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Topic: It's baa-aack; The Return of the Concerto Project

  1. #1

    It's baa-aack; The Return of the Concerto Project

    Thank you to everyone who PM'd or e-mailed me to ask what happened to this thing. I know I haven't posted anything about this for months. It's just that there was too much going on. Spring was unusually busy with gigs and a heavier than usual teaching schedule, and other things. For the sake of my sanity, I had to put a bunch of stuff on hold for a while, and of course they had to be the things I wasn't making money at.

    I finally got some breathing space last month, and got back into it. What I'm posting here is a rough mix of the first three and a half minutes of the concerto. Keep in mind that this isn't the final mix yet. There are a few balance issues, but mainly need to work on improving the sound. I've done nothing with EQ or compression yet, and I'm a little hesitant to dive into that. At this point in my life, I think I've gotten orchestration pretty well figured out, but as far as sound engineering goes, I feel like I'm still feeling my way around in the dark. I think I need to listen closely to this several times before I have any idea what to do in this area. In the meantime I welcome any suggestions.

    First, here's the full orchestration (the first two minutes or so are solo piano, the orchestra enters later).

    Piano Concerto No. 2, part 1, full orchestra (version 1)

    Also, to help me zero in on certain issues, I made stems for each section of the orchestra (except timpani, which didn't seem worth the trouble).

    Piano Concerto No. 2, part 1, woodwinds only Principal woodwinds are all Westgate, second chairs are GPO.

    Piano Concerto No. 2, part 1, brass only Horn 1 is Westgate, Horn 2 is Project SAM, Horns 3 & 4 and both trumpets are from Vienna Kontakt Library.

    Piano Concerto No. 2, part 1, strings only I used Vienna Chamber Strings for my main string library, overlaid with the Garritan Strad as concertmaster, and several solo strings from GPO, 2 in each section. I want to use the Garritan Gofriller Cello as principal cello, but I have to order it first, which I will probably do soon. I also want to use the Garritan Pallota Viola as principal viola, but who knows when that will be coming out?

    I'll post some of my own thoughts on the sound as soon as I've had time to listen to everything a few times. Meanwhile, I welcome any comments and suggestions.
    Dan Powers

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  2. #2

    Re: It's baa-aack; The Return of the Concerto Project

    After listening several times over the last couple of days, I've noticed several things that need my attention.

    1. I hadn't noticed before, but there seems to be a distinct differnce in timbre between the first piano entrance and the second. (I'm not imagining it, am I?) I'm guessing the reason might be that I accidentally used a different preset (on the PMI Bosendorfer) when I bounced MIDI clips to audio. Oh, well, that should be easily fixed. I should probably re-do all the MIDI clips over, just to be safe.

    2. I hear a kind of "clicking" sound in the first piano passage. No idea what caused it. It actually isn't that bad, just sounds like hall noise or something. Still, I should probably try to figure out where it's coming from. Any ideas?

    3. Clarinets seem to be a bit high in the mix. I'll dial them back a little.

    4. I can't hear second oboe at all. Possibly I just overlooked it.

    5. Horn 1 doesn't blend with the other horns as well as I'd like. Also, it needs a bit more attention to expression. Probably a bit too loud, too.

    6. Horns 3 & 4 sound a bit bright, almost like trombones. Maybe some EQ will help.

    7. Strings sound pretty good to me, except that the Garritan Stradivarius might be a little overpowering in the first violins.

    8. The sound is kind of two-dimensional, probably because I'm just shooting everything through a single instance of the Pristine Space reverb that came bundled with Sonar. I plan to work on this, maybe using Gigapulse (which I have) or Altiverb if I can ever afford it. I think, though, I may hold off on this until all the recording is done.

    I'll fix what I can and post another excerpt in a day or two.
    Dan Powers

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  3. #3

    Re: It's baa-aack; The Return of the Concerto Project

    Hey D. P.,
    I'm glad of your progress on your Concerto. Note that while I only listened to it once on the 19th, I agree with what you wrote in your second post. I think you may wish to consider applying a modwheel filter (or another method) on some of the brass to vary the attack timbres, and perhaps a few of the prominent sustains.
    I highly suggest that you try a surround mix if you have the facilities in Sonar. I have Sonar 5.2 Producer Edition and have done a Dolby Pro-Logic surround song before with the Sonitus Surround placement plugin. I had the guitarists walking around the listener, and it sounded more engaging than stereo. In that particular song, I decided to significantly change the tone of the duet of instruments as well, so I used seperate customized instances of Lexicon Pantheon Surround reverb on each of the instruments to transform the close-microphoned samples into the listener's perspective and I think one instance of PerfectSpace convolution reverb on the whole mix for the room about the listener. If one has 6.2 PE, one can have performers in 5.1 instead of Pro-Logic, although I'm not sure whether they can move around. However, Pro-Logic maintains compatibility with 2-channel stereo, and monoraul playback devices which may work best for most listeners.
    I have trouble going back to 2 channel stereo. (Although I left it in a rough and short form, if you want to listen to the song, I can provide a link to it for you.)
    I'll listen to your refinement after you post it, too.

  4. #4

    Re: It's baa-aack; The Return of the Concerto Project

    The modwheel filter sounds like a good idea. I'll give it a try. (Hopefully I can work on this tonight. I start teaching tomorrow morning, though, so my priority has to be getting prepared for that.)

    I'm not set up for a surround mix, I'm afraid. Maybe someday I can be.

    Thanks for your ideas.
    Dan Powers

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

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