Emerald City Productions

‘Concepcion-the first performance of ‘

by Paul on February 24, 2010

in Electronic Music, General, Music

‘Concepcion’ started out as a piece that was written whilst trying out an idea within Nuendo the software sequencer package.  The idea was Orchestral and Classical, scored with strings and a smattering of wind instruments.  I played it to Russ Conway, my A&R Manager at the time, who likened it to Goretsky, a famous classical composer.  He really liked the piece and suggested that I scored and modified it.  After some work, it ended up in it’s present form.  It seemed that many people liked the work and it was arranged by Russ Conway that the work would be performed at the Stockton Riverside Music Festival in July 2004.

I had to prepare the piece for public performance, so set about scoring the piece for production.  It took about 3 Months before I had finished with something that which is required for professional musicians.  The score was then passed on to Deborah Mollison who scored the hit film ‘East is East’.  We passed the score for correction between each other several times, visiting London to see Deborah before an agreed working score was achieved.  Without her input the dream would have never been realised.

The work has a melancholic sadness but beauty about it, which seems to deeply move people.  After some time it was clear the score needed a title.  After some thought, I realised that the name of my Fathers Burial place would be very appropriate, as A) I had not been able to visit the place, and B) it would be an appropriate memorial to him and his life.

My Father is buried in a little town-Concepcion in the Republic of Paraguay, South America where he was a Christian Missionary when he died under suspicious circumstances.

The works ‘tone of sadness’ yet beauty seem a very appropriate.  After the title was arrived at it was time for the work to be performed at its Premier performance.  It was arranged that it would be played at St Peters Church in Stockton on Tees that had very good acoustics.  Also as an experiment, because of the lack of monies, and the work would be experimentally produced and performed to massively save on costs of a full Orchestra.

I took up this challenge and assured Russ Conway that all would be ok!  We had one rehearsal to get it right-he not knowing my shear fright at the idea!

It was a challenge, but I set about producing the score so that it would play back through Nuendo and on a Midi Instrument if necessary.  This was to be a Yamaha A4000 Professional sampler.  In the score, I provided a Click Track so that the Orchestra would have a cue to come in to.  The idea was that I would record the Instruments and score them into Nuendo.  I would then play back the piece from the Orchestral Samples of my Garritan Personal Orchestra in Nuendo they would be recorded by the A4000.  The idea was that on hitting the ‘play sample’ button on the A4000 Sampler the Orchestra would play ‘in time’ to the ‘Orchestra’ recorded in Nuendo playing through the ‘fold back speakers’, and the orchestra players would accompany the playback adding that ‘real effect’-it worked like a dream!

Members from the Northern Sinfonia were recruited and made up the real orchestra to accompany the sample orchestra with one or two friends of Russ Conway.

On the rehearsal night, a PA was thankfully hastily arranged by Studio 64 in Middlesbrough at the time now called TMA (Tees Music Alliance).  Deborah Mollison was brought up from London.  However neither I nor Russ Conway or Studio 64 had thought about recording the great event!

On the night, all the musicians turned up, and the bows were ready!  The click started in the players fold back and off we went on a pre-premier practice-it sounded fantastic!-then suddenly, Russ Conway had the idea-what about the recording of the work!  Ideas were quickly gone through, and an engineer was suddenly dispatched home to get hold of his Sony handheld Mono DAT recorder!  30 Mins Later and just in time, the performance and recording started.  People were very complementary and I was over the moon with the sound that we had got.  Deep resonances of the piece worked well with the acoustics of the Church which enriched the energy and Pathos in the piece.  Paul Burns, the manager of TMA was more than complementary of the Pieces performance, and a celebration meal was held for the benefit of all the Players.

The only recording that survives is the mono Sony DAT recording.  So I set about trying to EQ and Master the recording for possible release on the Ether!  I used Wavelab 5 and Har-Bal including my beloved Reverb Wizooverb.  It still needs work on the Mastering, but it has been used for various projects.

On reflection, it was just a shame that the work was not in Full Orchestral mode and that we did not have a Stereo recording, however all were well pleased with the whole process and the effort put in on the night.

You can hear the recording on www.itunes.com/paulstokes on the album: Natural Force

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