and recorded by the UWO Symphony Orchestra this spring. I hope that every listener can find something that they enjoy in this piece. I would like to thank my composition professor Dr. John Mayrose for helping me bring this piece to fruition.

What Do You Think? 

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34 Comments

  1. Meg Olson

    Absolutely incredible! Wonderful work!

    Reply
    • Noah Eckstein

      Thank you! 🙂

      Reply
      • Joshua Kriegl

        This is epic, Noah! I didn’t know that the version we are learning in orchestra was a reorchestration. I enjoyed listening to this original conception of the piece, and hearing the differences between the two versions! Fantastic work!

        Reply
        • Noah Eckstein

          Thanks, Josh! Reorchestrating the piece was a daunting task, but I am very satisfied with the end result. On top of that, you guys are playing it so well!! Thanks again 🙂

          Reply
      • Colleen loppnow

        Oh my what a moving piece I guess we’re going to have to watch credits from now on because I’m sure in the near future we will see your name roll. I’m glad you put that note in about no brass because that’s exactly what I said to Jeff was all I hear is the strings and some light percussion. Still a fabulous work! Hopefully at some point we will be able to hear your original score with the woodwinds & brass too. I would think it is just as moving but with a different strength.

        Reply
  2. Abby Shreve

    So proud of you Noah! Congratulations, can’t wait to see where you go! ❤️

    Reply
    • Noah Eckstein

      Thank you <3

      Reply
  3. Margaret Grewal

    Wow, Noah, this is amazing. This is the first composition I have heard of yours and it is truly breathtaking. Keep working towards your goal because you are truly going places!

    Reply
    • Noah Eckstein

      That means a lot, Maggie. Thank you so much. <3

      Reply
  4. Devin Hull

    This is fantastic! I could definitely see this being used in a film and working well with the genre you mention. Good job, Noah.

    Reply
    • Noah Eckstein

      Thanks, Devin! 🙂

      Reply
  5. Ann Kunkle-Jones

    What a powerful piece of music! Great job and good luck after graduation!

    Reply
    • Noah Eckstein

      Thank you!

      Reply
      • Isabel Sorebo

        Fantastic job!! This piece and all of your others always amaze me! I love playing your music and can’t wait for your next composition❤️

        Reply
        • Noah Eckstein

          Thank you, Isabel <3

          Reply
  6. Elsa Zank

    Congratulations on all your hard work, Noah! This has been so much fun to prepare in orchestra, and it was really cool to hear it’s original form with the full orchestration. I think you did a really great job communicating the drama of the light/dark archetype.

    Reply
    • Noah Eckstein

      Thank you, Elsa! I’m glad that the meaning of the piece was clear to you. I’m excited to hear you guys perform it!

      Reply
  7. Debbie Gray Patton

    Noah, that was beautiful and so powerful! Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • Noah Eckstein

      Thank you so much! I’m glad that you enjoyed it. 🙂

      Reply
  8. Alison Shaw

    Very cool piece Noah. It has been fun to watch your gift for composition take wings these past few years. You write beautifully and I can’t wait to hear what’s next! Good luck in grad school, and congratulations!

    Reply
    • Noah Eckstein

      Thanks Dr. Shaw, I really appreciate it. Thank you for all of your insights into writing for percussion and orchestra in general; I couldn’t have done it without you. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Jana Slinger

    I really enjoyed listening! Thank you for sharing your gift with us.

    Reply
    • Noah Eckstein

      Thank you! 🙂

      Reply
  10. Lucas Miller

    This piece is amazing! I’m sure it took a ton of worth, but the result is unbelievable!

    Reply
    • Lucas Miller

      I apologize worth was supposed to be work.

      Reply
      • Noah Eckstein

        It was very challenging, but the end result always make it worth it. Thank you <3

        Reply
  11. Nolan Race

    Noah this piece is amazing. You mentioned wanting to compose for films in your introduction and I was able to create several different little scenes in my head to go along with this piece. Well done, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Reply
    • Noah Eckstein

      Thanks for checking it out, Nolan! 🙂

      Reply
  12. Molly Hennig

    Noah, what an incredible piece. It’s cinematic and full of heart. I truly can’t wait to hear your future music as a highly skilled composer.

    Reply
    • Noah Eckstein

      And I cannot wait to see what YOU do in the future! Thanks, Molly <3

      Reply
  13. Olivia A Mahoney

    Noah, I was literally bouncing in my seat because I was so blown away by how amazing this is! It definitely sounds like it could be the score for an action/adventure movie. It is so powerful and exciting and lively, it just flowed from one theme to another so nicely. I absolutely love this! Congratulations on winning the contest!!! It is well deserved! I can’t wait to hear what you will come up with in the future.

    Reply
    • Noah Eckstein

      Thank you for the nice comments, Olivia. I really appreciate it! 🙂

      Reply
  14. Gigi Youngbauer

    I am so proud of you, Noah! This piece is amazing!!

    Reply
  15. Samuel

    I know my comment is late but, I really like that piece it was very beautifully mixed. I would love to meet. My name is Samuel Ayoade I’m a computer science major but I’m a music producer as well and I would please love to sample parts of this symphony into another style of music. Great job, I hope you’re fine with me flipping it. I will credit you for sure.

    Reply

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