Toys that aren’t toys

Anybody have any experience with the Vienna Symphony Library samples? I’ve used the mallet samples (they’re the primary source of sounds in the recording of “Mass“), but that’s it. I’m considering picking up the Brass & Woodwinds collection. My wind samples are especially lacking, and other than good trombone samples, I really don’t have good brass, either. Since I’ll be writing primarily wind ensemble works for the next two years, the Vienna collection might be a good investment. (Plus, they’re tax deductible!) They seem fun — one of those toys that isn’t quite a toy — but are they worth the expense? Comments, anyone?

I keep meaning to take some time off, but for the past two days, I’ve been busy. Being away for a week leaves a lot to catch up on. Some of it is minor, like burning CDs of the original orchestra version of “Redline Tango” for the Cabrillo Festival. (Shameless plug, but Marin Alsop is doing the piece there on August 13. I am mad excited.) I also decided to clean up the score for the wind version of “Redline Tango,” since I was out of full-size 11×17 scores, and I had just been blowing up an 8.5×14 master up until now. I finally grouped the choirs together and moved the bassoon and contrabassoon up to the upper choir, so they’re grouped with the flutes and oboes. It’s a small touch, but it looks a lot better to me. Plus, since I have a tabloid printer now, it made sense to finally format a master copy at that size. That took most of yesterday.

Much of the remainder of yesterday and today was taken by catching up on emails. The good news is that three ensembles in the past two days have programmed Redline Tango for next fall: University of Miami, University of Oklahoma, and Peabody. Add those to Northwestern and Bowling Green, who have just programmed it for this semester, and that little piece will get some fantastic play over the next several months!

The plan tonight is to make beef stew with AEJ. Well, sort of. I’ll make the marinade and cut all of the vegetables tonight, but it’ll cook all day tomorrow. Gotta love the crock pot. (I think I may actually be a grandmother at heart. And given my love of cream corn, perhaps I’m a white trash grandmother.)

Mmm…. Cream corn…


jim says

The Vienna samples ROCK. They take some getting used to so that the articulations are the way you want them, but the final results are excellent. The older crop of orchestral samples (M.Vitous, Advanced Orchestra, and Roland Orchestra libraries) were pretty uneven -- ESPECIALLY in the brass section. If you're planning to really mock stuff up, then the Vienna samples are great. Otherwise, I'd get an old Roland 1080 and an orchestral card and fudge it... heck, it works for Pulitzer prize-winning composer Jonathan Newman!

Add comment

Your comment will be revised by the site if needed.