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Topic: GOS1: Finale to Gotterdammerung (Wagner) by Arvid Hand

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  1. #1

    GOS1: Finale to Gotterdammerung (Wagner) by Arvid Hand

    WARNING: The file link below is for a WAVE file, NOT an MP3!!! It measures 49.2 Mb on Box.net for those who may have limited bandwidth. This is a special piece, so I put the full monte on my Box.net page.

    CORRECTION: It has come to my attention that many people cannot download the file described above because of file size limitations. I have now posted an MP3 version at the link shown beneath this paragraph. Since the original was created using the old WaveLab 3, I went back and used WaveLab3 to produce this MP3, and it's pretty decent. Not as good as the full monte, but it's okay. When I listen to it at home in the Windows Media Player, I boost the bass in the 125 Hertz range about 1.5 notches, and all of the treble knobs by about 1/2 notch. (This applies to both the .WAV and .MP3 files.) Here's the MP3 link:

    Finale to Gotterdammerung

    Now here's the story:

    In 2002, after my disastrous experiences with the creation of "Buddha Meets the Moos-sician" (see the "Buddha" thread in the Listening Room and other posts scattered around) I received my notice back from ASCAP in February 2002 that I was not a winner in the 2001 composition contest, which was expected, but still depressing when you find out for sure! So I had no projects on the board and was studying Wagner's orchestration techniques used in the Ring Cycle.

    On April 25, 2002, the postman brought me my long-awaited package with the original Garritan Orchestral Strings library (16 CDs!!! followed by 4 Update CDs at various intervals). I was so excited, but had no project in mind for it, but I did have the score in my hand to "Gotterdammerung." So, I decided to pick an arbitrary location near the end of Gotterdammerung and see how closely I could come to a recording of the Finale that I had by the Berlin Philharmonic under Herbert von Karajan. (My spellings might be off, but who cares?) There are two major alterations in this piece that you will never hear anywhere else: (1) I added some tubular bells to about four bars near the end (they start at about 3:20 on my machine), and (2) the harp arpeggios at the very end are rhythmically erratic because I got careless and ran out of time for those arpeggios! (If I remember correctly, they're shown as "ad lib" on the score.) These items make this recording unique, aside from the fact that it was lovingly produced on my very first professional-quality home studio using SONAR 1 XL(!), WaveLab 3, GigaStudio 2.5 and, of course, good old GOS1.

    There were some absolutely horrendous intonation problems in dealing with samples from so many different sources, but I was trying to find the very best individual instruments I could find, and that is probably what took longer than any other part of the mixing process. I finally finished that recording six-and-a-half months later, on Nov. 17, 2002, and this is it, featuring the original GOS1 library. The rest of the instrument samples came from various sources, including, but not limited to, EW, XSample and Siedlaczek collections. I still have about six CDs containing the original recordings I made (I recorded each instrument separately and used a process I have described somewhere else already and don't want to repeat it all here). The audio card I used was the famous Aardvark DirectPro 24/96, which I still have, but the company disappeared around 2006 and there are no up-to-date drivers for it, so I try to run it with either Win2000 or a non-updated original version of WinXP so that the old drivers will still work. It was a fabulous card in its day. I believe the ambiance I obtained from the Aardvark card convinced me not to add any reverb to the recording. You may want to try some with your setup and see if it makes much difference. I believe it made the violins, particularly at the very end, too shrill and piercing for my ears, and it also "smears" the bass end, again, if I remember correctly.

    Wagner was a slave-driver when it came to violins, and Gotterdammerung is the culmination of a ring of four complete operas that tell a single story. However, he saved a lot of the most intensely difficult passages for the very end of Gotterdammerung, and the poor musicians must have been totally ready to collapse by that time -- I would have been. There are passages in this finale that have no equivalents in the usual set of articulations supplied with ANY orchestral samples. One specific example of this is the passage that begins at 1:19 on my box, and this passage as well as many others required some correspondingly difficult MIDI trickery to achieve. I can pull out the old files (I THINK I may have saved them on the 6-CD set along with every individual instrument phrase that I recorded) but I don't for the life of me recall exactly how this particular passage was achieved, but I did it solely with MIDI in the track view of SONAR. There was no need to use a notation program for this project because the score was already written! So every bit of it was done in SONAR.

    At any rate, those who have studied music history know that Wagner invented some of his own instruments to use in his orchestra, and since samples of those instruments were not available anywhere at that time (2002), I gave those parts to the French horns and trombones in addition to the normal French horn and trombone parts, which means I had about 12 French horns , 6 tenor trombones and a couple of bass trombones in this recording, but they are not as noticeable as I had thought they would be, although they do come out in a couple of places. Please take care if you want to listen to this recording -- as I said above, it is a WAVE file, and NOT an MP3. It would be best to download it and listen to it on your computer, if you can. It shows 50 Mb on my hard drive, but on Box.net, they show 49.2 Mb for the file, and here is the .WAV link:

    Gotterdammerung

    PLEASE NOTE: If you download this file, please put it in a program with a graphic equalizer and boost all the frequencies across the board by a half-notch or so and increase the volume level. That will help remove some of the "boxy" sound of my poor recording.

    And thank you once again, sd cisco and Peter, for teaching me how to get that link here on the page!!!

    I hope those who listen may enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the challenge of recording something by a famous composer just to see what I could do with it and how far I could go with the original Garritan Orchestral Strings.

    Thank you,

    Arvid

    OH! and P.S. The running time for the piece is about 4:52.
    Arvid Hand
    Theory-Comp./Piano
    ASCAP

  2. #2

    Re: GOS1: Finale to Gotterdammerung (Wagner) by Arvid Hand

    GOSh Arvid!

    I can only repeat the two points that you've made elsewhere:

    1. You're not a recording engineer
    2. It's the expression that counts

    Playing this piece (I was able to download the wav version) is just like listening to an old grammophone recording of one those great orchestras of the past.

    Sure the sound quality isn't half as clear as the latest CD releases, but the expressive power of Wagner's music just shines through from beginning to end.

    Stirring stuff. Bravo Maestro!

  3. #3

    Re: GOS1: Finale to Gotterdammerung (Wagner) by Arvid Hand

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Jeffrey Gale View Post
    GOSh Arvid!

    I can only repeat the two points that you've made elsewhere:

    1. You're not a recording engineer
    2. It's the expression that counts

    Playing this piece (I was able to download the wav version) is just like listening to an old grammophone recording of one those great orchestras of the past.

    Sure the sound quality isn't half as clear as the latest CD releases, but the expressive power of Wagner's music just shines through from beginning to end.

    Stirring stuff. Bravo Maestro!
    Your comments are right on target, as usual, Peter, and thank you. That "boxy" sound disappears, however, at high volume levels (to my ears), which I am addicted to because I used to play with bands, and I'm used to hearing everything from the inside of the ensemble and not from the audience's vantage point.

    Wagner used really huge orchestras, nearly twice the size of an average orchestra. Plus, he used many brass instruments that he invented himself and are never used anywhere else except in the Bayreuth Festival Opera Orchestra today. The recording of such a huge collection of instruments in a single work presented a considerable challenge to me that I was not expecting until I got down to the mixing phase of the project, and that is probably the biggest major contributing factor to that "boxy" sound. The use of twice as many instruments (and in some cases TRIPLE the normal number of instruments) is difficult enough to deal with, but when you also have such huge brass sections, it gets harder and harder to keep from drowning out all the rest of the instrument sections -- constantly. I distinctly recall thinking about MIDI dropout while I was in the note-entering phase in SONAR, so I rarely, if ever, tried to play all of the tracks at once in SONAR. But when I got to the mixing stage in WaveLab, I found out for the first time in my life something I had known for years but had not considered to be that big of a deal in recording -- there is just as much "dropout" in actual live performances. Some instruments and sections drown out other instruments and sections in live performance, and I should have been prepared for that from my years of experience with dance and jazz bands (see the next paragraph). Consider this question: When the full orchestra is playing at a loud volume level, can you really and truly hear the individual oboe player? No. You can't. It contributes a very tiny amount to the overall texture of the resulting sound, but there is no way you can pick out that one oboe player in the midst of an enormous orchestra with two and three times the number of brass instruments. It is the same thing occurring as MIDI dropout. We called it "drownout" in college, but it has other names, too. So I had to constantly wrestle with that problem as well as all the horrendous intonation nightmares, and that also is a contributing factor to the "boxiness."

    The boxy sound also comes from my weakness as a (not)recording engineer. I would love to give my materials to someone else someday who might be able to recreate the final mix using a much better (and younger!) pair of ears than mine. (I still have all the originally recorded individual instrument wave files for every phrase played by every individual instrument for the entire piece on six CDs -- some enterprising person could take those six CDs and totally re-create this whole recording. If I tried to do it, it would come out worse than the original because my ears are worse now than they were before.)

    After you've played with extremely loud guitar and keyboard amplifiers blaring directly into your ears from only a couple of feet away for nearly 40 years, it takes its toll, and I hope that's a warning for some of the younger band members who may visit this site. It is also the reason I personally never include any guitars in ANY of my compositions (bass, yes, but guitars, no). It's strictly personal, but the guitar players in the bands I was with always wanted to be the very loudest, and once they turned up, then the bass would turn up, then the keyboard player would turn up, and then the guitar player would turn up again... and on and on in an endless struggle to see who could play the loudest!!!

    Now I'm definitely getting off-topic, so I'd better quit now before some people get mad at me... Thank you again, Peter.

    Arvid
    Arvid Hand
    Theory-Comp./Piano
    ASCAP

  4. #4

    Re: GOS1: Finale to Gotterdammerung (Wagner) by Arvid Hand

    Wow, Lugwi...., I mean Arvid! Sometimes I think I'm reviewing Mr. B. himself when I listen to your work! Love the detail to the arrangement. You truly are a gifted and talented arranger as well as composer.

    Very enjoyable on every level.


    JB

    PS; So sorry to hear about your not winning the composer competition. Don't give up! Submit again, and again. Sooner or later they'll take notice to your gift. They'd have to.

  5. #5

    Re: GOS1: Finale to Gotterdammerung (Wagner) by Arvid Hand

    Quote Originally Posted by voclizr View Post
    Wow, Lugwi...., I mean Arvid! Sometimes I think I'm reviewing Mr. B. himself when I listen to your work! Love the detail to the arrangement. You truly are a gifted and talented arranger as well as composer.

    Very enjoyable on every level.


    JB

    PS; So sorry to hear about your not winning the composer competition. Don't give up! Submit again, and again. Sooner or later they'll take notice to your gift. They'd have to.
    You are so jolly and encouraging, John. I really appreciate your comments. And don't worry -- I am indeed working on my next contest piece, but I could not finish it in time for this year's entry... have to wait until November 2011. And it will be dedicated to Gary Garritan, as I promised him some time ago. It will be my first work entirely recorded with GPO4 only. I am looking forward very much to completing it, but right now, I'm taking some time out to see what I can do to help others, if they want it, and to encourage them if they don't need or want any advice.

    And, as I promised you in another thread, I am now working on that new piece based on the inspiration I got by listening to your "Melancholia" last night. This piece will be called "Fanfare for Everybody (There's No Such Thing as Common)", which is a spoof of Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" for those who are not familiar with the classical repertoire.

    I am somewhat disappointed that Rainy Day in Montgomery is currently the most popular piece on my Box.net site according to the latest statistics. I was hoping Buddha Meets the Moos-sician would be getting the most attention, but it is in a tie for third place behind Rainy Day and David Brings the Ark into Jerusalem which surprises me. (Yes, those are all live links to the MP3s.)

    Thank you again, John. You are an encouraging and inspirational guy.

    Best always,

    Arvid

    BIG BIG P.S.:
    Please do not spread the word outside of this forum that I have added tubular bells to Wagner's score!!! That's a big no-no, and the Wagner purists would CRUCIFY me if they find out I committed such a sacrilege.
    Arvid Hand
    Theory-Comp./Piano
    ASCAP

  6. #6

    Re: GOS1: Finale to Gotterdammerung (Wagner) by Arvid Hand

    Please see the thread called "Make your own Gotterdammerung Re-mix" in the Tips, Techniques and Tutorials section of this forum. I am offering all of my originally recorded audio clips to anyone who wants to create their own re-mix of this work.

    Best wishes and have a happy day!

    Arvid
    Arvid Hand
    Theory-Comp./Piano
    ASCAP

  7. #7
    Senior Member sd cisco's Avatar
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    Re: GOS1: Finale to Gotterdammerung (Wagner) by Arvid Hand

    Arvid;
    I actually listened to these a couple of weeks ago, I thought you did a very good job!!
    I have but limited experience with Wagner, just one so far, the familiar Wagner- Ride of The Valkyries
    and I found it very challenging, to say the least! But due to the enormous influence of Wagner, it makes me want to try again with something else. Theo did a great render of the Parsifal overture, clean and clear. I believe he sent the midi file for it, which I still have, if you ever want to take a run at it.
    Thanks for posting!

    Best regards,
    sd cisco

  8. #8

    Re: GOS1: Finale to Gotterdammerung (Wagner) by Arvid Hand

    Quote Originally Posted by sd cisco View Post
    Arvid;
    I actually listened to these a couple of weeks ago, I thought you did a very good job!!
    I have but limited experience with Wagner, just one so far, the familiar Wagner- Ride of The Valkyries
    and I found it very challenging, to say the least! But due to the enormous influence of Wagner, it makes me want to try again with something else. Theo did a great render of the Parsifal overture, clean and clear. I believe he sent the midi file for it, which I still have, if you ever want to take a run at it.
    Thanks for posting!

    Best regards,
    sd cisco
    Thank you very much, sd... As soon as I get my new setup completed (I'm still adding new libraries from Garritan and adding newer audio equipment to my antiquated systems) I'm going to re-mix the original clips (recordings) of "Gotterdammerung" myself from the archive that I have offered to anyone who wants to try it. I don't think I could handle starting all over again, but at least I did use the GOS1 library.

    I am also composing a brand new "Fanfare for Everybody" for brass choir, drumline and timpani (which includes a theme from John's (voclizr's) "Melancholia," while Peter is reconstructing the score for me to the "Buddha" piece (from scanned copies of my draft score) so I can re-record that as well. Then when those projects are out of the way, I may take a good long look at "Parsifal." Sounds intriguing.

    Thank you again,

    Arvid

    [P.S. -- I'll be sure to check out the "Valkyries" as soon as I get a free moment to breathe!]
    Arvid Hand
    Theory-Comp./Piano
    ASCAP

  9. #9

    Re: GOS1: Finale to Gotterdammerung (Wagner) by Arvid Hand

    sd --

    I finally listened to your "Valkyries" and that's certainly a very interesting recording. It makes me curious -- Whose score did you use? Dover Publications, G. Schirmer, Kalmus ... ???

    I use Dover for most of my recordings of the classics. I had to slice the pages out of my score to get Lohengrin Act III Prelude into my ancient scanner bed so I could pull it into SmartScore, but the Dover editions are usually very clear and easy to scan without much fuss. (Their Mahler scores are almost works of art.) Lohengrin was the first one I had to take the scissors to. But now that project has been interrupted for some more important things (like writing more of my own music!).

    For Gotterdammerung, however, I manually entered each note from the score. That was another one that I couldn't scan from the book, but I did not have the heart to cut the pages out. It was very laborious.

    What method do you use to enter the notes?

    And in your recording, is all of it done with Garritan instruments? I'm very curious about it.

    You have peaked my interest here...

    Arvid

    [BTW == Peter is very close to the end of his reconstruction of my score for Buddha Meets the Moos-sician and I can't wait to see it! I only have one copy of the original final score (from 2001) left here at home, but I can't find it anywhere... naughty Moose!! But I scanned in the pages from 3 different copies of the drafts, and that's what he's using to reconstruct the whole score. There were only 3 bars missing from the drafts, and they could easily be interpolated because of repetition in that part of the score, I think. I want to re-record all of it with Garritan instruments, but I'm almost certain I will have to add one or two items from outside the Garritan libraries, which is a shame. Perhaps I can use some other means to keep it completely "Garritanized." I believe Dimension Pro (the full version, not the lite version that comes with Sonar) may be able to help me in that regard, so I am definitely going to shoot for a Garritan-only score before I make any decisions about going outside it. But, then, the whole project will have to wait its turn in a growing queue of commitments. I'm so glad I finally got to hear your "Valkyries!!"]
    Arvid Hand
    Theory-Comp./Piano
    ASCAP

  10. #10
    Senior Member sd cisco's Avatar
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    Re: GOS1: Finale to Gotterdammerung (Wagner) by Arvid Hand

    Quote Originally Posted by bionicbub View Post
    sd --

    I finally listened to your "Valkyries" and that's certainly a very interesting recording. It makes me curious -- Whose score did you use? Dover Publications, G. Schirmer, Kalmus ... ???

    I use Dover for most of my recordings of the classics. I had to slice the pages out of my score to get Lohengrin Act III Prelude into my ancient scanner bed so I could pull it into SmartScore, but the Dover editions are usually very clear and easy to scan without much fuss. (Their Mahler scores are almost works of art.) Lohengrin was the first one I had to take the scissors to. But now that project has been interrupted for some more important things (like writing more of my own music!).

    For Gotterdammerung, however, I manually entered each note from the score. That was another one that I couldn't scan from the book, but I did not have the heart to cut the pages out. It was very laborious.

    What method do you use to enter the notes?

    And in your recording, is all of it done with Garritan instruments? I'm very curious about it.

    You have peaked my interest here...

    Arvid

    [BTW == Peter is very close to the end of his reconstruction of my score for Buddha Meets the Moos-sician and I can't wait to see it! I only have one copy of the original final score (from 2001) left here at home, but I can't find it anywhere... naughty Moose!! But I scanned in the pages from 3 different copies of the drafts, and that's what he's using to reconstruct the whole score. There were only 3 bars missing from the drafts, and they could easily be interpolated because of repetition in that part of the score, I think. I want to re-record all of it with Garritan instruments, but I'm almost certain I will have to add one or two items from outside the Garritan libraries, which is a shame. Perhaps I can use some other means to keep it completely "Garritanized." I believe Dimension Pro (the full version, not the lite version that comes with Sonar) may be able to help me in that regard, so I am definitely going to shoot for a Garritan-only score before I make any decisions about going outside it. But, then, the whole project will have to wait its turn in a growing queue of commitments. I'm so glad I finally got to hear your "Valkyries!!"]
    Arvid;
    Thanks for listening to my version of Valkyries, and commenting. I listened to it again last night and confess I feel a bit iffy about it now. I went thru a period where I was using impulse response/convolution type reverbs but found they were a big drain on system resources as each one is another VST. I use Cubase 4.5 something and I am, by birth, a keyboard player. If I am working on my own material I play (record) all the parts by hand, directly into Cubase. If it is the work of someone else, I will usually scrounge around for a midi file version, although the quality of them varies greatly. I don't have Smart Score, but I do have a good flat bed scanner, so I suppose I could get that and use it. Depending on the piece, I many times will duplicate midi tracks in CB and also copy and paste the midi parts, with the Early music, I always feel more liberty to do these things. Key changes, modulations, substituting voices etc, are all part of the workflow.
    I found the IR reverbs are great but you must be careful as they can really affect the tone of the instrument, often robbing them of low-end, or high or mid for that matter. I have been using the RV found as "Additional Content" in CB and they generally do not affect the tone so much and are not a big drain on resources.
    When I import a midi file into CB, it will assign voices from the Halion player library that comes with CB. I never use those voices for much, except I like the "Fingered Bass" if I am working on rock or R&B. I want to get around to upgrading my JABB2 to JABB3 because it uses the Aria player, whereas JABB2 uses Kontact player4, which is another heavy consumer of resources and takes practically forever just to load up.
    I have never used Sonar, but a lot of folks on here do use it. I have never worked with a Mac, yet, I know in the right hands they do a great job. But I also think they run hot, can be a complete pain in the backside if you are used to a PC, they appear awkward, people used to say they liked Macs because they didn't crash or get viruses, I think some of those people perceived PC's as risky to use or believe Macs just produce better renders of audio, video, animations and so on, but have had others tell me there is no difference, especially these days with the powerful processors, they can render your audio and finish your English essay, all at the same time! I have used CB for less than 2 years and prior to that had no experience at all with using VSTi. But, I love music, just like everybody else around here, and have never been without my own real piano, since I was 12 years old!!
    Keep up the good work and with participating with the Forum, for me it is the warmest, most inclusive, active and informative destination on the Web.

    Best regards,
    sd cisco

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