The Website of David Tsai
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The Evil Scientist

from the music of David Tsai

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My first composition that was performed by a symphonic orchestra is The Evil Scientist. It originally was supposed to tell, through music, the story of how an evil scientist was prevented from taking over the world, thus its title. Throughout the revision process, the main structure remained constant. The first version, however, lacked a few instruments and the slow section in the beginning that were included in the final version. Unfortunately, I was unable to generate another recording for the last changes, so they have not been reflected in the recording on the left. The main changes are to the percussion parts, but there is also the addition of the trombone part.

The Evil Scientist opens with my best attempt at the time at a chorale. The following section then represents flying through the world before any trouble. The scene then becomes dark and frantic; this is the appearance of the scientist’s layer, where he has already finished his plans. A clarinet solo follows and is joined by the bassoon, the bass, and, had there been one, the tuba. This is the world’s last sunrise for a while. The entire orchestra then echos the same melody, simulating how a sunrise grows before ending. There is then a quick confrontation with the antagonist, during which a bit of his past is revealed right after stopping his plans. This history spills into a flute solo. Now that the plans of the evil scientist have been foiled, the piece flys over a trouble-free world once again and then comes to a conclusion.

The process of writing and then performing my composition was a learning experience for me. While writing the score, I had not known about the limitations of some instruments other than range; the players were quick to complain when they received their parts. After some negotiations, the orchestra started to play. At that point, I realized that my composition sounded extremely different when played by real people than by the synthesizer or even in my head. I can be sure that my next symphonic poem won’t be as bad.

PublishedMonday, February 14, 2011
TypeSymphonic Poem

My compositions, in the order in which they were written, are as follows:

  1. In the Flower Field
  2. Hope for Peace
  3. Friendship Song
  4. Victory
  5. Victory Revisited
  6. Here We Come A-wassailing (Arrangement)
  7. The Evil Scientist
  8. The Storytellers
  9. The Star-Spangled Banner (Arrangement)
  10. Only Words
  11. [The Current Working Draft]

I’ll be putting some more performances up here sometime. There are two other compositions, titled Ghost Note and Mysterious, but they are so short that I didn’t include them in the list above.

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