Thursday, 17 February 2011

New Renditions of Mahler: 2nd and 3rd Movement from Symphony No.1

These past few days (evenings) I have been busy revising my recordings of Mahler's Symphony No.1. I want to finalise that recording and create a separate album for it, as a special edition for the Mahler Year. I have started with the 3rd movement, "Hunter's Funeral". There had been some technical problems with my PC MAESTRO-2: this particular file of the 3rd movement caused some stutter, due to some memory problems. I had to copy track by track into a new Sonar file in order to get rid of the problem. Then I still encountered problems: Sonar would suddenly crash at particular locations in the file - when a lot of instruments were simultaneously playing. I did then upgrade to the latest version of Asio4All, and after a while of tinkering I finally got everything working again properly.

The new version of the 3rd movement has only slight changes: some instrument attacks have been adjusted, to properly differentiate between marcato/staccato/legato, a few tempo changes to correct tiny imbalances within measures, and some new expression curves for selected instruments in a few locations.

The same overhaul was done with the 2nd movement. This movement has the inherent problem that I had recorded in in free-style and only later added the tempo quantisation. This has still the effect that not all instrument tracks appear properly synchronised: some quantisation that I did in some tracks in order to properly adhere to tempo and metric had the effect of slightly disrupting the consistent structure, and I will still have to fix that. I corrected a few errors and added some instruments which I had missed in the earlier rendition.

When I compared now the final audio recordings of the new with the previous versions, I hardly can note the difference - it is very subtle.

Here are the new versions, together with all the previous renditions of these movements:

2nd movement

3rd movement

Maybe you can hear the differences to the previous versions?

Sunday, 13 February 2011

My Music now Commercially Available

On 10.February my new artist page on CD Baby went online. I had signed on with them, and have created my first album: My Music in 2010. This album contains 8 tracks with the most recent renditions of music which I had created in 2010.

These music tracks are now for sale, on CD Baby, but soon also on all their online music distributors which they have partnership agreements with. This includes iTunes, Amazon, Zune, Spotify and many others.

Does this mean I will no longer make my music available for free on my website? No, it does not. All the tracks which are available for purchase, are also available on my website. The agreement with CD Baby is not exclusive, I still can do with my music recordings whatever I want. And I have decided to offer them here still for free. Does this make sense? Not from a purely business point of view: In order to ensure that everybody pays for my music, I should remove it from my web page and have it only available through online pay sites. But I want to pursue another business model: I want that as many people as possible have the opportunity to listen to my music, for free, before they would pay; and if they like the music, they can then move to a site where they can then express their appreciation through a purchase of one or more tracks.

This may be a slightly optimistic assumption, that anyone would want to pay for something that they can get for free. But I do have a believe in the good of mankind, and I am sure that there will be a few people who will be clicking the purchase button on some of those online sites. If using iTunes or Zune, then this will also make it easier and straightforward to manage the music on the mobile device, so there is actually some additional value in the purchase rather than only getting the free MP3 files.

So for the time being, there will be the free versions on my site, and there will be the commercial versions of the same renditions online for purchase at various Online Music Distributors. I plan, however, to release a few special recordings only for purchase. One such album is already in the making.

What am I going to do with the little revenue that I might get from the music sales? I plan to use it for keeping my music equipment up to date. Software needs updates, I also need to purchase some more tools, and there are cost related to web hosting. All my music activities are currently running at a loss, and it would be great if I could stop this and at least break even.

The album that I am releasing now is My Music in 2010. I plan to do this now at the end of every year, to document my musical work for each year. I have no physical CD, these albums are all only available online.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Edvard Grieg: "The Death of Ase"

Here is now the post with the proper heading for this announcement of my new music recording: Edvard Grieg's "Peer Gynt Suite No.1, Op.46, II. The Death of Ase".

The MP3 file and the WMA file are available on my website.

A Quickie During Lunchtime

This heading is actually incorrect: it happened not during lunchtime but in the late evening hours, between 22:40 and 00:05, to be precise. I had just finished a meeting with my collaborators on the latest music project, a bit outside of my own comfort zone, something new and exciting - in the coming months I will post more details, but for now I have to keep quiet about this project. We had met in my little studio in Leeds, and Maestro-2 was at its best producing nice sounds, for the accompaniment of the singer. Oops, here I said it - but no more details for now! After everybody had left, I was still in the mood to produce some music, and I thought again of Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite. That second movement of the Suite No.1, "Ase's Death", looked like it could be done within two hours. First I watched the BBC 10 o'clock news, then I began to work. Yes that music is just strings with sordino, very slow, just two pages. And indeed, I had completed the recording within 1 hour 25 minutes. Good - a new quickie rendition completed!

And here it is, your moment of Zen: The MP3 file and the WMA file of Edvard Grieg's "Peer Gynt Suite No.1, Op.46, II. The Death of Ase".

Next will be "Solveig's Song", and then I just have to rework my old rendition of "In the Hall of the Mountain King", and the whole Suite No.1 is completed.

And now it would be the right time to change the heading of this post...