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Best symphonic orchestra VST? #2745255
06/18/18 06:59 AM
06/18/18 06:59 AM
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CyberGene Offline OP
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In the list of my never ending new interests and hobbies here's another one laugh I've become more and more interested in symphonic music for the last 5-10 years to the point where that entirely replaced my interest in jazz. And while I have a ton of jazz theory books, most of which concerns harmony which is easily testable on a piano, the symphonic music is also a lot about orchestration. I am a total newbie and so I ordered Rimsky-Korsakov's Principles of Orchestration book but also wondered what VST would be as close to recreating a real symphonic orchestra in order for me to test the theory and experiment myself? I see Garritan have some orchestra VST-s and they make the excellent CFX so I think I might try it. Any other recommendations? Also, I remember I've seen demos of a VST some years ago whose name I can't remember but the more distinguishing feature was that it's not simply a bunch of orchestra instruments controllable through MIDI which would always sound artificial but also contained numerous phrases with articulations typical for each instrument which sounded like a real orchestra. Does anyone know the name of that software?


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Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2745264
06/18/18 07:17 AM
06/18/18 07:17 AM
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Garritan is really bad compared to what offered nowadays in the orchestral VST market.
I use East West Hollywood Orchestra Diamond and I quite satisfied.
You have to know the trick how to create two instruments sections of woodwinds, because one oboe per section for example, is not enough IMO.

There are libraries that considered better or more modern than East West Hollywood Orchestra Diamond, like Spitfire libraries or Orchestral Tools libraries. But those are aiming toward very specific sound, very big and grandiose sound.

With my approach, and the way I like to do things, the best library I could have, the one that I want the most, is a big VSL bundle, I wish I had the budget for that.

Last edited by hag01; 06/18/18 07:22 AM.
Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: hag01] #2745267
06/18/18 07:24 AM
06/18/18 07:24 AM
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CyberGene Offline OP
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Originally Posted by hag01
You have to know the trick how to create two instruments sections of woodwinds, because one oboe per section for example, is not enough IMO.


Well, as I said, I am a total newbie in orchestration frown Are there any books on orchestration that you can recommend besides the Korsakov one I ordered? I've found a few more on Amazon but I usually prefer having only one proven and tested book...

The Garritan PO demos are really awful... You are right. I'm currently listening to IK Multimedia Miroslav Philharmonik 2 and they are much better!

I'll definitely check the East West Hollywood Orchestra, thanks!


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Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2745273
06/18/18 07:40 AM
06/18/18 07:40 AM
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Walter Piston. His book has been a reference for decades.

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Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: Bosendorff] #2745274
06/18/18 07:41 AM
06/18/18 07:41 AM
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CyberGene Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Bosendorff
Walter Piston. His book has been a reference for decades.


Thanks!


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Currently: Kawai ES7 -> Garritan CFX
Previously: Kawai MP6, Kawai CA63, Roland RD-700SX, Roland FP-5, Yamaha P90, Korg SP-200, Casio CDP-100
Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2745276
06/18/18 07:43 AM
06/18/18 07:43 AM
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IMO you don't have to know real orchestration in order to do orchestral MIDI mockups.

Real orchestration and orchestral MIDI mockups is completely different.

What you do have to do in order to be good at both, is to listen a lot to orchestral music, and start to recognize the sound of the individual instruments. How each instrument sounds. for that I sometimes listen to solo pieces just to be more familiar with the sound of some instrument.
If you get to a point where you listen to a recording and you recognize what voice comes from what instrument\s, you are in a good position.
Note that many times one voice comes from more than one section. And you have to recognize when you hear a full section and when you hear solo instrument(but that's easy IMO).

The next step is to to transcript by ear orchestral music, I'd start with small chamber music.
But real orchestration has a lot more than that, while MIDI productions has other stuff you have to learn that have nothing to do with real orchestration...

Hear an ear transcription I did for some film music, as an exercise(sounds from EW HOD):
https://youtu.be/VNGOi9w2N3c

But this is not really part of my current study program, I did it for fun.
My current study program is to transcript Haydn strings quartets.

But in order to be a composer you also have to learn harmony - counterpoint, and I believe that any composer in the 21 century should know jazz harmony well also(although not every contemporary composer really goes through this path).

I may upload later some recent work I did with EW HOD.

Last edited by hag01; 06/18/18 07:53 AM.
Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2745277
06/18/18 07:46 AM
06/18/18 07:46 AM
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The standard Factory Collection in Kontakt by Native Instruments comtains an orchestra (as well as band and world instruments etc) which is comparable with East West Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra (which is different from their Hollywood set). I use both alongside each other. Both have various groupings and articulations which are useful for different purposes. Both these sets are quite old now, but not in the same price league as VSL Synchron and VI series which appears to be the gold standard - or one of them.


Roland HP 302 / Samson Graphite 49 / Akai EWI

Reaper / Native Instruments K9 ult / ESQL MOR2 Symph Orchestra & Choirs / Lucato & Parravicini , trumpets & saxes / Garritan CFX lite / Production Voices C7 & Steinway D compact

Focusrite Saffire 24 / W7, i7 4770, 16GB / MXL V67g / Yamaha HS7s / HD598
Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2745291
06/18/18 08:37 AM
06/18/18 08:37 AM
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A couple of demos that can help you make your own mind up - the virtual instruments used are clearly labelled in the descriptions.







My own studio primarily uses Orchestral Tools (Berlin Brass, Woodwinds, Strings & Percussion), really does require 128GB of RAM for a full template, and sell-one-of-your-kidneys-expensive, but worth every cent.

Spitfire products are also excellent, be aware that the Air Studios room is heavily baked into the sound (it's a great sound though); cheaper than the OT products, and less tough on your system.

For a reasonably priced but first rate strings option, look at the cinematic studio series. You can hear them together with a solo violin virtual instrument below:



All this aside though, I've heard some thoroughly convincing mockups from "bad" libraries in the hands of good composers, and some rubbish ones from people with state of the art samples. There's no substitute for your own craft.

Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2745292
06/18/18 08:48 AM
06/18/18 08:48 AM
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Philip, that's super useful and informative, thanks a lot!


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Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2745328
06/18/18 11:37 AM
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This is a super forum for orchestra VIs; there there are some helpful posts for VIs and learning resources.

https://vi-control.net/community/forums/sample-talk.32/

Also, there are some free options discussed around the forum including: VSCO, no budget orchrestra. There are a few more but I forget which ones.

Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2745336
06/18/18 12:11 PM
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Have a look on Try-Sound (if you haven't already) as they have quite a few orchestra libraries you can try for yourself, not just under category "Full Orchestra", but also under "Strings" and "Brass and Winds" too.

The one you're thinking about with the built-in sampled live phrases might be "Best Service The Orchestra" ? but IMHO the user GUI interface is a rather weird on that one.

A while back, I fancied buying one and picked up "UVI Orchestral Suite" (on a whim - it was cheap, and only 4GB download footprint, and ran smoothly in the familiar UVI player engine I already had installed with Ravenscroft and TrueKeys, and used familiar iLok / hard drive authorisation) but I was pretty disappointed with it to be honest. Sound quality wasn't that amazing - many of the presets on my Kawai MP8 can do a better job (eg. flute.) It included the majority of the obvious instruments one might want to choose, and some obvious articulations with key-switches, plus a nice graphical user interface, but I found its default patch setups were not what I wanted, or how I wanted to play from an 88 note keyboard. It was just annoying basically. Not inspiring to play and compose with.
eg. On UVI Orchestral Suite's main "String Ensemble" patch for example, they've limited the playable range to 6 octaves (okay, fair enough, that's realistic for what those acoustic instruments can cover in real life, so better have muted unrealistic keys than crazy out-of-range pitch-shifted samples sounding silly) but they've annoyingly mapped those 6 octaves from C0-C6, totally wasting the top octave of the keyboard (C6-C7) and yet STUPIDLY mapped the six master articulation key-switches to C-1 to F-1 which means they're below the bottom A-1 note of the 88 note keyboard so you cannot actually press them while playing as it loads by default!!!!!
Solutions? Well you could always abandon your 88 note keyboard and buy a bigger 97 note Bosendorfer with MIDI CEUS built-in (haha) or buy a 97 note Lachnit Imperial 97 MIDI controller keyboard (haha) but the reality is it forces you to just play with one hand while using mouse to click frantically on the screen GUI, or keep needing to use the Octave transpose button from your 88 note keyboard (which is no use if you own a Kawai VPC1) or delve deeper in the UVI software into editing the Multi bank to a different octave transpose range, which takes extra time to find and configure, and is lost again if you don't save the multi (elsewhere) and load from that location instead each time - which takes all the spontaneous fun out of flicking through the basic factory patches. It's so annoying!
Likewise, many other ensembles or solo instruments have annoyingly limited playable ranges, or annoying default setups (such as velocity on mod wheel rather than key velocity) or weird octave / split range, or keyswitches in unhelpful layout mapping. The pipe organ pedal notes are utterly useless sounding, and the choir sings out of tune too. Most of the time I get quickly fed up and frustrated with it. Wish I'd never bought it.

My advice, try a few libraries for yourself (somehow?!!!) before you commit to spend a fortune. The Spitfire libraries are considered very good but expensive, and Miroslav Philharmonik 2 and Chris Horn libraries are quite well regarded for sound quality too. Possibly buy something cheapish to dip your toes in the water and see how you get on with orchestral scoring, and if you find you're producing good quality results then invest in something better, Like buying piano libraries, you won't find just one killer orchestra library that's perfect for everything, but rather will need to probably buy many of them over the years to find great strings, or the best brass or nice percussion or woodwind selections, and the best solo violin might come from elsewhere than the best ensemble string section, so it's like the best sounding Steinway library might not be the most playable or even, or do re-pedalling as well as something else. You'll end up buying a half a dozen libraries looking for the holy grail.

Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2745600
06/19/18 10:25 AM
06/19/18 10:25 AM
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Try not to buy any orchestral libraries unless they're on sale. They almost all do go on sale and the discount is significant.


Roland FP-90 - Touchkeys - TEC BC - MIDI Expression
Kontakt - Arturia Piano V - Sonivox Eighty-Eight - Spitfire Symphony Orchestra

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Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2745607
06/19/18 10:42 AM
06/19/18 10:42 AM
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Here my recent work with East West Hollywood Orchestra Diamond:
https://youtu.be/OefDN7pV9p8
Everything here is EWHOD+EW Hollywood Harp, except from the choir and the gong(those are from Kontakt factory library).

As opposed to the official demos, I'm not a professional producer, so it may gives you an idea how it could sound in the hands of the casual user.
I used multiple mic positions and CC11 for expression.

Last edited by hag01; 06/19/18 10:50 AM.
Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: puremusic] #2745810
06/20/18 08:20 AM
06/20/18 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by puremusic
Try not to buy any orchestral libraries unless they're on sale. They almost all do go on sale and the discount is significant.



Excellent advice.
Sometimes freebie products will allow you to crossgrade at a significant discount.
The VI-Control forums are an excellent resource for this kind of information. Also don't ignore buying used as long as you do your homework and the manufacturer allows license transfers. Only do this on legit sites like VI-Control, kvr, gearslutz etc. You can save a lot of money this way as long as you don't mind doing the research.

Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2745841
06/20/18 11:01 AM
06/20/18 11:01 AM
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CyberGene Offline OP
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Excellent advices so far, thank you all very much!

BTW, ordered "Orchestration" by Piston smile

Last edited by CyberGene; 06/20/18 11:01 AM.

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Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2745930
06/20/18 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
BTW, ordered "Orchestration" by Piston smile

Hi there,

You will enjoy it. I still use it as a useful reference even if I have it since quite a long time, along with other tools. It is essential to learn about all the instruments which will be played, their range, character, particularities and limits, if you want to create realistic orchestral pieces, in the real world or digital.

Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2745946
06/20/18 07:56 PM
06/20/18 07:56 PM
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I would recommend using a notation program such as Sibelius and add the additional program NotePerformer which has much better and more human sounding playback than the sounds which Sibelius supplies. This way you can notate the passages in whatever orchestration book you are using and hear the music played back. To get the realism from a DAW is of course quite possible but usually demands a great deal of very skilful editing. Using a notation program gives you also the link between the actual scoring and the sound of the orchestra. NotePerformer is now also compatible with Dorico and Finale but I think it probably works best with Sibelius at the moment. NotePerformer produces very natural sounding playback with little editing and responds very well to all the dynamics in the score.

Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2746008
06/21/18 06:28 AM
06/21/18 06:28 AM
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For a all-in-one solution, with fabulous articulations and multi layered instruments, with arpeggiators and Choir sounds (both men and women) ----- > Sonuscore THE ORCHESTRA. 389 € on Thomann.de.

Absolutely great !

Last edited by Vadesriux; 06/21/18 06:32 AM.

Eduardo
Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2746060
06/21/18 09:58 AM
06/21/18 09:58 AM
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If you are just getting into it, I think it's best that you not fork over money until you get to know exactly what you want from software. Most companies don't have 30-day guarantees or trial versions, and so you're shelling out hundreds of dollars in the hopes that you'll like it once you learn how to use it. Like DPs, software can be a very personal choice, and while there are good companies and bad companies, what's right for you is anybody's guess at this point.

I currently own EW Hollywood Orchestra, and the older EW Symphonic Choirs. But EW offers Composer Cloud, which is an excellent way to test the waters for $30/mo, and you can cancel at any time. EW is not the easiest to work with, but for the price I think you can't really beat it, and the quality is top-notch. I think getting to learn that while you also learn how to use your DAW and learn orchestration and how best to play in your music (there is a skill to this), that's probably going to be best use of your money right now.

With regards to orchestration, your best way to learn is when you are listening to a piece of music that you love, look up the score on IMSLP and find out what the composer did to make those sounds: how are the voices doubled in tutti sections? what combinations of solo instruments did they use to create a unique timbre? Also look at form, contrasting ideas, counterpoint, and the overall dramatic arc. Great music is filled with rhetorical devices or ways of organizing an idea to make it stick in your mind better - just like a great orator does.

I think a good grasp of basic part-writing skills is necessary too to avoid the common pitfalls that makes an otherwise great idea sound clunky or inexperienced. There are plenty of websites that describe part-writing rules in detail.


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Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: Morodiene] #2746065
06/21/18 10:16 AM
06/21/18 10:16 AM
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You might want to listen to some items on the VSL demo page.
I highly recommend filtering the Programming for anything done by Jay Bacal. In particular the Rite of Spring part 1 and part 2 complete. If you listen to nothing else, listen to these.

By the way, the red play buttons indicate there are tutorial files available for that demo. So you can see exactly how they achieve the results (you'll need to have some of the VSL software, of course).

Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2746067
06/21/18 10:29 AM
06/21/18 10:29 AM
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CyberGene Offline OP
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Morodiene, great advices as always! I've been looking at the composer cloud option for EW too and can't find any fault in it. I'm wondering, what's the catch? Is there any? Do I have complete access to all their products? How do I access the library, is it always through Internet, probably laggy and so only exports can be done and not real time playing?

As to listening to music and consulting the scores, that has always been the best advice and actually what I've done all my life with piano music - classical and jazz. My interest in symphonic music is rather new. It all started with Bruckner symphonies 7-8 years ago and I've gradually added to that Mahler, Sibelius, Shostakovich, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Debussy, Brahms, Richard Strauss, Respighi, Korsakov... And so many more smile Yet, I still prefer having a systematic (academic) approach in addition to that, so the two books of Korsakov and Piston I've ordered will hopefully add to that.


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Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2746068
06/21/18 10:54 AM
06/21/18 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Morodiene, great advices as always! I've been looking at the composer cloud option for EW too and can't find any fault in it. I'm wondering, what's the catch? Is there any? Do I have complete access to all their products? How do I access the library, is it always through Internet, probably laggy and so only exports can be done and not real time playing?

As to listening to music and consulting the scores, that has always been the best advice and actually what I've done all my life with piano music - classical and jazz. My interest in symphonic music is rather new. It all started with Bruckner symphonies 7-8 years ago and I've gradually added to that Mahler, Sibelius, Shostakovich, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Debussy, Brahms, Richard Strauss, Respighi, Korsakov... And so many more smile Yet, I still prefer having a systematic (academic) approach in addition to that, so the two books of Korsakov and Piston I've ordered will hopefully add to that.

Don't forget Ravel! Master orchestrator.

RE: Composer Cloud, you download the files to your computer, so once they are on there is no internet lag to deal with. You have access to all of their products, but only up to Gold level (which I have). The Diamond stuff only adds more mics, but I've heard awesome stuff done just with Gold. If you stop CC for a month or whatever, you will not be able to "play" these files in your DAW unless you start up again or purchase the software, so I recommend being sure you're done with a project and exporting to wav format prior to canceling.

RE: VSL, I had a friend who let me borrow it once. Everything is SUPER dry, so it takes a lot of massaging to get a normal sound. Not saying it's impossible, but it is more difficult to work with as a result.

All software depends on what your plans are: Do you want to record it as realistically as possible for people to listen to? Do you just want to make mock-ups of your music for the purposes of presenting to a conductor to have it performed by live musicians? Or both?

Personally, I use Finale to compose in and create scores that are well-edited for possible live performances, but I render in VI's for the purposes of getting my music heard. It's a bit of double-duty, but it's much harder to compose well with proper part-writing if you only jump into recording without writing out the score. That's just me, though.


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Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2746071
06/21/18 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
My interest in symphonic music is rather new. It all started with Bruckner symphonies 7-8 years ago . . .


This is about as good as Bruckner gets. Bruckner Symphony No 8 Celibidache Münchner Philharmoniker Live Tokyo 20 Oct 1990:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elVHvTrEM34

Sounds good despite the terrible youtube compression. Find a copy of the CD original or rerelase (sublime performance and good recording). It was also sold in a few video formats.

Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2746076
06/21/18 11:11 AM
06/21/18 11:11 AM
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hag01 Offline
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CyberGene, you can finish reading such a book in a few days, or even in a few hours(depends on how fast you read), and all you'll get is theoretic terms, and years of practical training in front of you.
Formal training is not just literal theory, you as a jazz pianist know that already.
Not that I underestimate theory.
And I strongly recommend you to get my advice and to research furthermore about the differences between real orchestrations and MIDI orchestral mock ups productions.

Last edited by hag01; 06/21/18 11:20 AM.
Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: Morodiene] #2746115
06/21/18 02:31 PM
06/21/18 02:31 PM
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CyberGene Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
Don't forget Ravel! Master orchestrator.

Sure I forgot him! As a matter of fact I finished three different complete Ravel’s orchestral integrals a week ago smile There are so many others, I just can’t list them all. But if I have to choose two of them it would be Sibelius and Shostakovich, especially their menacing brass sound smile However purely in musical terms my favorite symphony is the sixth by Tchaikovsky, nothing betters it!

Last edited by CyberGene; 06/21/18 02:32 PM.

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Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2746280
06/22/18 06:37 AM
06/22/18 06:37 AM
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CyberGene Offline OP
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I've never heard Walton Piston before and it would be strange to "believe" someone's book of orchestration if you don't believe he's good enough. So, I searched for his music and discovered a record of his Sixth Symphony with Charles Münch and BSO from 1957, RCA Victor. The symphony was written for BSO's anniversary and I believe that was its inaugural recording.

It is sublime! Yes, this guy knows about orchestration! And about music. Although it reminds me Shostakovich, that's not by itself bad since Shostakovich is in my top 3 favorite symphonists. Highly recommended!

Last edited by CyberGene; 06/22/18 06:38 AM.

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Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: CyberGene] #2746814
06/24/18 09:39 PM
06/24/18 09:39 PM
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hag01 Offline
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Hey,I thought about all I said about learning composition and orchestration.
I hope I didn't sound arrogant.
I'm not talking from a position of a professional or advanced.
I'm just a humble student of composition, learning from a private teacher harmony.
And he teaches me orchestration also, at least what can be learnt about orchestration without doing experiments on a real orchestra(that's a big restriction not to have a real orchestra when studying orchestration...).

And I mainly interested in film music and neoromantic music, by the way.

Last edited by hag01; 06/24/18 09:44 PM.
Re: Best symphonic orchestra VST? [Re: hag01] #2746854
06/25/18 01:15 AM
06/25/18 01:15 AM
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CyberGene Offline OP
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Originally Posted by hag01
Hey,I thought about all I said about learning composition and orchestration.
I hope I didn't sound arrogant.
I'm not talking from a position of a professional or advanced.
I'm just a humble student of composition, learning from a private teacher harmony.
And he teaches me orchestration also, at least what can be learnt about orchestration without doing experiments on a real orchestra(that's a big restriction not to have a real orchestra when studying orchestration...).

And I mainly interested in film music and neoromantic music, by the way.

I really appreciate your advices, I just forgot to reply to your last post, not that it sounded arrogant. Not at all! Thank you and all other people who answered in this thread smile


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