Saturday, 28 August 2010

150th Anniversary of Death of Friedrich Silcher

Today 150 years ago the German composer Friedrich Silcher died. There is not much buzz around him these days, he appears to be out of fashion. But this is really a pity: he composed many of well known songs that are a basic staple of the German folkloristic song repertoire. When I was a child, we did have a record in which a choir sang many of his songs. At that time I did not pay attention to the composer, but I took these songs in: "Aennchen von Tharau", "Ich weiss nicht was soll das bedeuten" (Loreley), and many other songs which capture very well the feeling and attitude of the early romantic period in the first quarter of the 19th century in Germany.

I do not know much about him or his life. There are a few sites that can be found by a Google search. He appeared to have been a quite modest man, somewhat silent, as the images indicate, and I can imagine his demeanor, with his Swabian dialect that is still spoken today around the area where he lived. His music reflects this modesty: no loud temperamental outbursts, just very modest melodies, trying to express the content of the song texts with harmonic turns that can be sung by the average human. And these melodies do have a somewhat evocative power, when they accompany the stories that are told in the songs.

It is a pity that his music is today rarely heard. I plan to create a CD with recordings of a collection of his music, probably with some "musical reflection" by myself.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

After the Release of Mahler 1

A month has now passed after my release of the recording of the complete Symphony No.1. For me this was quite a milestone, and I had to take a musical break for a brief time after completing this rendition. In the meantime I have uploaded two revision: one of the first movement, another one of Blumine. I am still not very convinced about these recordings - something is still lacking: an overarching clear implementation of a musical concept. A real orchestra conductor can do that easily, during a life performance. But I have to stitch, to draw controller values, to listen to short segments... and a lot of my musical intention that I have inside does not come through... there must be a better way to get the right tempo and volume balance.
The last movement needs some attention: it is currently too monolithic, too loud in the beginning part, needs more tempo variations, to be faster in some parts, slower in others. When listening to it in one piece, all this is very evident. But it gets lost once I dissect the piece and micro-edit events, note attacks (velocities), controller values, and tempo curves.

The BBC Proms show great concerts - many performances of Mahler's symphonies are scheduled, and they give great inspiration. Since I already have the 3rd movement from Symphony #4 in a MIDI form (from my earlier recordings in summer 2000), I can focus on this symphony. The first two movements should not be a large problem, and the long and intensive 3rd movement needs just a conversion to the GPO4 samples, plus a reworking of the dynamics. Timing appears already more or less ok. Then the 4th movement would need a soprano. I could use a synth voice replacement for this, and in the initial phase this is probably what I will do. However, if there is any soprano out there who wants to collaborate with me on this - please contact me!