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I'm having a hard time evaluating this piece, as the instruments seem rather unbalanced. The solo violin seems far too loud / close to the mic, whereas the string section seems to be sitting somewhere else, and the piano seems to be on the far side of the room. The tuba also seems to be sitting right in front of the mic, drowning out everyone else.  Of course, this is assuming a "traditional" concert performance setup; if that's not what you have in mind here, then ignore what I just said. :-P

Anyway, "production" issues aside... I liked the humorous, random-sounding ideas following one after another, quite evocative of the antics of a cat.  At one point I have this picture of a cat pawing some piece of furniture, toppling it over, and then jumping up onto a stool and then to the kitchen counter, in typical feline grace.

Having said all that, though, I found it a little difficult to follow after the first minute or so, because I couldn't discern any overall arc or order to the musical ideas.  I suppose this is, conceivably, part of your goal here, but I'm having some trouble trying to decide what "works" or "doesn't work" here because it seems that if you were to rearrange the various passages in random order, it would sound to be about the same to me.  Maybe I'm just biased towards concert hall music, but I found it difficult to get into this piece because of the lack of a clear overall dramatic arc.

Though if you were to pair this up with a video of a cute cat doing cute antics, I might change my mind about what I just said. :-P

Some great points! ( Why would I think that the solo violin would be any louder that the section she's sitting in?) In orchestras I've heard, where it wasn't a piano concerto, I'm not sure where the piano has been staged. I've assumed it was somewhere back with the rest of the percussion. If you picture a cat knocking things off the table, you're getting the essence. Also, that final Valse Trist-like part is meant as a very cat-like thing. After all, who knows what a cat is going to do when she's high on catnip? for that lullaby part, I saw Emily rocking in front of a fire in a rocking chair with her cat in her lap. The second, frenzied part is a kitten furiously chasing a cat toy about on a hardwood floor.

So, those are the things I saw.

It would be difficult to explain the motifs and themes that run through this. Either you pick them up, or you don't

BTW, I'm looking into EastWest winds. $300.  Not easy for a guy on a fixed income, and they don't mention any non-vibrato instruments.

Thanks for listening.

Art,

If it's the Hollywood WW sample library you're after please be aware it is a beast on memory and processing.

Do you have Native Instruments Kontakt 5 sampler/player? There are so many choices for that platform.

I do. The only wind sample library I know about that gives me control of speed and amplitude of the vibrato is the ESX24 oboe, bassoon and english horn. I'm not really fond of the Kontact 5 , but then, it isn't about the sample player. It's about the samples. After all, that's what I'm drawing all this criticism over. If people say that the samples I use sound bad to them, I have to take their word for it. I'm afraid that they haven't told me what samples sound good to them. Criticism without construction is just criticism that does nobody any good and wastes everybody's time.

A solo violin stands out from the rest of the section not by volume, but by timbre. (Of course, that requires proper scoring so that she's not playing in unison with the others, but I assume you knew that). Well, and also, a violinist with a solo part also tends to play in a different style than a violinist playing in a section: in the former she'd play in a way that stands out more, in a more virtuosic manner, whereas in the latter she'd want to blend in with the rest of the section. It's more than just a question of volume.

Very correct in general Teoh, that is how it should be and generally how it is, imo.

I would like to observe, if I may, (slightly contrary to this) that when I go to a live performance of some Corelli concerto Grosso, of course it is a joy to listen to the concertante group play alone, but when the ripieni come in playing in unisons with the soli, and if I close my eyes, I can still hear the soli distinctly  separate from the ripieni. Probably they are better or louder players, anyway but there is always that difference in timbre and deliverance of the music. Just a thought out of my real life experience :-)



H. S. Teoh said:

A solo violin stands out from the rest of the section not by volume, but by timbre. (Of course, that requires proper scoring so that she's not playing in unison with the others, but I assume you knew that). Well, and also, a violinist with a solo part also tends to play in a different style than a violinist playing in a section: in the former she'd play in a way that stands out more, in a more virtuosic manner, whereas in the latter she'd want to blend in with the rest of the section. It's more than just a question of volume.

I'm not sure I would agree. Every member of the section plays as he would if he were soloing. I can say that because I've played in orchestras. Conductors will often ask for more, as you say, "virtuosic" timber from the entire section. The individual "timbres" will cancel each other out just by playing in unison and matching themselves to the loudness of the rest. (This is the effect that the designers of the "choir" effect are attempting to simulate). Occasionally, I have heard passages where one member will come singing out above the rest, owing only to his greater volume. Otherwise, his own brilliant vibrato would be  suppressed among the others. So, yes. The concertmaster will distinguish herself from the rest of the section just by being louder, and the rest of the section will oblige by playing softer, whether as per the composer's instruction, or just by instinct. More often, the composer will leave the rest of the section out altogether. Nonetheless, she sits in the same general area where the rest sit and plays from the same chair as the others. Any "virtuosity" is provided by the composer. (i assume that, by virtuosity, you mean things like lots of arpeggios and other violinist gimmicks).

Hi Art,

I'm talking about a very specific example as I gave it above only, and what I experienced sometimes in real life by real players playing the very specific tutti passages in Corelli concerti, with no virtuosity involved or requested by the composer either in terms of music or gimmics.

Just soli and ripieni playing the same thing and soli been clearly distinguishable.

"Ripieni" is one of those arcane words I had totally forgotten. It's been a lot of years.

It's this notion of "timbre" as a distinguishing factor that I take issue with.

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