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Topic: ZUZAX FANTASY --Garritan Steinway

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  1. #1

    ZUZAX FANTASY --Garritan Steinway

    About seven years ago or so, I purchased Gary Garritan’s GOS and was absolutely thrilled with the sound quality and functionality of the collection. So in December, during the go-around-sale, I didn’t hesitate to jump on the pre-sale of the Steinway. I didn’t have to hear any demos, I knew it would be excellent,---and boy-- I wasn’t disappointed. I LOVE this piano; it’s so expressive. Thanks Gary!!!!

    Unfortunately, when the Steinway arrived at my door, my busiest time of year for work had already come a’knock’n. I’m a landscape designer and when spring, springs, it’s HI-HO, HI-HO off to work 12 hour days and six day weeks. Needless to say, I never got to use the Steinway. Finally though, work has abated and I can finally get back to composition and after hearing Yudit’s rendering a few weeks ago, the match I needed to start the fire under my fingers-ignited. Composing I a went.


    As I said, I’m just thrilled with this Steinway. So easy to use, no clicks, pops, or other negativities usually associated with samples and their players. Aria is great . I only had one problem. When I play this piece on my acoustic piano, I use copious half-pedaling throughout. However, I couldn’t get the proportionate pedaling to work, so some of the pedaling isn’t exact as I would like it to be, but Jun wrote me and informed me that this will be corrected in a future update, then I can revise the piece.

    So… What in the heck is Zuzax fantasy. Well, to begin with, it’s a free form fantasy with four melodies that continually intertwine throughout the piece. What holds it together in part, is the use of double repeated notes, over and over again throughout the melodic line of three of the melodies. The fourth melody is completely different, I call it the majestic theme which relates to the Sandia mountains which loom over my home. The piece is fused with jazz, new-age, and classical riffs throughout, along with native American Indian and Spanish flourishes.

    Why all this you may ask? (Even if your not asking, I’m going to tell you)

    Zuzax is where I live….well, sort of. (more on this in a moment) This is a very personal piece. It really reflects all my feelings of why I love where I live. New Mexico is rich in Spanish and American Indian culture and heritage. (I live only three miles from where the Apache ( and then later the Comanche) attacked the Spanish in raids at Carnuel pass.)

    The jazz element comes from a jazz club which is about five miles from me and one of my favorite weekend retreats. They play lots of light jazz, Vince Guaraldi vintage, which I love.

    The majestic theme relates to the Sandia Mountains and the phenomenal sunsets which never cease to amaze me in color and variety—partly why New Mexico is called the land of enchantment.

    The new age aspect stems from all the spirituality that flows here, can’t help but feel it. Lots of crystals and such are sold here for their spiritual properties.
    But the word Zuzax is bit of a mystery in itself. The exit off of Interstate 40 where I live is called the Zuzax exit. However, there is no street by that name anywhere. There is also no village, or residential area which is associated with that name. In fact, when asking around, I find there is no Zuzax anything except the exit. The mystique of this elusive Zuzax is not forgotten when I wrote this piece.

    I could drone on about how the fabric of this piece reflects my homeland and experiences. Don’t worry… I’ll stop. ……..Okay, one more.

    Right after the waltz variation, there is a quiet lull and then a huge crashing chord with ensuing frenetic, almost panic feeling to the music. When the monsoon season starts in New Mexico, about mid July, you get lots of dry lightening which can come out of nowhere. Such was the case three weeks ago when I stepped outside to go to my studio. I usually always look above to see if any monster clouds are present—this time I did not. The sky was blue in all directions- except up. All of a sudden lightening came down a 100 feet from me and hit the transformer. I ran, jumped, tripped, pole vaulted back amongst the subsequent flurry of lightening flashes to the house. Quite sure I broke a new world record for the 440 sprint.

    At any rate, I hope you enjoy the Zuzax Fantasy, that is, if you can endure its 16 minute length.

    Used “under the lid” perspective, the tone and ambience sectors are turned off. Used a slight reverb plug-in for presence.

    Cass


    ZUZAX FANTASY

  2. #2

    Re: ZUZAX FANTASY --Garritan Steinway

    Cass,

    I just finished listening, and am blown away, in utter awe of this piece -- compositionally and performance-wise.

    I think it's a valid point of interest and curiosity to compare one's occupation vis-a-vis the music they happen to write. It's obvious that you're an artist year-round (after hearing this piece, I'd love to see what you can do with a piece of land). The creativity, artistry and multi-dimensionality of Zuzax is unsurpassed by any of the Steinway pieces I've heard thus far in the forum -- and there have been some absolutely outstanding ones, as I'm sure you know. Yes, it's 16 minutes, but such a perfunctory "measurement" of this piece is inconsequential; once I began listening, the quality of your music made me totally unaware of any time element whatsoever.

    Congratulations on this. I am more than impressed!

    Danny

  3. #3

    Re: ZUZAX FANTASY --Garritan Steinway

    Outstanding writing, Mr. Cass! I enjoyed all sixteen listenable minutes of it. You have a marvelous style of composing that I admire. The Steinway sounds great also!

    Thank you for sharing your excellent music with us.

    My best,

    Larry
    Larry G. Alexander
    www.alexandermusic.com

  4. #4

    Re: ZUZAX FANTASY --Garritan Steinway



    I have only one word:



    I was so glad to see your post! You did it!

    It feels like all your pent-up desire to compose and play with the Steinway has come out all at once.

    Very energetic parts alternating with gentle ones (I loved especially those!), and it all makes a very interesting tapestry of sound. Some very original parts woven into the mesh of it all.

    You must have an excellent keyboard and you are an excellent pianist!

    It was also interesting to read about the background of how it was created.

    I'm happy that I had some small part in the realization of this work.


  5. #5

    Re: ZUZAX FANTASY --Garritan Steinway

    Cass

    Perhaps you should take more breaks. If you can always come back with pieces like this.

    It sounds like you got the new Steinway down pat.

    Nice work

    Ron
    "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." Albert Einstein

    http://composersforum.ning.com/profile/RonaldFerguson

  6. #6

    Re: ZUZAX FANTASY --Garritan Steinway

    Quote Originally Posted by DDW View Post
    Cass,

    I just finished listening, and am blown away, in utter awe of this piece -- compositionally and performance-wise.


    Danny
    Danny, Thanks for the kind words. I have a terrible inferiority complex when it comes to composing music. Having really no formal training, I just write what I feel, not knowing what I’m doing half the time. I’m in total awe when I listen to compositions like yours, Ron’s, David’s and others on this forum who actually know how to compose. In truth, I end of throwing away 75 to 80 percent of my works because they’re just plain horrible. So your encouragement goes a long way for me….thanks.

    Speaking of truths, I have to enlighten YOU ALL (not from Texas but close enough) about the performance of this piece. Yes, I’m a fairly good pianist, but not that good. I can only play the hard sections of this piece in real time about half speed. Playing a piece on a acoustic piano helps in capturing those inflections and emotions created by, cres, rit., phrasing, dynamics, accel, etc.. in just the right amount and placement, which I did on this piece. But in actuality, Zuzax was made entirely by imputing midi note by note and adjusting controllers and such. I use Sonar.

    And Danny, by the way, I always enjoy reading your posts to others. Not only do you have a gift of composition, you have a great command of the English language. Your responses are always elegant, direct (in a good way), and just plain fun to read. Thanks again for listening.

    Cass

  7. #7

    Re: ZUZAX FANTASY --Garritan Steinway

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry G. Alexander View Post

    Thank you for sharing your excellent music with us.

    My best,

    Larry
    Larry,
    I really enjoy all the various types and genres of music on this forum, such talent. Each fulfills a need in one’s life. I feel particularly blessed in that I REALLY enjoy all types of music and don’t limit myself to a few styles. You have so much more music to listen to that way. I have several of your pieces on hand and listen to them regularly…their really up lifting and fun. After a particular bad day when I feel down trodden and stressed out, I come home and put on music such as yours, it really helps to lift my spirit and get me back to being human. What else could you possibly ask for out of music? So thanks for your compliment and your music.

    Cass

  8. #8

    Re: ZUZAX FANTASY --Garritan Steinway

    Quote Originally Posted by sunbird View Post


    I'm happy that I had some small part in the realization of this work.

    You must have an excellent keyboard and you are an excellent pianist!



    Yudit,

    You actually had a LARGE part in realization of this work. If I hadn't heard your piece, I really doubt I would have written it because I'm backed up on so many things, having worked non-stop for the last 4 months. It all evens out though, in the winter, I don't work at all. I've become very efficient at budgeting my finances out of necessity. So, thanks again for adjusting my scheduling and putting music back at the top of my Queue..things to do list.

    As for the performance, as stated above in response to Danny, it is solely midi import. I don't have a midi keyboard anymore, broke down, so I have to either record with mics, or enter it by hand. A live recording kind of defeats the purpose of this forum and after toiling in the elements for 4 months, my finger technique has gone the way of the dinosaur..back to Hannon exercises for me. Thanks again.

    Cass

  9. #9

    Re: ZUZAX FANTASY --Garritan Steinway

    Quote Originally Posted by rolifer View Post
    Cass

    Perhaps you should take more breaks. If you can always come back with pieces like this.

    Ron

    You know Ron, I could say the same thing to you, judging from your creative output after your hiatus. Maybe we're on to something?

    Cass

  10. #10

    Re: ZUZAX FANTASY --Garritan Steinway

    Cass:

    A very large, Steinway undertaking and one that is
    really magnificent.

    The piano sounded so well in your hands (MIDI input and all)
    and also made me aware of your GREAT skill in manipulating
    MIDI information and making it sound so real and alive.

    A great composition and an even greater reason to write it.



    BRAVO
    , Cass

    Jack
    Jack Cannon--MacBook Pro (2015, 13") GPO4/5, JABB3, Auth. STEINWAY, YAMAHA CFX, Gofriller CELLO, Stradivari VIOLIN, COMB2, WORLD, HARPS, PIPE ORGANS, FINALE 2014.5, Mac Pro 2.66 GHz CPU, 8 GB RAM, DP 9.5, MOTU Traveler, MOTU Micro Express, MacBook Pro (2012, 13") 2.2 Ghz CPU, 8 GB RAM.

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