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Vivaldi - Summer 1st Movement
Last post Thu, Oct 08 2020 by FedericoAsc, 7 replies.
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Posted on Tue, Oct 06 2020 09:32
by FedericoAsc
Joined on Fri, Jul 17 2020, Vienna, Posts 26

I continue with my experiments with the amazing Synchron Strings Pro, this time with Vivaldi. I tried some months ago the 1st movement of the Summer, and I wasn’t fully satisfied. I think these new strings allowed me to solve the issues I had. My setup is: for each section (violins 1/ 2, violas, cellos) I use my solo instruments and the corresponding section from Synchron Strings Pro. In my opinion, these strings are really great in giving body, texture and realism to fast and energetic pieces. 


This is my version and interpretation of Vivaldi’s Summer 1st movement:



Posted on Tue, Oct 06 2020 14:01
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 634

Bravo! Really excellent Frederico!

Especially love your command of dynamics throughout. The rendition lifted my mood effortlessly.

This is a super example of what SySPro can do; surely a prime candidate for VSL's music showcase.

"Music embodies feeling without forcing it to contend and combine with thought, as it is forced in most arts and especially in the art of words."
~ Franz Liszt
Posted on Tue, Oct 06 2020 20:18
by FedericoAsc
Joined on Fri, Jul 17 2020, Vienna, Posts 26

Thank you very much! I’m happy you enjoyed the track. Yes, in my opinion the SySP are quite a breakthrough. Now around us there is the technology to render difficult pieces like these baroque ones, that need expressive and realistic sound, but also precise dynamics.

Posted on Wed, Oct 07 2020 09:40
by jasensmith
Joined on Tue, Jan 15 2008, Arizona, Posts 1582
Very well done! I listened to it in my car and I found it an impressive virtual rendition of a classic.

Having said that, I'm going to have to disagree with Macker about the dynamics. To me, remember I'm listening in my car, it seemed to lack dynamics. It seemed to me there were only three Velocity layers at play in the piece.

Then again, I'm not familiar with the score so perhaps you simply performed what was written.

Nonetheless, it's a beautiful piece and you should be proud of your interpretation.

Thank you for posting.

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it."
- W.C. Fields
Posted on Wed, Oct 07 2020 15:04
by FedericoAsc
Joined on Fri, Jul 17 2020, Vienna, Posts 26

Thank you Jasen! I don't know exactly why and where you feel there are not enough dynamic layers, so I cannot address your concerns. I just can tell you that this piece is built around the contrast between solos and tutti, respectively representing worried, lonely creatures, and stormy nature. So there are basically just three main overall volume regions that are generated by the structure of the piece, considering that the first tutti is more moderate, since it represents the typical feeling of oppression one experiences during heat waves in northern Italy.

Posted on Thu, Oct 08 2020 13:31
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 634

Those are interesting and important points you've both made about dynamics, Jasen and Frederico. I wonder if, however, the discussion might be somewhat at cross-purposes unless we clarify which aspects of dynamics are being considered here.

There are of course two principal aspects to dynamics - volume and timbre. But in the realm of virtual instruments we have become accustomed to the  "expression" parameter being for volume only, whilst velocity or the "velocity XF" parameter takes care of those timbral changes which can depend on the volume aspect of "expression markings" in a score.

While listening to this rendition and in praising Frederico's handling of dynamics, I confess I was focussed mainly on volume dynamics. I'll also confess I enjoy what top pro mix engineers and mastering engineers typically do to the volume-dynamics of music, and in this regard I'm certainly no "authenticist". Frederico's mix fits immediately and very nicely into my accustomed enjoyment of well mixed and mastered productions.

On the other hand I can understand your concern about too few "velocity layers at play in the piece", Jasen. SySpro's Legato and Long patches have only 2 built-in velocity layers. And whilst the PP and Flautando patches can extend the total range of velocity-dependent timbres, I have yet to learn the factory presets and how best to harness and control the full range of velocity layers in various different musical contexts. (Also, I thought I caught a hint of synthetic augmentation of timbre in Vel-XF fading of the normal Long and Legato patches, but I could be mistaken; I must do some tests to find out). Apparently all this is in keeping with VSL's latest approach to constructing libraries.

I don't harbour any preconceptions about how baroque music should be rendered today (and anyway I'm in no way qualified to do so); I simply let musicians educate my ear with their various interpretations. As to whether or not Frederico's rendition could use a little more variety in timbral dynamics, I'm not at all sure.

Comparisons could indeed be made. For example there's a very fine rendition of Vivaldi's Autumn by Carles Piles in VSL's music showcase, and currently my fav recorded performance of the Four Seasons is by Alexandra Conunova with the Orchestre International de Genève (which might perhaps elicit some eye-rolling by Frederico and comments about how very not-Italian it sounds, lol - aah Europe, my beloved family), here on YT:


"Music embodies feeling without forcing it to contend and combine with thought, as it is forced in most arts and especially in the art of words."
~ Franz Liszt
Posted on Thu, Oct 08 2020 17:13
by FedericoAsc
Joined on Fri, Jul 17 2020, Vienna, Posts 26

Very interesting! First of all, that recording of Summer is really good. For my taste the tempo of the tutti is too fast, so they last too little and one cannot fully savor them. It’s a display of virtuosity for the sake of it, typical of Vivaldi recordings :) Moreover, the sound is a just a little bit too warm, while the typical baroque sound is more metallic. In my intro I indeed tried to craft that metallic sound, which makes more intense the numerous dissonances. This is my current favorite recording of the Summer, with baroque instruments:




Then I confirm what Macker said. Most of the libraries I used have two/three dynamic layers, in the sense of velocity. So I certainly had to compensate with expression controls. The spiccato/staccato tends to be particularly flat in most sample libraries I tried, i.e. they sound quite the same in terms of timbre at all velocities, and when there are jumps, they are quite sudden. SySPro makes no exception. In this piece the tutti are really forceful so that was not a problem. However, I used little tricks. In the 3rd tutti, for example, in the middle of the first phrase, I added a new instance of SySPro violins 1 for a small crescendo effect: the original instance was using staccato at high velocities, the new one the articulation called "staccato ff". With this trick I could simulate something in between staccato f and staccato ff, this last being quite harsh. 


In general, by playing with the dynamics of the various instruments and combine them together, one can generate various combinations, and simulate many more dynamic layers. I regularly do that, but here not too much, because in my opinion this piece is good with few "true" dynamic layers, so I’m happy with what libraries gave to me.

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