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Topic: Comparing "live" and GPO recordings...

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  1. #1

    Comparing "live" and GPO recordings...

    Since it's come up a couple of times now, I thought it would be fun to compare some live recordings with GPO recordings.

    I was finally able to install a little programme to extract part of a CD of my cello sonata.

    So I have here the same excerpt, played once by GPO (from within Finale) and once by Marie-Anne Houle (cello) and Tan Trao Phi (piano) from a recording session last summer. This recording is on a CD that also features two wonderful pieces by our own professor Alan Belkin - his cello sonata and "Fantasies and Fugues" for solo piano.

    I find that solo string music, particularly music that is as demanding expressively as it is technically, is extremely difficult to render properly from within a notaion programme.

    I've had absolutely no trouble what so ever getting wonderfully life-like recordings of all of my woodwind music, or even orchestral scores, from GPO and Finale, but for some reason, solo string pieces, with all the intricacies involved in solo string playing, just doesn't come out that convincingly.

    I would be VERY curious to hear someone redo a recording of this piece using the Garritan Gofriller cello, particularly from within Finale 2008. Which is why I am also including the score pages of the excerpt in question in this thread.

    So without further ado, here is the Adagio movement (variation 6) from my Sonate opus 31, for cello and piano.

    Marie-Anne Houle, a graduate student at Université de Montréal, worked her fingers to the bone learning this extremely demanding virtuoso piece. Unfortunately, the recording for the CD was two months before the actual concert, so the recording isn't quite up to the wonderful performance she gave at the premiere concert.

    So here is Finale 2006, with the solo cello 1 KS from full-version GPO

    http://www.dosblanc.ca/music/example...adagio_GPO.mp3

    and here are Marie-Anne Houle and Tan Trao Phi from the CD "Violoncelle et piano: musique de chambre de Belkin, Levesque, et Edward"

    http://www.dosblanc.ca/music/example...dagio_live.mp3

    and the score for those who are curious

    http://www.dosblanc.ca/music/example...agio_score.pdf

    The score contains only that single movement.

  2. #2

    Re: Comparing "live" and GPO recordings...

    Hello, Michel

    I always find these side-by-side comparisons between GPO and live recordings extremely interesting. Excellent idea, posting these two files for us.

    This is a wonderfully evocative piece, full of rich emotion and thoughtfulness. It's very edifing to listen to it.

    Just as you suggest in your text, the comparison between the live Cello and the GPO Cello demonstrates a very vivid contrast. In ensemble, the GPO solo strings can do just fine, but they simply don't have the complexity to stand up to especially favorable comparison with their real life counterparts.

    Your wish for someone to try a rendition of this, playing the piece on the Garritan Gofriller Cello is a very good idea which I hope someone agrees to work on. That incredible virtual instrument will compete much more fairly with the beautiful performance Marie-Anne Houle puts in on this recording.

    I'll be watching this thread with interest--I hope a Gofriller owner takes you up on the challenge.

    Thanks again for posting this gorgeous piece, and the chance to compare the two recordings you posted.

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)

  3. #3
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    Re: Comparing "live" and GPO recordings...

    Michel,

    Lovely work you have chosen for this comparison. I have myself compared the output of GPO against live records a few times. The Corelli "Fuga" I posted here a few months ago is a good example. I think that the GPO very really gave the CD that I have a good run for its money. And the GPO winds, as you said, are the very best.

    Thanks for sharing the work and the comparison with us.

    Gary

    www.garybricault.com

  4. #4

    Re: Comparing "live" and GPO recordings...

    Michel,

    First of all I wish to thank you (as well as the others) for this post.

    You are one of those people, who I'm really looking forward to seeing new threads in the Listening room! Few more, and I will no longer have time for myself, but just to listen to new works in here! Talk about busy forum!

    Onto the comparison.

    I know from Gary, that GPO, or his whole philosophy is not to take over the jobs of live musicians! But to enhance the experience of those who don't have access to performers like Marie and Tan Tao. And for that his instruments are excellent (actually, his solo strings, are great. I have the strad! And I'm really looking forward to the new generation that will come out from his hands).

    Enough about Gary though.

    This part of the sonata is great! Very sentimental and the suddent switch of tonality in the middle works great! There is little to say, or give feedback for really! It is just a great piece.

    And, to bluntly advertise you a bit, since I've heard the whole sonata (amazing 18 minutes long (almost 18 that is)), I have to say that the whole sonata is a masterpiece. And I will be getting it in CD format, since I'm also interested to the other tracks included in the CD!

    Enough about that as well.

    I've always had great feelings about the steinway in GPO. The sound is very warm, and although I have 2 great pianos in my studio, I am always impressed with the sound. Sadly I can't say the same for the solo violoncello. But this is why the Gofriller is here, no? I do hope that someone will pick up this wonderful piece and make a mock-up with the Gofriller cello! (BTW, I find the clarinet in GPO fascinating).


    One final note. I don't have any recent Finale version, so I've no idea how the human playback works, but I find the playback, in this case, not very very good, while I've heard some amazing stuff, from other people, but from you as well (your clarinet sonata for example). Is this because of Finale, or is it because you didn't program it enough (since you had the live recording)? I hope you don't mind me asking!

  5. #5

    Re: Comparing "live" and GPO recordings...

    Interesting comparison. Thanks for posting it. One thing I noticed right away is that the volume and timbre of the real cellist's notes are changing mid-note.
    Vista / Sonar Home Studio 6 / GPO 2d edition / Melodyne Uno 1.8

  6. #6

    Re: Comparing "live" and GPO recordings...

    yes, with long bow strokes, she would alter her vibrato and the intensity of the pressure on the string mid-note.

    I love what she did with the slow movement of the sonata.

    honestly, there are some spots in the faster movements (like the sadistically difficult to play Cadenza) where I WASN'T quite as happy with her performance, and my "Yo Yo Ma in a box" gave a better performance.

  7. #7

    Re: Comparing "live" and GPO recordings...

    the funny thing is that If I were to put two excerpts from a fast movement, you would probably prefer the beautiful, perfect intonation of the GPO cello!

    I know *I* do!!!!

    Hearing the slow movement played by a synthetic cello was NEARLY the downfall of this entire sonata... I was *this* close to withdrawing it from my catalogue. To my ears it was too "corny" and "cliché" to suit my taste. It has a bit of a "Nadia's theme" quality to it which annoyed me (which should technicaly be "Cotton's Theme"... but this isn't the place to discuss the merits of renaming movie excerpts to glorify bratty Olympic gymnasts).

  8. #8

    Re: Comparing "live" and GPO recordings...

    Michel, I've quickly tried a performance of your wonderful sonata, using the Gofriller, though I'm an absolute beginner with it, so I couldn't be too accurate. I will try a better one as soon as I get better with the cello... I didn't intentionally listen to the live performance, in order to remain as unaffected as possible...

    http://www.robertosoggetti.com/SonataCello.mp3

  9. #9

    Re: Comparing "live" and GPO recordings...

    Quote Originally Posted by oldbob
    Michel, I've quickly tried a performance of your wonderful sonata, using the Gofriller, though I'm an absolute beginner with it, so I couldn't be too accurate. I will try a better one as soon as I get better with the cello... I didn't intentionally listen to the live performance, in order to remain as unaffected as possible...

    http://www.robertosoggetti.com/SonataCello.mp3
    wow!

    what more can I say but "wow!"

    that was really beautiful!

    I am curious how the Goffer cello would respond to being played from within a notation programme now... maybe I should invest a bit and get it for myself?

  10. #10

    Re: Comparing "live" and GPO recordings...

    Magnifico oldbob! I thought the piano playing was delightful too. I reckon qccowboy owes you a beer.
    Vista / Sonar Home Studio 6 / GPO 2d edition / Melodyne Uno 1.8

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