The Virtual Jami Blog Progress of creating a virtual performance of Sorabji's Jami Symphony


MS Page 565 – Violins divisi a 16

Filed under: Uncategorised — David Carter @ 01:56 pm

I have completed my first effort to retrofit the performance of the first 72 minutes of the 3rd movement made in 2013 onto the 2019 performance of the remainder of the movement. It’s been tricky making sure various settings, particularly volume settings match and the performances sound seemless. Much work was necessary for the keyboards, tuned and untuned percussion. It’s taken a couple of weeks and hopefully it’s worked OK.

This excerpt is the last 6 minutes leading up to the excerpt posted on 22 June 2019 commencing MS Page 591 so you play one after the other and judge for yourself whether the performances sound seemless.

The notable thing about this section is it contains the lenghty passage when the 1st and 2nd violins divide into eight parts each. This is the 3rd time I have tried to render this passage and is hopefully the best. However the texture around the violins is itself extremely dense so picking out detail is difficult.


End of Movement 3

Filed under: Uncategorised — David Carter @ 10:26 am

The climax of the third movement.

I’ve said before and I’ll say again this must be one of the most climactic moments in all western orchestral music. It has been extremely challenging although my hardware and software have coped remarkably well. My musical faculties have been sorely stretched to cope with the very end. When you have 4 timpani, bass drum, side drum, field drum, 2 triangles, 2 cymbals and tam-tam (not to mention the castanets and tambourine trying desperately to join in) all rolling at treble forte, the organ at full blast every singer and instrumentalist singing/blowing with all their might, nigh on 500+ musicians busting their guts, you gotta expect a lot of noise. The problem has been to try and make not just noise and if you listen closely you should be able to pick out the voices and maybe the brass and certainly the squealing Eb clarinet as well as the bass instruments vomiting up some sort of C# major/minor arpeggio type thing. The final chord, which is preceded by a long pedal G, is rooted on a C#/G# fifth in the bass with the male chorus, lower wind and brass on a Bb minor chord, the female chorus and upper orchestra on an A minor chord and the upper woodwind wailing out a tremolo Bb to C.

The lead up to the final cataclysm is full of Sorabji’s usual extraordinary invention. There’s a lot of important moments for the tuned gongs and I’ve been imagining them as the voice of Apollo signalling the end is nigh.

Decent audio equipment will improve the listening experience. Turn up the volume and let the room shake.


MS page 682

Filed under: Uncategorised — David Carter @ 12:45 pm

This extract opens with a characteristic Sorabjian mediterranean dance with castanets, tambourines and harps. The static accompaniment in the strings (quasi strummed guitar?) building from 6-part bassi and celli adding each section until we have 17 parts and extremely high violin harmonics. Over this static accompaniment the violins start a sultry/languid tune and the wind and chorus take over. This reaches a peak (2’02”) which dissolves into quiet accapella singing and gong strokes which soon leads to another full bodied multi singing polyphonic section without the organ. During this passage a meandering quaver bass line starts (3’07”) which will dominate the next two sections. As the choir and upper strings fade away the persistent meandering quaver line emerges in the basses alone (3’48”) and then wanders it way up through the cellos, violas and 2nd violins. When it reaches the 1st violins it is then joined successively at octave intervals back down through the strings plus woodwind until we have four unison octaves which continue to descend and build into a huge polyphonic slightly disturbing Glory Glory section (5’36”). The organ re-enters, the meandering quavers continue in parallel harmony in the upper woodwind and violins, there are massive punctuating chords in the brass, the chorus sing the glory and there is a quasi-chorale like accompaniment in the lower wind and strings. What a marvellous section. The volume is pared down after a while and the chorale breaks up into more complex polyphony. Stamping percussion (7’05”) signal the climax of this section which abruptly breaks into rapid semiquavers in wind and violins with rhythmic marking of the beat in brass and percussion. The semiquavers get faster and faster building up through the whole orchestra before suddenly breaking off into‚Ķ.. (watch this space).

How one man could imagine all this music is unfathomable.


32 part chorus

Filed under: Uncategorised — David Carter @ 10:11 am

This excerpt features an extended choral passage where they divide from their usual 8 parts into 16 parts and then into 32 parts.

A quiet mysterious opening reaches a first climax at 1’32” at which point the lower strings start a rocking figure in parallel fourths which emerges from under the receding choir. Additional layers join up thorugh the strings until we have 10 stacked fourths and a nasty shout from percussion, piano & strings at 1’44”. A return to pleasenter stuff leads to the start of the choral passage at 2’12” at first in 8 parts and then 16 parts at 2’38”. I’ve rendered this passage, and much of this section, as quietly as possible. There’s a five part male chorus moment at 3’13” marked “[i]ferme bouche[/i]” . The VSL chorus samples don’t have ferme bouche (humming) samples so I’ve used “ooohs” instead of “aaahs” which I think works as a nice contrast. After another climax at 4’08” the 32 part chorus kicks in. As 32 staves of Sorabji’s manuscript paper were taken up with the choir the orchestral writing is very thin and for much of the time the chorus is acapella. The density of the writing is extreme and it’s hard to make sense of it. The best tactic (as is so often the case in this symphony) is to let the glorious sound wash over you. At 6’45” the chorus returns to 16 parts and the orchestra thickens out. A gradual build up leads to a climax at 7’40” and another return of the mighty organ and a signature passage which occurs several times throught the whole symphony, a “hallelujah” grand joyous noise for everyone.


New extract MS Page 591

Filed under: Uncategorised — David Carter @ 07:04 pm

This extract starts where the last one from 2013 ended. I hope the quality of the performance is better. It sounds better to me. One of the significant changes is to add a second microphone on the virtual stage. One is in the 7th row and the 2nd is where the conductor stands. I’ve also overhauled the settings in the virtual mixer which allows me to increase the presence of individual instruments and sections far more than I could before. Now I can have the choir dominate if I wish. The sound of the performance is from the perspective of a live performance and not a studio recording.

Of note is the return of the big chorus, organ and full orchestral ecstatic singing at 2’55” so characteristic of the symphony as a whole, and when this returns again at 4’24” it is proceeded by nothing less than a complete descending F major scale. This section peaks at 5’35” on a clear F major chord and is followed by a lovely rippling section in wind and strings. Some quiet clusters in the chorus, harmonics in the strings and pointilistic hocketing in the wind at 7’48” leads to a step up in the tempo at 9’15” and the final part of this extract, a vigorous section for rapid winds and loud brass with several aggressive fortepiano crescendo chords in the brass (really hard to pull off in Sibelius/VSL).

I could witter on for ever about how wonderful this music is. It is wonderful. It is also very different to the keyboard music. I believe it is much more accessible. I have read concern about Sorabji’s vertical harmony and melodic invention. Well this symphony has melody in abundance and clear and obvious vertical harmonic progression to satisfy the nay sayers. This extract has both to hear.


The Numbers of the Beast

Filed under: Uncategorised — David Carter @ 08:28 pm

In case there are any computer freaks listening in I thought I’d post the specs of my new PC. The components which make it possible to cope with the huge task of creating this virtual performance are 64GBs of top quality RAM, the high end processor and the super fast Solid State Drives for the operating System and the Sample drives.

Motherboard Asus Prime Z-370-P LGA 1151
Processor Intel core i7-8700K LGA 1151 3.7 GHz
RAM Corsair 64GB Vengeance LPX DDR4 2666 MHz
Graphics Card ASUS AMD Radeon R5 230 2GB
Audio Card Focusrite Scarlett Solo (2nd Gen) USB AudioInterface
Monitor 1 Samsung SyncMaster S27B350
Monitor 2 Samsung SyncMaster 2693HM
OS Drive Samsung 970 EVO V-NAND M.2 500GB SSD
Samples Drives OCZ Agility3 500GB SSD x 2
Cooling Fan Corsair Hydro Series H80i V2 Liquid Cooler
Power source Corsair RM750x 80 PLUS Gold

The software I use hasn’t changed other than the several updates over the years. Sibelius 8.2 and the Vienna Symphonic Library. I use the VSL Symphonic Cube sample collection. I have not moved on to their newer “Dimension” or “SYNCHRON-ized” sample sets, just too expensive. The main VSL software is the Vienna Ensemble Pro 6 (the virtual mixing console) and MIR Pro (the virtual concert hall where the virtual performers gather).


They’re Back!

Filed under: Uncategorised — David Carter @ 10:27 pm

I’m back on it. Following xmas 2018 I managed to get together enough finance to build me a monster PC. Once assembled I went straight into testing it on the remainder of the 3rd movement from where I had left off nearly six years ago. It quickly became apparent I was good to go and the new machine could cope with whatever I wanted to throw at it without compromise. Needless to say I was too excited creating the performance to worry about updating this blog and in any event I had forgotten usernames and passwords. Obviously I’ve now resolved that and can now regularly update the legion of followers of this blog and Sorabji fans worldwide (insert emotican for tongue in cheek here).

I know there are lots of broken links to earlier posts and I will get round to trying to sort that in due course but first I will post all the exciting stuff I’ve been doing in the last few months. Regular visitors to the Sorabji Archive forum will spot much duplication of posts there.

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