for divided orchestra — 1997
This piece was my entry for the Masterprize competition in 1997, where it reached the top ten percent. After hearing the final concert with the shortlist of ten and the winner, however, I was disillusioned about the whole thing and didn’t enter again. The problem was that they were looking for music with ‘broad appeal’ or something to that effect, and as a result the successful entries were almost entirely derivative. I think Andrew Clements’s Guardian review of the final of the 2003 competition lends weight to my decision!
However, this experience also rather set me against my own piece, and I tended to dismiss it as something I’d just dashed off for the competition (and I didn’t provide an audio version here). Recently though, I met a musician who expressed an interest in it, which got me looking at it again, and maybe it’s not so terrible after all. Still perhaps not my best, but not without its interest and I do believe it has some value, so I’ve rehabilitated it, as it were, in my output — and made a new MIDI version for your delectation.
The orchestra — a generous one as offered in the Masterprize spec. — is divided as follows: two identical groups of 13 players (no strings) spaced as far apart as possible; a group of eight (also without strings) in the centre, immediately in front of the conductor; the full strings arranged round the centre group, separating it from the outer groups.
- Left and Right groups:
- B flat clarinet / E flat clarinet
- 2 horns in F, with standard horn mutes
- 2 trumpets in C, with straight, cup & harmon mutes
- 2 tenor-bass trombones, with straight & cup mutes
- percussion 1: crôtales, marimba, maraca, claves, triangle, suspended cymbal, Chinese cymbal, hi-hat, snare drum, piccolo snare drum (right only), 5 rototoms, pedal bass drum, large bass drum
- percussion 2: vibraphone, suspended cymbal, tambourine, piccolo snare drum (left only), 5 cencerros or cowbells, 5 temple blocks, large bass drum
- Centre group:
- flute / alto flute
- oboe / cor anglais
- B flat clarinet / bass clarinet
- bassoon / contrabassoon
- horn in F, with standard horn mutes
- tuba, with standard tuba mute
- timpani with tam-tam
- 16 violins I
- 14 violins II
- 12 violas
- 10 cellos
- 8 double basses
Performances / broadcasts / recordings
None so far... anyone?
Listen to MIDI version (10:53)
This is the identical recording twice, the choice being offered in case of technical hiccups on either of the ‘mother ships’. Note: these two players will run simultaneously, so unless you fancy a double dose (out of sync) of my ‘spiritual output’, I recommend that you take care to avoid this happening!
This a computer-generated mockup of music entirely or partially for ‘real’ instruments. Clearly it is no substitute for a live performance, but it’s all I’ve got — or perhaps all I can make public for various reasons. There’s a fuller disclaimer on the Listen page.
...with a sneak preview of the score
Or just in case YouTube isn’t co-operating today...
- Sequencer: MOTU Digital Performer (Mac)
- Each part was recorded to an individual audio track, which were then grouped into stems: woodwinds, brass and percussion for the side groups were each given a sub-stem which were grouped, along with the harp, into a stem for each side group; winds and piano/timpani/tam-tam were grouped into two sub-stems, which were grouped into a stem for the centre group; violins I, violins II, violas, cellos and basses each got a sub-stem, all grouped into a strings stem. This made managing the complete mix very much easier with four basic stems. Very gentle application of MOTU MasterWorks EQ and Limiter; reverb is a combination of MOTU’s ProVerb and Eventide 2016 Stereo Room.
- All woodwind: AudioModeling SWAM instruments
- All brass: SampleModeling — The Trumpet, The Trombone, Horn and Tuba (host: NI Kontakt)
- Crotales, Marimbas: Spitfire Audio Ricotti Mallets (host: NI Kontakt)
- Vibraphone: SonicCouture Vibraphone (host: NI Kontakt)
- Other percussion: Various NI instruments (host: NI Kontakt); NI Battery
- Piano, Harps: Modartt Pianoteq 6
- Section strings: Spitfire Audio Sable Strings (host: NI Kontakt)
- Solo strings: Embertone Friedlander Violin, Blakus Cello, Leonid Bass (host: NI Kontakt)
- Score: MakeMusic Finale
- Movie: Apple iMovie
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