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Topic: Is it Live...or is it GPO?

  1. #1

    Is it Live...or is it GPO?

    Some of you may remember a while back I posted an mp3 of a work for Pipe Organ, Postlude on "Melanchthon". The Postlude is the last part of a three-part work commissioned by the Organ Artists Series of Pittsburgh, which was premiered on May 2, 2004 at Heinz Chapel. If you're interested, you can read the concert review that appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (scroll down to Organ Artists Series).

    Previously, I had posted two mp3 versions of the Postlude. The first version was produced by exporting midi files out of Finale, importing the midi data into Sonar 3, parsing, massaging and otherwise cleaning up the midi data before finally exporting to mp3 (using two instances of GPO Player and the "Church" preset of Garritan Ambience reverb). The second version was streamed directly out of GPO Studio from the same Finale source file, same GPO Player setups, same Garritan Ambience preset used to produce the first version.

    Now, for the sake of comparison, I'm happy to provide an mp3 from the live performance by organist, Richard Elliott, one of three fulltime organists at the Mormon Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, UT. Just for fun, I'll leave it up to you to decide which version was recorded live, which was streamed from GPO Studio, and which was processed through Sonar first (this is the honor system, no fair looking at the url's):

    A. Postlude on "Melanchthon"
    B. Postlude on "Melanchthon"
    C. Postlude on "Melanchthon"

    It's really not very hard to tell which is the live recording (at least to my ears), but not for the reasons you might think. Both GPO versions sound completely convincing when compared to the live recording. Differences I hear are in the following areas:

    - Heinz Chapel, when filled with an audience, has less reverb than the Ambience "Church" preset creates

    - as in all live performances, there's the usual slip of the finger, etc.

    - Richard's performance and mine differ in areas of tempo, legato, etc., but those are decisions I freely give to the performer. Even though I was present at dress rehearsal, I stayed out of the way. My feeling has always been that I can't be at every performance of my music, so if the piece doesn't sound good when in the hands of a competent (especially a professional) musician, there's likely something wrong with the music

    - lastly, in the GPO versions, you can't hear the fat guy shifting his weight in the pew right in front of the mics (Gary, maybe this is something Tom could work on - I think VAR 1 is free on the Pipe Organ Instruments!)

    So, I hope you found this comparison fun. I can't express the confidence I had going into the dress rehearsal, absolutely knowing what my music should sound like, before I ever heard a note of it live. Awesome!

    For those of you interested, I'm putting the finishing touches on part one of a tutorial, GPO & Writing for Pipe Organ.

    The tutorial is organized into three parts:

    I. The Pipe Organ as an instrument (how writing for it is different than other instruments)
    II. Setting up GPO for the Pipe Organ
    III. Realizing a musical example using GPO

    The text is done, I just need to get my musical examples and digital photos in order.

  2. #2

    Re: Is it Live...or is it GPO?

    Glenn, This was great fun to hear the comparison. I wish I could have been there to hear it. Another giveaway is the sudden swell nearing the climax in the real version. In yours, the piece more gently builds to the climax. Your counterpoint is extraordinary. Whenever I listen to this it makes me want to stop what I’m doing, which is usually some menial task, and pick up a pencil.

    Personally, I don’t feel Mr. Elliott gave your piece enough practice. Although the performance was adequate, it sounded as if he was sight-reading rather than playing from a thorough knowledge of your piece. If I had been that reviewer, I would have ripped him for a rather lackluster performance. Well, he almost did. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    I’m so looking forward to your tutorial. Although I have some grasp of many instruments’ possibilities, the organ is one that has always been somewhat elusive.

    Congratulations on writing a lovely work, and good luck with the future of it.

  3. #3

    Re: Is it Live...or is it GPO?

    G Rudolph, without sounding like I have a bible growing out of my armpit,, and I\'m not at all ashamed to admit my love for God, I just heard the majesty of Him!


    I love your music!

    The pipe organ truly is the King of instruments


  4. #4

    Re: Is it Live...or is it GPO?


    Excellent composition! I really like the harmonies ~1:20 and repeated ~1:50. The form covers a lot of ground for the length of the piece and works quite well. I especially liked the 3-voice fugal exposition after the theme is stated. Also, the initial discord (i.e., the first chord and its resolution) is a real attention getter.

    The main difference between live and Memorex is the live version sounds much more open, almost velvety in comparison. I can\'t tell if it\'s necessarily an eq thing or due to the nature of the sample. I\'m assuming the GPO organ was sampled in stereo. If not, that may be what I\'m hearing. The GPO version sounds great, nonetheless.

    And as Karl indicated, the organist is much more aggressive in his registration choices as he builds toward the coda, but that may be a matter of personal taste. I just love it when an organist cranks the thing, as long as it fits the material, and in this case it sounds like it does.

    It\'s so gratifying to see a performance-oriented GPO composer transmit his efforts to the concert hall and to learn what a great help that GPO can be in making that transition. The ability to do a comparison between the working sketch and a live performance is invaluable. Thanks for providing this opportunity!

  5. #5
    Senior Member CString's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004

    Re: Is it Live...or is it GPO?

    Hey Glenn,

    I just stumbled into your post and noticed you are a fellow Pittsburgher. I used lived near Natrona Heights for a couple of years but I\'m in Monroeville now. Small world eh?

    I have not listened to your piece yet but I will check it out when I get a chance. I did my masters in comp at Duquense (with David Stock, counterpoint w/ Joe Jenkins); and, was there before Brady left for Utah, though, I didn\'t have much contact with him. I currently teach over at CCAC Boyce (where I also conduct the choir).

    Let me know when you\'ve got something being premiered around town. My wife and I would be more than happy to add a couple of extra butts to the seats - not always an easy thing to do in Pittsburgh. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    Are any of your choir works relatively easy to perform? If so, maybe you can send me a score to read through and I can see if my choir is capable of doing it justice. Keep in mind it\'s a fairly small ensemble. I average about 25 in any given semester. In order to prevent a huge thread here, drop me an email. chads@adelphia.net


  6. #6

    Re: Is it Live...or is it GPO?

    Well its been proven again! That GPO organ, combined with the other keyboards and the harps, is well worth the price of the entire GPO. This shows a tremendous value Gary has brought us.

    He could double the price and still be a fantastic value!

  7. #7

    Re: Is it Live...or is it GPO?


    Thanks for your comments, you\'re all very kind.

    I could probably get closer to the live version with GPO if I added a bit more dry sound to the mix, perhaps reducing the reverb tail, as well. I think this would help, but probably not entirely get the open sound you describe.


    Sent you a email. I\'d be happy to mail you some scores. I\'d like to discuss your experience at Duquesne, too, as I\'m considering heading there to complete my Master\'s, as well.

    Cheers all!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Orcas Island

    Re: Is it Live...or is it GPO?


    Extraordinary! I too wish I could have been there and I appreciate your bringing a part of your concert to us.

    One of the reasons I designed GPO was for this very purpose. To give musicians a sketch pad to get a good idea of what their work will sound like before commiting to the real thing. I don\'t think samples will ever replace real musicians but they do provide excellent tools to help master the art.

    I agree that you could probably get closer to the live version with GPO. Perhaps some custom impulses would help.And, of course, samples of the fat guy shifting his weight in the pew.

    The comparison was fun and I appreciate your taking the time and trouble to do this.

    Looking forward to your tutorial, \"GPO & Writing for Pipe Organ\".

    Thanks again,

    Gary Garritan

  9. #9
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    West Seneca, NY

    Re: Is it Live...or is it GPO?

    Awesome! Always loved the massive sound of the pipe organ! Used to sit right below the one at the church I attended as a boy. (Mom was singing in the choir). Would have been nice to be there.
    Very nice indeed!

  10. #10

    Re: Is it Live...or is it GPO?


    I missed this while I was on vacation. The new server has, unfortunately, broken all the links. Could you possibly re-post this with new links? I'd very much like to hear the comparison. Thanks.


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