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Strings ultimate challenge: Mahler 5th Adagietto

Bernard Duc

Member

After the success of my LOTR mockup, and since I have too little work and too much time since I move back to Switzerland, I decided to tackle a new piece. I asked for suggestions and received quite a few... but finally I decided to go for what I consider the ultimate challenge for string writing mockup: the Adagietto from Mahler's 5th symphony. (Sorry @celloboe, not Atonement yet, but it does have some beautiful cello lines).
Every note has a specific articulation and direction and the dynamics are constantly changing, sometimes drastically inside the notes!

I decided to go with Cinematic Studio Strings to do this job. First because it has a beautiful romantic sound and that it sounds more defined (vibrato more together) than most other libraries. Also the advanced legato mode gives me a flexibility that is necessary for this style of music. Finally it is very consistent and homogenous, especially between the dynamic layers, which is absolutely crucial for Mahler. I still added a tiny bit of Embertone Friedlander Violin to violin 1, in order to give them an even more focused sound in some sections... Though I wish I had CSSS, it would probably be even better.
The harp is Harp 1 from VSL. Actually I didn't manage to make it sound exactly as I wanted, I should maybe try with Harp 2...

My method was to first get the tempo map right and enter all the notes more or more or less rhythmically correctly. Then I went back and instrument by instrument I programmed CC1, CC11 and chose the legato types I wanted (with the rhythmic adjustments necessary). Finally I went back to the beginning and balanced all the instruments using track automation.

So here is the result of my work. Even though there are much less instruments than in the LOTR video it actually took me longer to complete the piece. Reaper, once again, behaved absolutely wonderfully. Finally I also have thank to maestro Claudio Abbado (RIP) for his guidance and for the inspiration (listen to his performance with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra if you want to hear the original)!

For those interested the MIDI and RPP files are here:
http://bit.ly/mahleradagietto
 
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jbuhler

Senior Member
The outer sections in particular sound wonderful, and the string tone fits nicely. I wanted slightly different coloring for the strings in the middle section (also somewhat different tempi in places). The big 6/4 chord at the end also seemed to lose the presence of the imagined hall. (Everyone's a critic. But in generally really excellent.)
 

Alex Niedt

Active Member
This is quite beautifully done! Great tone, dynamics, and general musicality. My only real complaint, no fault of yours, is how hissy the strings are in spots, particularly distracting in headphones. As a matter of personal taste, I'm used to Bernstein conducting, so the tempo here feels rather fast to me, haha. Anyway, great work!
 

Vik

Scandi Member
Thanks a lot for sharing this and for all the time you must have put into making this mockup, @Bernard Duc!! Highly appreciated.
I'd like to try to use your MIDI file to make a slower version with a combination of some string libraries I have, but I'm a bit confused regarding the CCs I saw in there... you use both CC1 and CC1, but then there are also a lot of CC88 messages in there. What do these control?
 

pderbidge

Senior Member
Beautiful recreation!I will resist for now but still love hearing CSS everytime I hear it. Also glad to see Reaper getting the nod as a viable orchestral composing DAW. Maybe not for everyone but definitely capable. Great job!
 
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Bernard Duc

Bernard Duc

Member
Thanks a lot for sharing this and for all the time you must have put into making this mockup, @Bernard Duc!! Highly appreciated.
I'd like to try to use your MIDI file to make a slower version with a combination of some string libraries I have, but I'm a bit confused regarding the CCs I saw in there... you use both CC1 and CC1, but then there are also a lot of CC88 messages in there. What do these control?
It's high resolution velocity, from the "new" MIDI specs. My keyboard write them (basically every note on and note off uses CC88 to increase the resolution). I wasn't even aware of it before you told me it was there!
 
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