Funny - I have less of a feeling of resolution with the main theme major / minor chords - they sound to me like an ever continuing effect, which I like and is quite interesting. Cello is a good choice for sad music. I would have liked to hear less of the string pads (or have used another instrument type ie, wind instrument pads?) to not muddy the nice solo string lines.
The french horn melody section sounds artificial to me, as there is no space for breathing and this continued sustain is not possible. (If you intended the sound to be more like a synth, that is another thing). Consider using more orchestration colours and counterpoint concepts… a whole brass choir for that section in addition to the interesting percussion rhythm. With a full brass choir you could lose string pads which feel redundant. That would contrast nicely to the string sections and add some additional harmonic interest, especially if you had some voice leading in the other voices. The string pads do work better on the recap where the solo strings are higher.
I used those strings like a crutch lol, you’re right on with that. I’d planned a rework upon returning from vacation yesterday, then I saw this contest was ending tomorrow!
I’ve just recently learned automation, I’m surprised the string sweeps (or what are supposed to be string sweeps) came out as well as they did! Thank you for the feedback, I’ll know to keep those out of the way of the solo instruments for the future!
The horn middle part just didn’t come together as planned. The horn is too loud, and was supposed to be a horn section not just a solo horn, and the lower brass, (yes I completely forgot modulation and they just sound like low strings ha!), wouldn’t cooperate with the automation of growing louder through the passage, the only thing that got louder was the horn lol.