Symphony Series Solo Woodwinds

markleake

Recovering sale addict
I'm curious to know why the saxophone gets so slapped around. It can be a very good instrument for orchestral work, just as good as the other reeds, if played well. It can be emotional and have a wonderful smooth tone. It doesn't have to be played brashly at top dynamics all the time. No one asks the clarinet player to belt it out at top harshness level very often. Also, the modwheel needs to be moved to make the saxophone voice it's full dynamics - that's why the other saxophones you compare it to sound very different.
 

ptram

Senior Member
The brassy quality of today's sax is the consequence of an historical misunderstanding. Sax, and later Buescher and Conn, conceived their instruments as a powerful blend between woodwinds and brass instruments. The timbre had to blend well with the woodwinds, and be as powerful as a brass.

The instrument was later nearly forgotten, due to boycott by manufacturers of traditional instruments, until the Brown Brothers decided it was funny enough for their clown show. And the saxophone craze began, influencing the rising genre of jazz. From there on, the sax was the king of jazz, and jazz was the natural environment for the sax.

French, German and Russian composers dedicated several important works to this reborn instrument, and the wide part of the 'classic' sax literature in the first half of the XX century was written for Sax (now Selmer) or Buescher instruments. That is, for an instrument blending well with woodwinds. Siegurd Raschèr was the committant of most of the greatest sax literature of that age, and he only played on a Buescher.

The Second World War destroyed not only that literature, but also many of the lives of avant-garde composers writing for the sax. Both the nazis and Stalin forbid the sax, because it was an instruments mostly used by Jewish or Afro-American musicians, or (on the opposite front) by 'formalists' going against popular music (or just the taste of the dictator). The after-war period saw a refusal not only of nazi music, but also of the music of the victims of the nazis (and, on the opposite front, of the communists). The instrument was long forgotten.

I think that, after the war, Stockhausen was the first one to regularly use a sax in his works. Of the composers using the sax, Prokofiev had died early, and Schostakovich was still controlled by the regime. When the sax was used again by avant-garde composers starting from the later part of the century, only Selmer was building saxes in mass production (Yamaha and Jupiter were just beginning). And the sound developed by Selmer was a sound meant for jazz. Brassy, nasal, overly bright, intended to be a soloist and not for blending.

Selmer tried later to develop some models and accessories with a mellower sound. But the design was still focused on jazz, the main target of the instrument. VSL has sampled Mark VI instruments, the typical series of the jazz of the Sixties. I can't find samples of wide-bore instruments, apart for an R&C Saxello from Versilian.

We really need samples of instruments blending better with orchestral samples, but it is very difficult to find classical sax players that will not play on a Selmer sax (Mark VI or Series II), with a Selmer mouthpiece (S-80 or S-90) and a Vandoren Traditional (very buzzy) reed.

Paolo
 
Last edited:

sostenuto

Big NKS Fan !
Hey guys,

Native Instruments is having a crossgrade sale on the Symphony Series.

Here's a walkthrough of the Solo Woodwinds. A comparison of the Essential and full Series version.


Thanks,

Bill
Subscribe on YT, but perhaps missed your SS-Brass. Did you do a full walkthrough? If not, do you plan one soon ?

…….. and yes, I have reviewed, and appreciate Daniel James' excellent video.
 
Last edited:

sostenuto

Big NKS Fan !
I'm curious to know why the saxophone gets so slapped around. It can be a very good instrument for orchestral work, just as good as the other reeds, if played well. It can be emotional and have a wonderful smooth tone. It doesn't have to be played brashly at top dynamics all the time. No one asks the clarinet player to belt it out at top harshness level very often. Also, the modwheel needs to be moved to make the saxophone voice it's full dynamics - that's why the other saxophones you compare it to sound very different.
Welcome post ! I am totally lost with subtleties of many orchestral instruments; and saxophone is surely one.
OTH, my tastes are narrow and Paul Desmond is at top of Sax list; just as Chris Botti is with Trumpet.

A bit late in game to make major change, but will take your post as impetus to do some serious research. :geek:

THX !
 

ptram

Senior Member
By the way, this is an original Sax saxophone. The collaboration between Sax and Wagner should make this piece much more revealing than the typical light, brilliant French music of the time so much beloved by classical sax players.


Debussy disliked the sax, but he would probably have changed idea if listening to his piece from this player.


Paolo
 
Last edited:

Rodney Money

On V.I. avoiding work.
The brassy quality of today's sax is the consequence of an historical misunderstanding. Sax, and later Buescher and Conn, conceived their instruments as a powerful blend between woodwinds and brass instruments. The timbre had to blend well with the woodwinds, and be as powerful as a brass.

The instrument was later nearly forgotten, due to boycott by manufacturers of traditional instruments, until the Brown Brothers decided it was funny enough for their clown show. And the saxophone craze began, influencing the rising genre of jazz. From there on, the sax was the king of jazz, and jazz was the natural environment for the sax.

French, German and Russian composers dedicated several important works to this reborn instrument, and the wide part of the 'classic' sax literature in the first half of the XX century was written for Sax (now Selmer) or Buescher instruments. That is, for an instrument blending well with woodwinds. Siegurd Raschèr was the committant of most of the greatest sax literature of that age, and he only played on a Buescher.

The Second World War destroyed not only that literature, but also many of the lives of avant-garde composers writing for the sax. Both the nazis and Stalin forbid the sax, because it was an instruments mostly used by Jewish or Afro-American musicians, or (on the opposite front) by 'formalists' going against popular music (or just the taste of the dictator). The after-war period saw a refusal not only of nazi music, but also of the music of the victims of the nazis (and, on the opposite front, of the communists). The instrument was long forgotten.

I think that, after the war, Stockhausen was the first one to regularly use a sax in his works. Of the composers using the sax, Prokofiev had died early, and Schostakovich was still controlled by the regime. When the sax was used again by avant-garde composers starting from the later part of the century, only Selmer was building saxes in mass production (Yamaha and Jupiter were just beginning). And the sound developed by Selmer was a sound meant for jazz. Brassy, nasal, overly bright, intended to be a soloist and not for blending.

Selmer tried later to develop some models and accessories with a mellower sound. But the design was still focused on jazz, the main target of the instrument. VSL has sampled Mark VI instruments, the typical series of the jazz of the Sixties. I can't find samples of wide-bore instruments, apart for an R&C Saxello from Versilian.

We really need samples of instruments blending better with orchestral samples, but it is very difficult to find classical sax players that will not play on a Selmer sax (Mark VI or Series II), with a Selmer mouthpiece (S-80 or S-90) and a Vandoren Traditional (very buzzy) reed.

Paolo
Sax, Conn, and Selmer! You're speakn' my language, yo!
 

markleake

Recovering sale addict
Check out this wonderful video explaining and showing all!
Yes, I've seen this YT video before. There is such a very interesting history to this instrument that I would never have guessed. And thanks @ptram for your posts, they explain a lot.

I'd love it if a good sample developer was able to sample one or two more orchestral focused saxes (not the loud brash kind, although some flexibility in dynamics for a sax is obviously good) and we could start using them to orchestrate. I promise I wouldn't just double them with the horns all the time! :)
 
OP
amadeus1

amadeus1

Active Member
Welcome post ! I am totally lost with subtleties of many orchestral instruments; and saxophone is surely one.
OTH, my tastes are narrow and Paul Desmond is at top of Sax list; just as Chris Botti is with Trumpet.

A bit late in game to make major change, but will take your post as impetus to do some serious research. :geek:

THX !
You're welcome!
 

rottoy

Plebeian
By the way, this is an original Sax saxophone. The collaboration between Sax and Wagner should make this piece much more revealing than the typical light, brilliant French music of the time so much beloved by classical sax players.


Debussy disliked the sax, but he would probably have changed idea if listening to his piece from this player.


Paolo
Now that's a beautiful tone! :elephant:
 

sostenuto

Big NKS Fan !
(Rodney, including a clip with Amy Dickson is not good for my hearth!)
You great people, and this Forum, never cease to amaze and infuse !!!
Just from this Thread …. have watched video of Amy Dickson teaching children to handle stress with breathing; was alerted to her album 'Glass'; now have magical Tidal Playlist with (5) of her albums, to enjoy for hours on end. Thank-you ! Merci beaucoup :cool:
 

leon chevalier

Piano roll musician
By the way, this is an original Sax saxophone. The collaboration between Sax and Wagner should make this piece much more revealing than the typical light, brilliant French music of the time so much beloved by classical sax players.


Debussy disliked the sax, but he would probably have changed idea if listening to his piece from this player.


Paolo
Whaou ! Thanks ! I'm hearing a new wind I've never heard before ! Fantastic day !
 

Hywel

I'm a musical nobody...
You great people, and this Forum, never cease to amaze and infuse !!!
Just from this Thread …. have watched video of Amy Dickson teaching children to handle stress with breathing; was alerted to her album 'Glass'; now have magical Tidal Playlist with (5) of her albums, to enjoy for hours on end. Thank-you ! Merci beaucoup :cool:
+1
 

ptram

Senior Member
On the other side, aren't the other woodwinds in the Symphony Series a bit on the light, airy side? I'm more and more convinced that they were conceived with fantasy movies in mind.

Paolo