Vienna Symphonic Library Forum
Forum Statistics

174,506 users have contributed to 41,836 threads and 253,012 posts.

In the past 24 hours, we have 2 new thread(s), 9 new post(s) and 78 new user(s).

  • Covid can fffff off (if you'll pardon my French).

    Been spending way too much time working on the pp opening of Isoldens Liebestod. My environment is normally very quiet but lately has been marred by one or two neighbours who can't quite get the hang of remaining civilised and considerate during lockdown. I needed to get some loudness perspective back.

    When I want to recalibrate my sense of LOUDEST I often go to this fffff section in Messiaen's "Apparition de l'Église Éternelle" (Interstellar, eat your heart out). I think it's one of the very few places in a score where fffff actually means something real - though only if performed at Notre Dame, Paris. If you wish to listen to the Youtube recording I've linked below (with play pointer set), I hope you have great monitoring headphones (My HD380 Pro do much better with this monster sub-bass than my HD600).

    And the score can be seen here - same performance but the audio is not quite as womb-wobblingly awesome:

  • That is such a tremendous sound - what a fabulous organ and such a powerful piece.

  • It's great, it's loud, it's terrifying.

    I know that organ very well (hoping it has survived the fire), and know how this music can shook a listener.


  • wow Thanks or sharing this piece. I heard an organ live in a medieval church in Barcelona, it was and is the greatest sound Ive ever heard. 

    And yes this trounces intersellar.


  • 0

  • Ahhh, Errikos, thanks for rescuing us from Messiaen's mammoth metaphysical meanderings, with that delightfully imaginative segue into some coruscating counterpoint. Sacred-secular-sacred-secular ... : our world keeps on turning as it must.

    Anand, when I was growing up in Cambridge (England), sometimes I snuck into various college chapels to listen to the organ music, and of course the bigger the chapel, the bigger the organ and the bigger the sound. The organs in St John's, Trinity and King's were large and impressive and left me with an abiding love for church organ music, albeit in the background.

    Paolo, last I heard, the Notre Dame organ escaped any serious damage but no one was sure how the heat and water might have affected the various parts. Since the fire, there has been much work to bolster the cathedral's structural stability and there are still serious worries about that, so I doubt if organ builders have been allowed in to begin their care for the mightiest Cavaillé-Coll. Fingers crossed - we shall hear from it again.

    William I'm looking forward to equipping you with my Situator Environment Subsytem (still developing, it's probably a few months away). While testing various functions I keep turning to Dimension horns because I just can't get over the clean power and beauty of 8-horn-section chords when shifting the thirds by a syntonic comma. The inspiration for adding precise syntonic comma control to Situater came from you and Tom. And If Situater adds even the tiniest bit more inspiration to your future work, I'll have done my job right.

  • It is in reading comments like this that I'm reminded of how little I know about music and how mighty the minds of fellow forum members are. Time for me to take a little sabbatical from this dear place and go study. Adieu!

  • last edited
    last edited


    That was brilliant!

    @Errikos said:


  • I'm glad you guys enjoyed this clever diversion as much as I did.

  • Errikos, the fugal development and counterpoint in that is impressive.  It is strange to hear that theme.   Macker, I need to hear more about what exactly is this mysterious project you are engaged in. It sounds fascinating!

  • [Edited 1st June] Introductory overview of the forthcoming Situater

    William, fact No 1 about Situater Environment Subsystem (SES):– it's free! Fact No 2:– it fills quite a lot of pages (or "layers") of Logic Pro X's Environment and will work with VEPro locally or remotely (pending full production-standard release of AU3 facilities in Logic), and/or with instruments plugged into Logic's own instrument tracks.

    Situater's principal feature is that it 'Supertunes' to orchestral intonation each and every note played live or played back from recorded MIDI. Hearing authentic orchestral intonation means that at every moment the composer can feel more "situated" within the often huge gamut of possible relationships between the notes he's writing - past, current and yet to come. Thus Situater helps to elucidate and perhaps expand the composer's creative horizons and sense of affective narrative and nuances.

    SES is essentially aimed at the most intensely creative phases of sketching and writing music, especially where composers might typically prefer using polyphonic "writing instruments" such as piano, all-strings, brass sections, and what have you. Melodies, harmonies and root progressions all spring into vibrant life with Situater.

    However, Situater can also be used in developing fully orchestrated mock-ups involving small to moderate production-templates. I'm currently aiming at (subject to change) an operational maximum of 64 MIDI ports. Imagine the impact on film producers and directors when they hear a mock-up in authentic orchestral intonation!


    SES depends on virtual instruments being capable of responding accurately to 14-bit MIDI Pitchbend (all VSL instruments have this capability but some others don't - Spitfire, for instance), and being connected into SES. Virtual piano, organ, celesta and other ET-tuned instruments of course can be operated normally alongside SES without any connection to SES.

    In operation, the composer selects from a list of user-definable presets - or edits or transposes extempore - which 12 of the 36 total score-notes are to be immediately available when played by his MIDI keyboard, and what type of concert-note "Refinement", if any, is to be applied to any one or more of the currently available score-notes. A score note can be Refined either by shifting it up or down by a syntonic comma, or else by shifting it back to ET when for example a piano playing in ensemble may otherwise be too far out of tune with one or more notes played by orchestral instruments. The only other type of concert-note Refinement used in orchestras but currently unavailable to SES (with my abject apologies to fans of the legendary Pablo Casals) is Expressive Intonation, but may perhaps be included in a future version.

    The 12 selected score-notes together with any Refinements, constitute the "Cast" (like a cast of actors on stage at any one time). SES can be "Recast" either by directly editing any note's score-pitch class and/or its Refinement state; by selecting another preset cast; or by automatically transposing the current cast up or down by steps of one or more fifths, anywhere within the maximum range of ±10 fifths from the "natural" signature. Edited casts can be saved as presets at any transposition. The automatic cast-transposition control displays conventional key signature names merely as an aid to navigation and does not impose constraints on what casts the user may construct; however SES warns the user if the current cast has been transposed beyond the note-range of SES.

    Well that's my all-too brief and appallingly ragged description. I intend to put together soon a 'brochure' pdf with pictures and stuff that hopefully should serve much better as a preliminary introduction.

  • That sounds fantastic.  Best of luck with it!  It sounds like something that needs to be used with, or would greatly compliment, virtual instruments.   

  • Errikos,

    Good to hear from you and thank you for that beautiful fugue that would have sent tingles up even Bach's spine. 

    I opened my curtains and used the music as a soundtrack to the Covid 19 Zombie Apocalypse going on outside. Or maybe it's just the random rioting that I'm watching. 

    Oh look! There's a chipmunk outside my window gathering shell casings. How cute!  It's like a living Norman Rockwell painting.

    Actually, maybe Maker has the better soundtrack for what we're witnessing here. I really like that power and dissonance. It's electrifying.  And narcoleptics do make the best organ players for this kind of soundtrack.

    Thank you both for posting 

  • Bill: That's also what I thought, that's why I shared it. Maybe it would inspire some people to improve their basic skills.

    Jasen: Good to hear from you too! Sorry about the mayhem outside the window. I won't discuss politics on this forum, however I believe it is safe enough to voice my conspiratorial conviction that this "pandemic" is very much a laboratory product, great for big money to change hands in a lightning-short amount of time (one of many examples: Italy being stripped off its greatest assets very cheaply to outsiders, and hence lose its muscles in Brussels), for China to get the rap, and as a dress rehearsal for something much more sinister, to gauge reactions ramifications, control, etc.

    Keep safe, keep sane!

  • last edited
    last edited

    @Errikos said:
    I totally agree with Anand. This is craftmanship of the highest level. I love this music. Also the very sophistcated performance.

  • PaulP Paul moved this topic from Orchestration & Composition on