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Topic: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto #2 for Concert Band (without the piano, no less)

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  1. #1
    Senior Member 4209fr's Avatar
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    Rachmaninov Piano Concerto #2 for Concert Band (without the piano, no less)

    Hi, ya'll -
    I have been frustrated in getting some musical help with something for my 'major' project for a month, now, so I decided to move a piece I hinted at a month ago higher on my priority list. If David ("Leaf") is looking in, here is the Rachmaninov Piano Concerto #2 (1st movement).

    Hey, and I don't even use a piano! It took a Grand Marimba, a Marimba, and 2 Xylophones to get the job done. Since these instruments sound a little "clunky" when 'exposed', I use a Vibraphone to give it a little more pleasant sound when the 'piano' would otherwise have a 'naked' solo or be playing with very few other instruments.

    The concert band is also not the 'outrageous' assembly of instruments (like a subcontrabass sax, etc.) that I have been using ("kid in the candy store" sort of thing). It is the common, garden-variety concert band. I even used a bassoon and oboe - which I dislike to do with a concert band (odd, coming from an old 'fagot' player).

    I hope that I got a reasonable reverb. It sounded too dry and I kept cranking up the wetness.

    Also, cc1 is not as 'radical' as I have been using (but still, "continuous").

    So please let me know how I am coming on some of these issues.

    Frank

    http://www.box.net/shared/z79crnr8ks
    Frank Newman - Houston, Texas, USA, Earth, Milky Way (for our 'extended' viewership)
    Vista Ult SP2, i7 chipset, 12Gb, 500Gb (int) + 1 & 1.5Tb ext., E-MU 1820, Sonar 8.5PE, VSampler, CME UF5, AcousModules (for 3D playback), GPO/JBB/CMB

  2. #2
    Senior Member June-Bug-Dan's Avatar
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    Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto #2 for Concert Band (without the piano, no less)

    Quote Originally Posted by 4209fr View Post
    Hi, ya'll -
    I have been frustrated in getting some musical help with something for my 'major' project for a month, now, so I decided to move a piece I hinted at a month ago higher on my priority list. If David ("Leaf") is looking in, here is the Rachmaninov Piano Concerto #2 (1st movement).

    Hey, and I don't even use a piano! It took a Grand Marimba, a Marimba, and 2 Xylophones to get the job done. Since these instruments sound a little "clunky" when 'exposed', I use a Vibraphone to give it a little more pleasant sound when the 'piano' would otherwise have a 'naked' solo or be playing with very few other instruments.

    The concert band is also not the 'outrageous' assembly of instruments (like a subcontrabass sax, etc.) that I have been using ("kid in the candy store" sort of thing). It is the common, garden-variety concert band. I even used a bassoon and oboe - which I dislike to do with a concert band (odd, coming from an old 'fagot' player).

    I hope that I got a reasonable reverb. It sounded too dry and I kept cranking up the wetness.

    Also, cc1 is not as 'radical' as I have been using (but still, "continuous").

    So please let me know how I am coming on some of these issues.

    Frank

    http://www.box.net/shared/z79crnr8ks
    Hey Frank,

    This is a very nice arrangement.
    Its always nice to hear the pitched purcussion used well and to its best.
    I thought all the instruments sounded very 'real' in this arrangement.
    Hope to hear more soon.

    Regards,
    Dan.
    Trumpet, cornet, flugel player. Composer and student.

  3. #3

    Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto #2 for Concert Band (without the piano, no less)

    Hi, Frank

    This is sounding significantly improved to me, as compared to your last post. You asked about the reverb--Much better, it sound much more natural. And the volume dynamics aren't pumping away like last time, so that also seems like a successful adjustment to me.

    I enjoyed the listening experience very much in fact.

    The only stickler for me was when your tuned percussion instruments are playing in the higher octaves, like in the opening. I honestly couldn't identify what they were until they came into a more reasonable range--up in the stratosphere they sounded to me like some sound effect that I couldn't put my finger on. I think limiting the octave jumps, contrary to the original score, could be a worthy experiment.

    Unique project, Frank - I admire what you're doing here.

    Randy B.

  4. #4
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
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    Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto #2 for Concert Band (without the piano, no less)

    It's a nice arrangement and pretty inventive.

    It all sounds really good but I do agree with Randy about taking what ever it was down an octave at the beginning.



    Phil

  5. #5
    Senior Member 4209fr's Avatar
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    Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto #2 for Concert Band (without the piano, no less)

    Hi, Phil and Randy -
    Since I take your comments very seriously, I took a look at the xylo parts at the beginning (their first 90, or so, measures). For both parts, the notes run the entire range of the instrument (F above middle C to C'''' - or whatever that octave is). There are numerous octave jumps in the 1st to 2nd notes in the runs. I think it would be distasteful to move the upper part of the run down an octave so that the first two notes are the same, though. There is a natural break between the 5th and 6th notes of most runs. But, again, to move the upper 'half' of the run down an octave would, I think, make it sound a little 'artificial'. I noticed that (at least) at one point, the end of one run was the highest xylo note and the beginning of the next run was the lowest xylo note (with its run ending just a few notes below the very highest note).

    Ya, maybe it would sound better an octave lower, but short of adding another couple of marimbas (to be able to sound notes an octave lower than the xylos), then having to switch from marimba to xylos mid-run in order to get the high octave that is above the marimbas' range, or, having it sound 'funky' because of the alterations in the runs, I don't see a solution, here.

    Frank
    Frank Newman - Houston, Texas, USA, Earth, Milky Way (for our 'extended' viewership)
    Vista Ult SP2, i7 chipset, 12Gb, 500Gb (int) + 1 & 1.5Tb ext., E-MU 1820, Sonar 8.5PE, VSampler, CME UF5, AcousModules (for 3D playback), GPO/JBB/CMB

  6. #6

    Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto #2 for Concert Band (without the piano, no less)

    Hi, Frank

    Thanks for considering the suggestion. I can see it would be difficult to fix the problem with the instrumentation you're using. Considering the strange, practically unidentifiable sound of the Xylo in that highest octave, I guess it just seems to be an impractical octave to have sustained passages in. Actually, I've noticed before that high Xylo notes sound very odd played with any sample I've tried, not just those in Garritan.

    Oh well! - I guess it's just a limit to how completely successfully some pieces can translate into some new settings.

    Randy B.

  7. #7

    Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto #2 for Concert Band (without the piano, no less)

    I must say I didn't know quite what to expect from the
    title of this thread, Frank -- but the results... what an
    interesting (and, I must note, successful) adaptation of
    this! Well thought out, well arranged, and very well
    interpreted.

    Technically, there's real progress in the rendering on
    this, Frank. Much of it is quite, quite good. A little
    more finesse with levels, and little more tinkering with
    reverb (it's tricky with this kind of ensemble); and
    maybe a little more attention to panning of some of
    the instruments.

    As I've undoubtedly said a hundred or more times in
    this forum, we all struggle to gain proficiency at this;
    it takes time and (just like playing a real instrument),
    ear-training and persistence and practice. But you're
    definitely hitting stride, here, Frank!

    My best,



    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

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