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Thread: Orchestral/Ensemble/Instrumental Groups?

  1. #1
    nathanb
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    Default Orchestral/Ensemble/Instrumental Groups?

    Just got home from a medium-length drive full of Gruppen and Carre...

    ...And again, I find myself wondering about this contemporary trend of orchestral groups. I understand the spatial aspect of a live performance, but given what I've read about Carter's "Symphony Of Three Orchestras", I thought we might open a discussion of possible compositional benefits of this sort of writing. Specifically, once you put the work in a recorded setting (thus removing most of the spatial aspects), what benefits do Stockhausen, Carter, Barraque, Andre, etc reap from composing for separate groups? "A Symphony Of Three Orchestras" doesn't particularly *sound* all that different from "A Symphony" when it comes out of my car speakers, so I'm wondering if there is a reason beyond live spatial performance for these works.

    Thoughts?

  2. Likes Morimur liked this post
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    If a piece only sounds good coming out of an expensive hi-fi system, it's not a good piece.

  4. #3
    nathanb
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morimur View Post
    If a piece only sounds good coming out of an expensive hi-fi system, it's not a good piece.
    Well, all the pieces in question sound great but the remainders of a spatial recording are often lost, so it becomes a matter of "why are all these orchestras divided up anyway?"

    I am, perhaps, wondering more if division of instruments is done to make certain serial/stochastic ideas more easily executed.

    Edit: Not that my small brain should really be worrying about such matters. Zero formal training over here, fyi. All wikipedia plus a hopefully-one-day-complete engineering degree. Can't say I could make much of a non-piano score if I tried. But I *DID* write 12 measures of "Eine Kleine Würfelmusik" today after my engineering chemistry class! (By chance, you could say )

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    Arcane? I thought I recognized the writing style. You changed your name!

  6. #5
    nathanb
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morimur View Post
    Arcane? I thought I recognized the writing style. You changed your name!
    Oh lord, I have a "writing style"? Is it that bad?!

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    Besides spatial effects, one of the advantages of separated groups each of which has a conductor is that each group can play at different tempo. I believe Ives used multiple tempos simultaneously. The effect can be heard with a stereo recording.

    Also, not an orchestral work, but Kyle Gann's Long Night is "for three nonsynchronized pianos at different tempos." Each pianist could use an independent (silent) metronome.

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