I have been away, and not reading my forums, so I didn't know that this one had disappeared, however briefly. I've been doing some reconnecting and rejoined yesterday. I thought I would post something for you. I recently completed my fourth symphony, and thought I would post an excerpt. I may post a link to the whole thing at some point later (it's 36 minutes), after I've done the final clean-up on the score.

The symphony has 3 main movements separated by interludes. This is a scrolling score video of the first of these interludes. Let me know what you think.

For those of you who (like me) who obsess on software, this was created in Sibelius and realized using NotePerformer and Spitfire Audio's BBCSO Core. I have since switched to BBCSO Pro, but the only instruments that effects in this excerpt are English Horn, Bass Clarinet, and Contrabassoon, which are the normal NotePerformer sounds. (You won't really notice them.) If anyone wants to discuss using the BBCSO sounds, I am willing to discuss. I had loads of problems getting it to work properly, the PRO version at least - it required a major upgrade of my already hi-end computer.



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                  • I think they kept the solo strings for the Pro version to make more people switch up to it. That was what swayed me. Unfortunately, you need monster hardware to run it. I could barely use it until I gave my computer a major upgrade. I still can't use many of its mic placements. Wallender recommend using only Mix 1. I did have some luck using the Core Mix 1 (Ambient) with a few Pro Ambient instruments, but choosing the full Pro Ambient set caused a crash about 95% the way through my Sym No. 3, in the same place it was peaking to using 9 threads in a mix of Core and Pro sounds before I upgraded. I can't upgrade much more than I have, maybe up to 128GB of RAM, but I'm maxed out on my processor. (24 cores/32 threads).

                    Concerning the quartet, I'm glad you liked it. When I revised it, I had to make some compromises on the glissandi. It was never performed. The quartet that I wrote it for broke up before I even finished it. That seems to be a common theme with me. The Quartet who premiered No 1 had broken up before they performed it, and had a couple of temporary new members for the concert, which was their last hurrah.  At least the recording was adequate. The quartet who played No 3 (not recorded) have disappeared without a trace. No 4 is an arrangement of 3 movements from Labyrinth that I made for a competition, which it didn't win. No 5 won a competition, but the performance was canceled because of the pandemic. I'm hesitant to write a 6th.

                    I'm in the process of revising No 1, which also has some glissandi, but they don't sound great because they are more exposed, and one important one is very wide (which doesn't work). I still haven't set No 3, initially because it had loads of quarter-tones. It should theoretically sound OK. Many of my early computer typeset pieces were done in Score, which will be difficult to transfer to Sibelius (or whatever). I used Sibelius 5 to translate Sym 3 from Score, but there were so many problems that I might have been better served keying it from scratch, which is what I will probably do with my sax concerto and my violin concerto.

                    • to be honest, on sale the upgrade to BBC Pro is only around €300. To get a new computer to run it would cost at least 5x that. In fact very likely more from what you are saying as running it with NPPE uses even more resources than natively through VE Pro for instance. Probably with minimal mics. I might be able to run a string quartet only but that would seem a bit daft as you can't buy it separately. Some people (including Mike Hewer) are quite impressed with the Sacconi but solo strings are a challenge and probably ideally you need to mix articulations from different libraries which is a logistical nightmare in notation software which of course is instrument rather than track based.


                    • I built my own desktop, and the upgrade was more like $1200. I probably could have built the whole computer for about $1400, but I was able to save a few things. A laptop that would run it would be prohibitively expensive.

                      I've been working on a playback for Str Qt No 4 and it is almost ready. There are problems with the glissandi again, of which there are fewer, but I might try forcing native NP4 glissandi by adding extra staves for them. I'll see if that improves them.

                    • Stephen have you checked out Xsamples for glisses? I bought them with a view to using them to programme my 4tet but in the end didn't use them so much. I'm not in the studio now, so can't check them out but it might be worthwhile checking their website to see if there's anything useful - they do have some  FX artics that are less commonplace iirc which is why I went for them.

                      David's mentioned SFA's Sacconi which I do like, mainly for the Wigmore Hall ambience but some artics are useful, even if they are just the usual ones. For my 4tet programming, I had about 3-4 sample sets available, plus me plucking real instruments where I could. 

                    • I haven't looked at them seriously. My upgrade has sent me way over budget, and they would probably mean venturing into DAW-land. The ones I have are all old versions, so that would mean more expenditure and lots of time learning how to use it properly.

                      I just finished tweaking the playback of my fourth quartet. I ended up removing many of the glissandi. Some of them were doing strange things in NP4, even without the PE. There was also a sticking C# about 10 bars from the end, which I could only solve by deleting a slur. NP still has problems interpreting slurs, unfortunately, as well as over-emphasizing the top notes of some phrases. I'll post it in my playlist, when I am reasonably happy with it. I've had to get rid of a few of the slurs in the last movement because Sibelius was distorting them.  Some of the playback file has really strange-looking phrasing just to take out some of the bumps and bruises that NP4 leaves.

                    • I was close to getting XSamples contemporary solo strings which does have a Sibelius soundset for easy integration into that software (in Dorico, it's easy to create your own). As my style is usually more romantic, I in the end decided that the library was missing depth in certain standard articulations but for contemporary music like you are writing, it will almost certainly be worth investigating as there's a raft of more out of the way artics. The library is easy on system resources and not unduly expensive, though sales are infrequent. I've by no means ruled it out for the future.


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