Archive for March, 2013

Let the singer be heard

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

The second chunk of the third movement has been finished in record time as I’ve had some time off work and have been hard at it for several days. This section lasts just under 14 minutes and brings us to 35 minutes so over a quarter done. I’ve got three extracts for you.

 The first is the first entry of the organ in the third movement which as usual comes amid a fairly full orchestral and choral tutti.

 The second is the quotation from Chausson’s Symphony of 1890 played by the trumpets.

 The third is one of those very special moments of repose when over a quite sustained chord of B major (momentarily with added spice from the lower strings) four solo sopranos distantly sing a variation of the main theme before moving off into more Sorabjian tapestry.

 I continue to learn both the technology and the music. I’ve made some software setting changes which means I shall have to go back and do the first chunk again but I shall leave that to the end. I’ve found a way of balancing the sections better particularly the choir which needs to be more prominent and in the first part sounded almost like they were off stage. During this part I have also realised that the most important part of the music is the melody. There is always melody somewhere and often several. The textural stuff, whilst fascinating, must stand back and the melody must shine. The trumpet has several important melodic moments in this section. Even in the multi divisi string parts someone will have a melodic line whilst all around them go bananas and the emphasis should be on the melodic part.

 This whole symphony is one huge songfest.

Shaping up very nicely

Monday, March 4th, 2013

After seven weeks I have finished the first major chunk. The first 21 minutes. That’s quicker than I was expecting. The music is wonderful and I’ve two extracts to post. The first is a passage where the strings divide into 4, 4, 3, 3, 3. This features the VSL chamber strings with six violins, four violas, three cellos and two double basses per part. These passages tend be the strings providing a mosaic background to lyrical lines elsewhere. There’s a long melody in the tenor section over this. Listen for the lush 2nd violin four part glissando and the glorious top violin line later. The second extract is an ecstatic full voiced moment for the choir divided into 32 parts largely supported by contrapuntal 10-part strings one of those joyous noise moments.

I’m still learning and improving as I go along and I shall want to go back and redo some earlier parts but intend for now to plow on. In particular I want to find a way to bring the choir forward in the mix, more in your face. At the moment they almost sound like their off stage and it’s very hard to make them loud enough in the big climaxes. And talking of big climaxes the end of this first 21 minute chunk is a real doosey. The problem is trying to rein in the excitement because the very end of the third movement is likely to be one of the biggest noises in any orchestral music right up there with the biggest moments in Mahler and even the Gothic. Way to go yet though.