Emerald City Productions



Life is a combination of up’s and down’s, and I wonder how we treat the things that would trip us up in life?  Human beings as God’s Creation have a vast capacity to overcome.  There are those who have overcome immense difficulties in life to become ‘warriors’.  With everything ‘plain-sailing’ for we have lost the art of learning.  It has been said that we only learn through our mistakes, which I believe is true.  Churchhill commented on one of his Generals that he was like a ‘Iron Peg in Ice’-that is almost immovable.  Life is to be overcome-not for it to overcome us!

This Volcano for me adds that ‘variation’ in life-that ‘spontaneous thing’ that can beautiful or tiresome or death for some.  Nonetheless, how we look at this can be negative or positive-you could look at the death side and claim all is not lost or the Life side (Which also my Christian beliefs hold true) and say there is always something of beauty and positivity to be found.  I have lost friends, had immediate family members incur brain damage, have had tragedy personally, but I can always see the positive in life.

It depends on what we ‘look‘ at what we ‘see‘.  When we are taught to ‘see’ the best-suddenly it dawns on us that without difficulty their is no growth, no change, no modification of personally damaging behaviour etc.

Therefore to me, Volcano’s, hard things, penniless (I’ve been there) nature threatening and non-threatening or sheer beauty bring that spontaneity to life which brings that fun element or that depth of understanding which brings a richness and depth and joy.  Music quite specifically expresses that for me in a neat way-it is without words and therefore cannot be tainted by words which carry so much evil at times.  It can express goodness, Peace, joy, as well as great tragedies etc. I have written the Classical work ‘STORM’ as my first experiment into the expressing this ‘Torment’ side of Nature in weather.

Once again I hear the Ash Dust Cloud begin to bring that ‘British moan’ out in people-a lot of us have never had it so good!


‘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



by Paul on September 10, 2009

in General

Does Nature flow along with the creative and in harmony with our inward creative energies?  I often go for walks in a nearby forest called Pinchintorpe Forest looking for inward inspiration.  Over the years I can count on one hand that I have seen deer.  On every occasion I have seen one, I had an inner sense-quite clear, that I would see deer.  Brilliant!  These occasions lead to creativity in me, and I wrote the track-Pinchinthrope Forest-a Piano work from these inner leadings.  I would call it God leading me-He’s part of Life, you may call it something else.

It is a Classical piece, piano only with a beautiful melody-give it a listen on itunes….