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  • Mendelssohn - Ravel - Vaughn

    I'm very happy to announce brand new classic demos:

    Jay Bacal sent us the 2nd movement of Ravel's stringquartett

    and the Scherzo of Mendelssohn's "Midsummern Night's Dream"

    Bill Kersten chose Ralf Vaugh Williams 2nd symphony (London), 2nd movements - Lento.

    Really great work guys, thanks a lot.


  • Jay, Bill,


    Firstly the Vaughn Williams is a wonderful performance. Picking the toughest movement is a challenge in itself, never mind the inherent difficulties in performing slow movements with sample instruments. The w/w are my musical history, so i'm particularly intent when i listen to how clarinets, oboes, flutes, etc. are handled. Wonderful performance Bill, and my compliments to you. A master at work.

    The Midsummer is excellent. I had to study Mendelssohn as a student, and he wore a bit thin on me after a while. But i thoroughly enjoyed this. Your understanding of the importance of dynamics is a lesson in itself, and the performance reflects formidable musicianship.
    The Quartet is the finest recording i've ever heard with samples, bar none. And it's ony the fact we're told this is done with samples that distinguishes it from 4 muso's playing live. I'm stunned by this, and it's better than anything i've heard of this piece live or recorded. A great performance.

    A couple of questions for you both.
    How long did each piece take, and what sort of input procedure did you use? (I.e. notes first, then articulation, or something else)

    To you both, my compliments, and respects,



  • Thanks Alex.

    It was a great opportunity to do this and thanks a lot to Herb for giving me the chance.

    I have to say that I haven't yet heard the Midsummer Nights Dream, however...

    The Ravel !!

    It also gets my vote for the best performance I have ever heard done with MIDI. It reveals the truth of what I have said in my often irritating posts - that samples can create an expression completely unprecedented for a composer. It is delicate, exquisite, a beautiful tone, and the essence of fluid, ever-changing expression - everything that samples are not supposed to be. It shows above all the tremendous musical potential of the great VSL sample library. It really blew me away when I heard it, and also was tremendously exciting to me as an example of just how much power this medium gives an individual person. I wanted to congratulate Jay for his impeccable skill and artistry.

  • Mr. Kirsten's Vaughn Williams rendition is easily the most emotion packed piece of music I've ever heard done with samples. It's a new level and breakthrough in this new field of musical expression. Expertly crafted with a depth in both musical and technical understanding. Stunning really.

    As I've said before, when total realism is attained with strings sounds (can't be far off with experts like VSL forging ahead) it will be possible to create works that lack very little if anything.

    Haven't listened to Ravel or "Mid Summer" but will soon.

  • Which VSL libraries have been used?

    Nice jobs indeed, thanks for sharing.

  • I hope these volunteer efforts are repaid somehow! Extra sample libraries or something. Surely they have sold more vsl libraries than anything else one could do (other than having a sale, perhaps). I expect a new bump of sales of the solo strings after the Ravel.

  • Thank you everyone for the kind words.

    William-- I agree with dpcon about the powerful emotions produced by your Vaughn Williams performance-- the solemnity, the quiet desolation, the lonliness and then the extremely passionate climax. Quite moving!

    I also appreciate (because I know how hard it is to achieve!) the subtle shades of pianissimo, the bravely slow tempi, and the fluid and flexible conducting. Excellent!


  • Very good - all 3 tracks. Now when is Jay going to do the third movement of Sibelius's Karelia Suite?

    A lot of work went into these 3 tracks - and it shows.

  • Wow , these 3 are all gems... I'm wondering what discerns the new version of Ravel's "Little Ugly" from the old one posted about a year ago? Unfortunately I didn't seem to have saved it onto this computer, so I can't find out myself...

    Jay, how long did it take you to do those? Your mockups are amazing!

    Now I'm gonna listen the others too [;)]


  • Thanks for your compliments! To answer chinablu I used on the Vaughn Williams the Pro edition, French oboe and english horn 2, and solo strings. By the way this piece was weird to do in one way because of Vaughn Williams writing for muted strings that don't stop until halfway through, even when things get loud and full. So doing the crescendos and f ensemble totally con sordino was strange. Along with the tutti portato section which was also problematic with all mutes. I had the temptation to just take the mutes off, because there are more dynamics and articulation possibilities without, but resisted it, trying to be as faithful to the score as possible, for better or worse.

  • Startlingly good realisations,guys:congratulations.I haven't heard those pieces in a while.It's funny:Beethoven's shadow is on the Mendelssohn,I think; it really struck me on this renditon.I'm a real sucker for Ravel and Vaughan Williams .That Ravel:so exposed and a test on the VSL library,but it comes through brilliantly. The Vaughan Williiams: he and Sibelius and Debussy,all evoke vivid landscapes in my head.I've forgotten how much of an emotional experience it is to listen to VW,and you pulled it off there,Bill. Marvellous.What reverbs were you both using?

    Hats off to you ,and testimony to fine musicianship .Oh,and that library's not too bad,either. [[;)]]

  • Thanks Michael. On this it was gigapulse Large Hall with a separate instance for each instrument.

  • Lovely work.

  • William-
    Excellent work, very musical and haunting interpretation - very impressive. Nice job!!

  • Jay-
    WOW! The Ravel quartet is so lifelike, it's incredible. Not only is it life-like, it sounds like great players playing live, I know how hard this is to achieve, and I'm really impressed with your very subtle and constant manipulation of dynamics to achieve this. Great work!

  • mvanbebber

    Thanks for your nice commments! Also, on Jay's performance I agree completely and am glad to hear another serious musician noticing it. I was in a state of shock after hearing it, both for the realism and also the basic fact of one person being able to do this amount of expression in these areas of musical timbre and style. It is one of the main examples I know of just how far one can go with pure musical expression in MIDI. I find it tremendously exciting to hear this, since it makes you realize all this expression is available for any music, including your own.

  • I finally listened to the Mendelssohn and it is really great. Congratulations again to Jay for another fine performance. Very difficult piece to do.

  • Hi,

    I sent you (Herb) a reference to a new simulation of mine, of the 2nd movement from my 4th symphony, for consideration in October, and never heard back.


    (the link is in the middle of the page, called "scherzo".)



  • PaulP Paul moved this topic from Orchestration & Composition on