First try at a complete performance

I’ve jumped in at the deep end and started a complete performance of the second movement, the smallest movement in every respect. The VSL template has 58 virtual instruments (the string section has ten staves for 92 players). Without any samples loaded the template uses over 10 GBs of RAM. I have used the full VSL presets for each instrument and after loading all but percussion the template has reached 20GBs. At that point I have started to notice some strange behaviour suggesting the RAM is about maxed out. However VSL has a clever sample purge function so that once you have perfected each parts performance you can get rid of all the samples not used which frees up a lot of RAM enabling me to run the whole orchestra.

The Sibelius performance score has three staves per part. One to show the unaltered part which does not play back (for reference), the second for the altered part which does play back (altered to create something more than just a mechanical playback of the notes) and the third for the performance midi data (Which covers changes of articulation, crescendo/diminuendo etc). This means there are 188 staves. Setting up the template and performance score, which you only have to do once, probably took around ten hours. I have created a performance of the first 50 seconds which took around an additional 15 hours.

Here is part of the performance score showing the three staves for each instrument.

And here is the earlier performance for comparison.

So it seems I could probably create a performance of the whole of the 2nd movement. Although if 15 seconds took 15 hours, 20 mintues would take … a long time! And because of the inclusion of the multi divisi choir and multi divisi strings in the other movements they would probably take nearer 100 VSL virtual instruments and nearer 300 staves and consequently a lot longer to create per minute of music. So a full performance of the other movements is daunting and would need more RAM and a more powerful PC. Both of which are achievable in the not too distant future. But as for time and sanity?…

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4 Responses

  1. Jose Carrero says:

    Hello David,

    Since the mid-80s I’ve wanted to listen to a Sorabji orchestral work. I was extremely glad that I found your website and your realization of the Jami Symphony.

    I downloaded and listened to the entire symphony this morning and I must say that what you have done with the Sibelius version is truly and exceptionally amazing, especially considering that the sounds on this program are not really all that great. I can’t imagine what the VSL version will be like if you are able to complete it. This will take you years, but if you do manage to complete the project, it will forever remain as one of the most vital documents in the entire Sorabji adventure. You have my greatest respect, and I wish you the best of luck, patience and endurance.

    I have a question… Would it be too inconvenient to post on this website a higher bit-rate set of files of the Sibelius version? The current one is 128kb/sec, which is not terrible, but it’s not the best representation of your hard work. If you could post it as 320kb/sec, or better yet, lossless (FLAC or APE), that would be absolutely super.

    Regardless of your decision, thank you very, very much for posting this rendering of this probably never-to-be-played symphony!

    Best regards,

    Jose Carrero

  2. says:

    Hi Jose,

    Thanks very much for your encouraging words. I will look into converting the current performance to 320kb/sec or FLAC and If possible, and I can work out how to do, it I will post it on the website.

    The VSL performance is still a goal but I am probably one PC upgrade away from being able to start it seriously. I would hope within two years to finally have the hardware and software to make it possible for me. I will need 48GB RAM if not 96GB as well as SSD drives and probably a xeon dual processer MB.

    Keep checking back for progress.

    Kind regards


  3. Have only listened to much of the first movement so far, and only once, but very thankful and appreciative; I guess it’s not that long ago I first heard of this work- maybe almost two decades though (no, probably not quite that) – but never imagined I’d hear it in any form at all (and am not surprised from some experience with far smaller-scale MIDI- and typeset-related projects that it took so long.) Cheers and many thanks!!

  4. (What leads me to comment on this post is at the least the image of a full-score page from a Sorabji orchestral work- to date I have seen remarks about his orchestral writing and seen a lot of pages of his piano manuscripts, but (though apparently this- hrm. The names on the side say MIDI, the writing is handwritten- I assume by performance score you mean typeset, but it looks clean and also handwritten, if perhaps in your own hand… interesting… maybe I need to read earlier posts in your blog to clear up that mystery. Apologies. 🙂 Lovely and intriguing page of orchestral writing, anycase… And as to that, the opening of the symphony itself- as I expected (especially after someone posted a typeset copy of the opening of the Messa Alta to the defunct Yahoo Group some while back)- was good and striking!

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