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:
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.
OH! and P.S. The running time for the piece is about 4:52.