WestFocus seminar: Creative production for classical music
Waterloo campus of King's College London: Franklin Wilkins Building room 1.10, 150 Stamford Street, London - Monday 5 June 2006, 12-7pm
This event was co-organized by CHARM and Thames Valley University as part of the WestFocus Creative Industries Network.
|12.40-12.45pm||Nicholas Cook (CHARM, Royal Holloway, University of London), Introduction|
|12.45-1.30pm||Mark Irwin (London College of Music, Thames Valley University), 'House of shattering glass'|
|1.30-2.15pm||Steve Savage (San Francisco State University/Royal Holloway), 'Creating the hyperreal in classical recordings'|
|2.30-3.15pm||Brian Lock (Royal Holloway, University of London), 'Sound production in composition'|
|3.15-4.00pm||Charles Wiffen (Bath Spa University), 'Playing with the alter ego: control, vanity and selflessness in multitracking'|
|4.15-5.00pm||Kathryn Beresford (Institute of Sound Recording, University of Surrey), 'Novel spatial audio scenes: Classical music for surround sound'|
|5.00-6.00pm||Roundtable featuring Jenny Doctor (York University), Keith Negus (Goldsmiths College, University of London) and David Patmore (University of Sheffield)|
ABSTRACTS & SPEAKER INFORMATION
Institute of Sound Recording, University of Surrey
Novel spatial audio scenes: Classical music for surround sound
The multichannel audio industry is an area of continued technological development and growing consumer acceptance, particularly in the home environment with the introduction of DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD. There has been widespread adoption by many consumers of home theatre and multichannel systems, allowing music-only recordings in the multichannel environment to take advantage of the developments.
Much of the creative adaptation within the commercial market has been concentrated in the popular music genre. With regards to commercial classical recording releases, traditional practices and concepts are still very much in favour. The opportunity to make unusual but commercially viable classical recordings, which could be accomplished with some creative recording techniques, is often avoided.
Research was conducted at the Institute of Sound Recording at the University of Surrey, with the aim of discovering listener opinions for multichannel classical music recordings, with particular consideration for alternatives to the traditional approach, and to determine if unusual recording methods are commercially viable for classical music. Recordings were made with pre-existing microphone techniques but alternative arrangements of musicians. These were used in a formal listening test to assess different subjective attributes such as timbral balance, envelopment, naturalness, listening comfort.
Kathryn Beresford is a PhD student in the Institute of Sound Recording at the University of Surrey in Guildford. She graduated from the Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) course at Surrey in June 2005. As part of the degree, Kathryn spent a year working as a music editor for Chandos Records Ltd in Colchester, Essex. This work included editing and mastering a variety of classical recordings, including work on Super Audio CD. Her experiences working with classical music in surround sound inspired her undergraduate research project, which forms the basis for this paper. After graduation, Kathryn began her PhD research in October 2005 with the support of Harman/Becker Automotive Systems, UK. The research focuses on sound quality evaluation in automotive audio with specific interest in timbral and spatial quality.
London College of Music, Thames Valley University
House of shattering glass
On July 10th 1962 the Telstar communications satellite was launched and on that same day live television pictures originating in the United States were received in France. In October 1962 maverick independent record producer Joe Meek had a massive chart hit with the Tornedos' Telstar. Joe Meek changed the face of popular music and defined the role of the pop producer for decades to come. This paper will examine examples of his work and his pioneering approach to music production.
Mark Irwin has over 18 years experience as a freelance sound engineer and producer, working across all areas of the discipline from live and broadcast audio to studio and post-production projects. Mark cut his teeth 'on the road', firstly as an audio engineer then later as Director of Scan PA Hire. During this period Mark also worked as a freelance engineer/technician on many worldwide concert tours. In the early 1990s Mark began a seven-year stint as Managing Director at west London's Straylight Studios, working with record companies such as Creation, Sony, Chrysalis, PolyGram and EMI.
For the last eight years Mark has been involved with the development and delivery of the BA(Hons) Music Technology, the Foundation Degree in Music/Multimedia Technology and more recently the development and successful launch of an MA in Audio Technology for the London College of Music (LCM) at Thames Valley University. In November 2004 Mark was appointed Director of Studies (Music & Performance) at LCM.
Mark's clients have included: David Gray, Stereophonics, Morcheeba, Hothouse Flowers, Joe Strummer, Dave Stewart, Ronnie Spector, Natasha Atlas, Femi Kuti, Beverly Knight, Tim Finn/Crowded House, Howard Jones, and The Jesus and Mary Chain.
Royal Holloway, University of London
Sound production in composition
This paper will examine the relationship between sound production and contemporary composition. It will contend that the field of media music (widely defined and incorporating music for film, TV, advertisements and music for production libraries and games etc.) has been the most innovative in exploring the interconnections between sound production and acoustic ‘classical’ based type composition. The paper will look in depth at several examples and explore some of the approaches to composition/production being taken and examine the techniques being used. Examples will include music from the film scores of Zbigniew Preisner, Thomas Newman and Hans Zimmer and from the recent BBC TV series The Apprentice as well as looking at a cue from Brian Lock’s score to The Gambler. The paper will continue by examining techniques from contemporary pop, Portishead and Leftfield, and classical, Philip Glass and Heiner Goebbels.
The paper will examine why innovations in production/composition have been so prevalent in media and pop music and yet have made little impact in the classical world. As a way of trying to do this Brian Lock will talk from practical experience of issues involved in composing a new work which marries contemporary production techniques with a classical piece using his Concerto for Clarinet, Microphone, Camera, 2 Computers and Small Ensemble as an example. The paper will end by outlining possible future approaches and implications for musicians, education and industry.
Brian Lock first won wide recognition in the film world for his reworkings of Schubert and Johann Strauss for Jane Campion’s Portrait of a Lady. This was followed by original scores for the esteemed Hungarian film director Karoly Makk’s The Gambler, based on the novel by Dostoevesky and starring Sir Michael Gambon and Jodi May; and then for David Leland’s war-time love story The Land Girls. Both of these scores received Ivor Novello Award nominations for ‘Best Score for a Feature Film’. Brian’s most recent film score is for esteemed French director Philippe de Broca’s adaptation of the classic French children’s novel, Vipere au Poing.
Born in Hampshire, Brian studied composition with Alexander Goehr at Trinity Hall, Cambridge University. After achieving his Masters degree he continued his studies at the Chopin Academy in Warsaw, taking composition lessons from, amongst others, the revered H.M. Gorecki.
Brian has long had a significant reputation in Europe (to which the success of Vipere au Poing has added). He has scored several critically-acclaimed Polish films including Magneto, directed by the renowned Jan Jakub Kolski, Wielki Czlowiek do Malych Interesow by Woyciech Nowak and Mariusz Trelinski’s feature based on Dostoevesky, A Gentle Creature. Other film credits include the BBC production of Chinese director Zhang Zeming’s Foreign Moon and orchestrations of the music for the BBC Olympics and Winter Olympics. In the world of theatre Brian composed the music for the Warsaw adaptation of Tony Kushner’s renowned play Angels in America. His television music is used worldwide and can regularly be heard on programs like Panorama, World in Action and Access Hollywood.
Brian has worked intensively with computers, traditional instruments and interrelationships with other media like theatre, sound design, radio and literature. In many ways this reflects the avant-guard tradition of which he is part yet is pushing into previously unchartered connections with technology and popular music. He is currently working on a Concerto for Clarinet, Microphone, Camera, 2 Computers and Small Ensemble, a song cycle called Songs for a New Europe based on poems in Polish, Czech, French and English for Singer, Sequencer and Ensemble to be premiered in Prague and New York in 2007. In the purely acoustic domain he is composing a set of new Preludes for Harp which will be premiered in London during 2007 by Hugh Webb, principal harpist of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. His Sonata for Flute and Piano has just received its world premier with Susan Milan, flute, in Seoul, South Korea, and will receive its British premier at the Wigmore Hall in January 2007.
Several of Brian’s film scores have been commercially released on disc: The Gambler and Vipere au Poing on the Virgin Classics label, and The Land Girls on Silva Screen. He has acted as a judge on film music for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and given numerous lectures and talks on composition at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, The National Film and Television School, the Royal College of Music and numerous universities in the UK and abroad. Brian is also Senior Lecturer in Composition and Music Technology at Royal Holloway, University of London.
CHARM, University of Sheffield
David Patmore was educated at Stowe School and Christ Church, Oxford, where he read Modern History. He then studied opera stage management at the London Opera Centre, and subsequently worked for several British opera companies, including Glyndebourne Festival Opera, the English Opera Group and the Royal Opera Company, Covent Garden, in various different technical and managerial capacities. He spent five years as Administrator of the King’s Lynn Festival and Fermoy Arts Centre before joining the Yorkshire Arts Association as its Music Officer. This was followed by periods with Bradford City Council and Sheffield City Council, for whom he worked for an extensive period as Director of Arts and Museums. After gaining an MBA at the University of Sheffield he left local government and was funded by the ERSC to study for a cross-disciplinary Ph D on the influence of recording and the recording industry. This was followed by post-doctoral study into the recording career of Sir Thomas Beecham, which was funded by the AHRB. He currently teaches in the Management School and Music Department of the University of Sheffield. His research interests are entrepreneurialism in the recording industry and the interaction between commercial and cultural activities. He has been reviewing and writing about recordings for over twenty-five years and has contributed to numerous popular magazines, including Classic Record Collector, Gramophone, Sounds, Which CD? and Fugue, as well as refereed articles to the Journal of the Association of Recorded Sound Collections.
San Francisco State University/Royal Holloway, University of London
Creating the hyperreal in classical recordings
This paper will focus on the practical application of pop music mixing techniques to classical recordings. Pop music mixers regularly create “impossible” acoustical environments that are “more real than real” – to borrow from Baudrillard’s notion of hyperreality. Ambiences are combined to create soundstages that could not exist in the natural world. Aggressive use of compression and EQ along with dynamic automation add to the hyperreal environment. Here I consider these techniques for use in the mixing of classical music.
We will listen to a small segment of Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” that I have remixed using some of these interpretive techniques. Particular attention has been paid to how these techniques may be used to heighten the violent subtext of the passage selected and how they may enhance Stravinsky’s musical gestures. The program material comes from an original multi-track recording of the San Francisco Symphony. I will demonstrate the process for creating this mix via the Pro Tools program file.
Steve Savage is an active producer and recording engineer. He has had 6 Grammy nominations for CDs on which he was the primary engineer. These include CDs for Robert Cray, John Hammond and The Gospel Hummingbirds. Recent projects also include CDs for Otis Rush, Deborah Coleman, Rod Piazza, Freddie Hughes and Sista Monica.
Steve is the author of The Rhythm Book published by ArtistPro and is a part-time instructor in the Recording Arts department at Los Medanos College and in the Humanities department at San Francisco State University. He is also a PhD candidate studying with Nicholas Cook at Royal Holloway.
Bath Spa University
Playing with the alter ego: control, vanity and selflessness in multitracking
The practice of multitracking or overdubbing is taken for granted in pop production and has been employed by artists as diverse as Jascha Heifetz, Glenn Gould and the Emerson Quartet in the classical field. Nevertheless, such production techniques remain relatively uncommon in the classical recording industry. This paper examines both the technique itself and the aesthetic implications thereof, with reference to case studies. I suggest that the function of the recording changes along with the process itself: the recording becomes an artefact that is complete in itself and therefore loses many of its associations with (and aspirations to) live performance. The paper investigates the boundaries between public and private space which may be crossed in such recordings as well as issues of editorial and interpretational control.
Charles Wiffen is a pianist, lecturer and researcher and has performed extensively in Great Britain, Europe, North America, Israel and Southern Africa. He has broadcast for BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM and has recorded CDs for the ROSL, Sheldon and Black Box labels. He is a member of the London Archduke Trio and Contemporary Consort the latter with whom he appeared at the 2003 BBC Proms performing music by Judith Weir. Since 1998, he has performed and given chamber music classes at the Dartington International Summer School.
As well as lecturing at Bath Spa, Charles is a lecturer at the Royal College of Music where he has been Grove Research Fellow since 1998. He also teaches at Trinity College of Music in London. Charles is currently editing the piano music of Elgar for the Elgar Complete Edition with Dr Paul Banks. Charles's research career has focused on musical transformation and on music in film. His doctoral dissertation is on the solo piano transcription since 1900. He is in demand as a speaker, and has given pre-concert talks for the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Wigmore Hall.