Mozart, in the 1st movement of his string quintet K515, has separate roles for the outer and inner voices. The 1st violin and the cello (the highest and lowest voices) carry the burden of the theme most of the time. This is immediately seen in the first few measures with the cello (starting on his lowest note) alone and then the 1st violin alone replies in its high register.
The three inner voices, 2nd violin and 1st and 2nd violas, meanwhile give support in passing. This is the pattern throughout. Of course the roles are sometimes reversed.
But this distinction is enhanced by the use of Garritan solo strings for the inner voices. http://www.box.net/shared/4sykritk6i
I thought your interpretation of Mozart was nice. The instruments seemed to be balanced good in a way that they blended very well together. I could hear each instrument clearly and the harmonies produced were as "clear as bell". Maybe the string sound was a little bright, but then again, maybe that is the way they are supposed to sound. I have messed around with string ensemble pieces with garritan, but IMO my work does not have the clarity in sound that yours does. Of course this piece is from the master, who knows how to pitch instruments to sound good together.
..."clear as bell"... Maybe the string sound was a little bright, but then again, maybe that is the way they are supposed to sound...
Thanks for your comments.
Mozart is a master indeed.
They way they are suppose to sound can be discussed at length or even forever. To go directly to the bottom line: choose the sound you like.
In the 1940s there were events that have a bearing on this topic. My mother-in-law lived in Philadelphia and faithfully attended concerts and rehearsals of Stokovski when he was with the Philadelphia. So I have some first hand information.
Stokovski created a new string sound in Philadelphia. You can still hear it in (analog) hi-fi recordings of Eugene Ormandy who succeeded Stokovski. Ormandy said in an interview near the end of his career that we in Philadelphia have the sound of my predecessor in our ears. It was his mission to preserve this sound.
The string sound is lush and velvet smooth and caresses the ear. It seems to take into account the reverberation in the Philadelphia hall and use it to advantage. It is a wonderful sound for Tchaikovsky ballet music. On the other hand it is not bright.
The Toscanini string sound during his 17-year career with the NBC Symphony is the epitome of brightness. Toscanini had his string players bow in unison. The players take their cue from the 1st violin concert master and follow his bowing. When he down bows the whole string section does also. The idea is to give the effect in the 1st violin section of the sound of a single violin. The reason is for clarity. Toscanini’s approach demands clarity.
How are they suppose to sound? I prefer the sound to be clear as a bell. But give Stokovski his due. His velvet cloak gives Tchaikovsky an added dimension. It is more than just the music. It is also becomes a sonic experience.
Here is a story that shows that the rivalry between the two (and their respective sounds)was heated. Toscanini quit in the middle of the season. How did NBC respond? They hired Stokovski to replace him and finnish the season. In Toscanini’s absence, Stokovski improved the acoustic of NBCs studio 8H, where the orchestra was frequently recorded, by having reflecting panels installed. Later when Toscanini returned he accepted the new acoustic.
During this time Toscanini became the guest conductor at the Philadelphia Orchestra. He did not try to change the string sound. But he never allowed the recordings that he made with the Philadelphia to be released. He did not like the sound. They were released after his death.