May 10, 2006
I was afraid this would happen.
I just installed the Vienna Symphonic Library “FX Percussion” sample set, and while playing with various instruments, I discovered one that I’ve only heard once before — a waterphone. Tan Dun begins his Concerto for Water Percussion with this instrument, but I had no idea what it was called. Now that I’ve heard it again — this time in sample format (that is, actual recordings of the instrument prepared for synth playback) — I wish I could use the sound in a piece. The problem is that waterphones are custom handmade by a guy named Richard Waters, and they’re very expensive — starting at $800. I can’t very well write a part for an instrument that nobody can afford to purchase. But wow, it’s a cool sound. AEJ heard it from the other room and yelled something to the effect of, “that’s scary.” It’s very… I don’t know. Haunted ship? Check out the inventor’s website. This is the danger of playing with great and interesting samples — you end up wanting to use these sounds for real, and often, it’s not realistic.
While you’re reading things, there’s a review of the Naxos “Redline Tango” CD in this week’s Time Out New York. Here’s the link. Has anybody seen this review in print? Newman? Would somebody mind picking up a copy for me?