Here is my new piece Genesis II, for orchestra, choir and narrator . This is the first part, the exodus from space.
Unfortunately, the VSL choir cannot sing words or syllables. The language of the narrator is Dutch.
Men left earth some 200 years ago after he had completely ruined the planet. It had become an arid and waste place, uninhabitable. Humans thought that they could have a new start in space, somewhere on a 'world-like' planet, but they couldn't find such one. After a 200 years odyssey, they decided to return to earth, hoping that it would have restored itself into a safe and habitable world again. The longer the space journey lasted, the more the old stories about the earth they had left, tortured them and made them longing for such a brilliant planet. Finally they convinced themselves to return...
(All VSL instruments, choir - narrator text is in Dutch)
I really liked the idea. And I have been thinking of writing music with a narrator like this. So, how did you set the music against the narration? Did you specify the length first for the music part, and then you inserted the text in that spesific lenght, or you wrote the text first and the music would follow which ever the length of the text? I think the combination here is matched well.
Thanks for your reply.
In this case, I wrote the texts first (choir and narrator texts). For the narrator I read the text and measured the exact time at a quiet pace, so that it would be an avarage duration for every narrator. Than I composed the music (background) thus that a 4 bar section can be repeted if necessary. That way it's up to the conductor to choose the number of repeats so that the text fits perfectly in. Of course this should be reheased before...
Well it's a superb piece. In the absence of a score I can only comment on the audio.
It flows very well; accomplished instrumentation, well balanced particularly when the choir enters. The dynamics are well controlled and you some interesting doublings, notably where voices double instrumental lines - aound the 4 minute mark.
I also thought the balance between the orchestra and narrator was good, narration clear but without the orchestra falling back too far. Nice. (I didn't understand the narration but presume it's aligned with the italicised description.)
My only comment is the final build up/tutti came rather late. Just my reaction. I was somehow expecting it to build up - which it did at around 6 minutes.... and then just finished. Is it possible to prolong it a few bars more or start it earlier? However, if you're happy with it, it's your call obviously!
A most pleasant listen.
Very good observation. The end is indeed a bit sudden in its swell. Maybe I could reconsider an earlier orchestration swell. We'll see...
Thanks for your kind comment. At the moment, I'm reworking this first version a bit in depth and detail.
After the revision, there's a bit more presence and the final crescendo starts a little bit earlier in the brass section.
It has been added to the existing link.
I liked the disorientation trick at approx. 1 min. You could have made it even more
striking if you had played with the figures also. Your approach is rather loudness plus
orchestration I guess.
A work skilfully based on the beauty of a simple tune. Orchestration is noteworthy.
But misses contrasts. May be I missed the silent, thiny episodes. Also,
the counter theme(s) are not noteworthy as the main theme, I think.
The story itself appears to be more dramatic than the music.
But at the end of the day, it is a lot of work and sensitivity.
The main theme is strikingly beautiful!.
Thank you for sharing.
Note: I forgot tosay:
A work of this size, needs a further extended use of harmony even classical harmony.
The difficulty in creating contrast arises partly because of this, I believe.
I admire your insight in the composition. But again, as usual, it's mainly a matter of taste and musical purpose. (You were right in your obeservation about the lyrics). Here, the text is the most important part, but unfortunately nothing of the lyrics can be heard due to the choir library. I chose a simple theme, and not so much a counter theme. The loudness has to do with the threatening future full of uncertainty and doubt, although this is not a program work and nor will be the second part. Doubt is expressed by some subdued joy and expectation (rather simple baroque theme with single counter voice), doubt is rather fierce and unpleasant, even menacing. I don't think adding more refined harmony would play a role in here. Maybe the second part will have more and deeper expression. At the moment, I'm working on the texts and lyrics.
Thanks for your constructive comment and for the listen,
It's always a pleasure to listen to your work, Jos.
I can hardly add to my earlier comment. The scoring is as good as perfect as is your balancing the choir with the orchestra. At no point do they seem to be fighting. At around 4'54" when a reprise seems to happen, after the intro the woodwind writing is thoroughly accomplished - again great balance, well controlled when the orchestra falls back a little to let the lower voices have their say. Very nice use of staccato voices there. Then the build up to the final tutti.
I have to say you get some remarkable sound/realism from the VSL.
Only the smallest comment is that the narrator sounded a little 'back' in the ensemble. But that's just me. You may be happier not bringing him a little more to the front. Not sure why I didn't say it last time.
As an aside, I'm sick to the teeth of the VSL people. They're going to rip me off another £300 or so (most of it for a new 2TB SSD) just to accommodate their change to this ilok thing. Worse is having to download every sample library again. In fact it could be my 'last straw'.
Thanks again for your comment.
Regarding the voice: I had to do it myself at home with the computer mic. That's why it is soundoing a bit off the ensemble. But when the second part will be ready, I'll record all the voices (narrator) with a studio mic and put it where it belongs: in front of the orchestra.
As to the iLok story: that is simply on the account of Steinberg which didn't want to continue their own dongle key (the same for their own pruducts such as Cubase and Dorico). What bothers me more is the gigantic size of the Synchron instruments. You really need a super computer or a computer network to be able to playback an orchestra. In this recording, I simply had to divide up the orchestra and choir into separate sections (5 sections) and work with them totally separated, which means that I didn't hear the entire orchestra until after the instrumental recordings (stems) in wave format. Then I brought them all together to mix and balance. That is a very odd way of working and a lot more tedious labour. Before I've never done a composition like that! At the moment I have 4 SSDs of 1 TB with only VSL instruments (high speed ones) so that they can load very rapidly into my setup. You're absolutely right, VSL IS expensive, despite their sales now and then.
Hi again, Jos,
This VSL transition is causing a few problems. No doubt you'll already be following the MISSION ACCOMPLISHED thread. I fear for those using their products professionally. A few seem to be in trouble.
I'm raising it as a separate topic on the forum because it's scaring me witless!