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BSX Presents THREE STUDIES FOR HARP: The Music of John Williams

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The BSX/Hauser work is pretty hit-and-miss (mostly miss). Cheapens the music somewhat, and I'm not even sure if the harps in this case are acoustic or synthesized. I must admit that I have no particular interest in this, but in general, I like the idea of rearranging Williams themes for particular instruments.

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What, no exclusive info on this release Jason?!!! ;)

JWFan is happy to promote any new Williams release in whatever interesting ways the label and I can come up with. But this label did not make us aware of this release early; I just found out about it when I saw this thread.

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The BSX/Hauser work is pretty hit-and-miss (mostly miss). Cheapens the music somewhat, and I'm not even sure if the harps in this case are acoustic or synthesized. I must admit that I have no particular interest in this, but in general, I like the idea of rearranging Williams themes for particular instruments.

Talk about a very board and unspecific slam.....

Dominik Hauser and our other artists IMHO have done a pretty damned good job at our recordings, this was a fun thing to release.

Form whatever opinions based on the finished product.

BTW, these are the published arrangements done by Mr. Williams himself that we recorded.

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Hey, I stand by my opinion 100% regarding previous BSX/Hauser albums. Some have been fine (and I actually own them), others have been abysmal. That being said, I'll give this the benefit of the doubt untill I've heard it.

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The BSX/Hauser work is pretty hit-and-miss (mostly miss). Cheapens the music somewhat, and I'm not even sure if the harps in this case are acoustic or synthesized. I must admit that I have no particular interest in this, but in general, I like the idea of rearranging Williams themes for particular instruments.

Talk about a very board and unspecific slam.....

Dominik Hauser and our other artists IMHO have done a pretty damned good job at our recordings, this was a fun thing to release.

Form whatever opinions based on the finished product.

BTW, these are the published arrangements done by Mr. Williams himself that we recorded.

I didn't know that. I'll definitely consider getting Hedwig's Theme if JW arranged it. Is that also the case for the piano version of the Eiger Sanction released a few years ago? Regardless, I enjoy that one quite a bit.

Haven't heard enough of these releases to say if I agree with Thor or not

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Also, why does it say "arranged by Dominik Hauser"?

That was a mistake by our art director.

It's been corrected in the new few days it will show up with the correct cover.

The BSX/Hauser work is pretty hit-and-miss (mostly miss). Cheapens the music somewhat, and I'm not even sure if the harps in this case are acoustic or synthesized. I must admit that I have no particular interest in this, but in general, I like the idea of rearranging Williams themes for particular instruments.

Talk about a very board and unspecific slam.....

Dominik Hauser and our other artists IMHO have done a pretty damned good job at our recordings, this was a fun thing to release.

Form whatever opinions based on the finished product.

BTW, these are the published arrangements done by Mr. Williams himself that we recorded.

I didn't know that. I'll definitely consider getting Hedwig's Theme if JW arranged it. Is that also the case for the piano version of the Eiger Sanction released a few years ago? Regardless, I enjoy that one quite a bit.

Haven't heard enough of these releases to say if I agree with Thor or not

THE EIGER SANCTION are arranged and performed by Dan Redfeld for that recording.

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I'm not even sure if the harps in this case are acoustic or synthesized.

Sampled, I'd wager.

My supposition is that these are from the Hal Leonard Signature Editions:

http://www.halleonard.com/product/viewproduct.do?itemid=841675&lid=0&keywords=harry%20potter%20harp&subsiteid=1&

http://www.halleonard.com/product/viewproduct.do?itemid=841505&keywords=harry%20potter%20harp&subsiteid=1&

Although I could be wrong, I'm not aware of any other formally released versions of these particular HARRY POTTER arrangements to date. The ANGELA'S ASHES piece is available in a recording by classical harpist Yolanda Kondonassis.

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I don't think big pieces like Hedwig's Theme work especially well for solo interpretations, including piano only. There's only so much you can do with one instrument

I've seen it performed LIVE by a Harpist, at one of the GSPO concerts which is why we decided to record it.

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From what I can tell, Hauser doesn't play harp... So this is most likely sampled. In which case, even if Williams himself arranged it, I'm waiting for a proper, live-recorded release from someone.

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From what I can tell, Hauser doesn't play harp... So this is most likely sampled. In which case, even if Williams himself arranged it, I'm waiting for a proper, live-recorded release from someone.

"Proper?"

Odd comment, but I'll let the recording speak for itself as well as Mr. Hauser's performance.

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Are people seriously putting out albums featuring samples? Why not simply spend the budget alloted for making a sampled performance sound half-way decent on hiring a real harpist instead? I'm sure there would be no shortage of real flesh&blood ones who'd be delighted to record these two pieces (none of which are really "studies" for harp...)

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If samples are what you have to work with, there's nothing wrong with using them. It's a nice notion to think you can just spend the "budget" on a real player, but often, there is no budget to begin with.

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I suppose that's your prerogative to be so principled about it, but it would ultimately be compromised by reality for most people. If one wants to release an album, and doesn't have the resources to bring in live professional musicians, I see no issue. We've both had the fortune of working with real players in small chamber settings, but it's good to remember that that kind of opportunity is rare, whether for a much larger symphonic setting or even a solo harpist.

I don't see it as putting musicians out of work. There would be no work for them to begin with. Rather, it puts composers in work.

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From what I can tell, Hauser doesn't play harp... So this is most likely sampled. In which case, even if Williams himself arranged it, I'm waiting for a proper, live-recorded release from someone.

"Proper?"

Odd comment, but I'll let the recording speak for itself as well as Mr. Hauser's performance.

Odd because I expect music that is written with a live musician in mind, to be performed by not a live musician? That's what I mean by "proper"; it is improper in my opinion to release an EP or album or whatever and make money off of someone else's composition, when that other person's composition was intended for a live performance. It's jipping everyone: the composer and the listener.
Whether or not the samples sound like a real instrument is not the issue. Mr. Williams writes music to be performed by live musicians. Not a computer. Also, "performed by Dominik Hauser"? I'm not entirely sure it's even him sitting at a keyboard "performing" all the notes; I wouldn't be surprised if the notes were put into a computer program, which then replayed the pitches applying the harp sample to them. Not a performance in pretty much anyone's book. I've never been a fan of BSX's stuff, and this is no exception.

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I suppose you are right. But I definitely think a sampled product should be clearly advertised as such.

Certainly. To be clear, I haven't listened to this album in question, and I haven't even looked at the cover to see if it says one way or another. Just speaking in general about the use of samples by composers.

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I think samples are fine when they are used by the composer of the music on an album. When the composer himself says, "I'm making music for this indie game or short film, and there isn't a budget at all for live orchestra, so I'll just use my computer for everything."

When the composer goes in with that mindset and he produces an album of his sampled music (so basically the one and only "official" recording of that music), then it's fine. But when you've got someone like John Williams, or Howard Shore, or Herrmann, or Beethoven, or Wagner, or whoever—and the music is obviously originally intended for live musicians—then I don't think it's okay to mess around with sampling.

It's just a matter of principle. I think samples are great for up-and-coming young composers who can't afford anything else, but when we're taking works by masters and "dumbing them down" to samples, AND pulling the curtain over listeners' heads by selling these "recordings"... Then that's more of a grey area.

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Are people seriously putting out albums featuring samples?

My friend, it's done every day.

What matters is the skill of the person or persons using them and how they used

I'm rather surprised that some you just don't understand that this is commonplace in recording popular music today.

As I've said, I'll let Mr. Hauser's work and the recording speak for itself, but the people who have an issue haven't even heard it

Which is odd that they wish to offer some of these opinions without the benefit of hearing for themselves.

Sure, but I find the idea of commercially releasing what are essentially sampled mock-ups less than wholesome.

"Mock-up?"

Another odd comment, this is a fully recorded, mixed and mastered release.

That's just the fact of the matter.

Whether or not the samples sound like a real instrument is not the issue.

To be honest it seems to be with you.

As far as I'm concerned the end result is all that matters.

BSX has used quite a few live players as well as samples,etc

In This case, This recording was done as an experiment to see if it COULD BE DONE using samples and if the end result was something we felt was worth releasing, which in our view it was.

The odd thing throughout the discussion is that almost everyone who seem to be having an issue is not basing their opinions on the final product as released.

Which too be honest we think is quite good and as far as the feedback to those who have both heard it and purchased it has been quite positive.

As I've said I'll let the recording and Mr. Hauser's work speak for itself.

Before offering an opinion, at least give it a listen before being critical of it.

That at least is the fair thing to do on any creative project.

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I have listened. And it still doesn't sound 100% like a real, live harp performance, to me. Also, just because something is "common" doesn't mean it's right. It's like the whole "But mom, everybody does it!" excuse. Furthermore, it is misleading to the public to claim that this is a harp recording and then on that same cover post the words "performed by Dominik Hauser". As evidently, that is simply not true.

I am an aspiring professional orchestral musician, as well as a composer on the side; I don't listen to playback on a computer of something I've written and release it saying it was "performed" by me. That'd simply be not true. If there isn't a harpist, then say there isn't one. But it's one thing to put out something like this, in samples; it's another to put it out AND claim that it was performed by someone. I am familiar with BSX's work, and I've reviewed at least one of your albums on a film music review site, before. Like I said before, not impressed. The orchestras sounded fake (because they probably were), etc.

This brings to mind a recent news story regarding a Wagner festival that was to take place in Hartford, CN. The director intended to use live singers for an otherwise full version of The Ring, except—no live orchestra. He intended to use a "digital orchestra", "performed" via a bunch of speakers down in the pit, in front of the stage. If anyone here is interested, it makes for some good reading:

http://slippedisc.com/2014/06/first-a-ring-without-words-now-a-ring-without-musicians/

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Despite buysoundtrax offering many words, I took his advice and let Mr. Hauser's work speak for itself; it told me it used EastWest Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra's harp that I've used on numerous projects and that it wasn't an especially inspired performance. Before I shut the tab that was playing the samples on loop, it also started saying that Hedwig's Theme wasn't actually arranged by John Williams as stated. By then I lost interest and went to listen to the album recording of "The Lanes of Limerick."

EDIT: I see now this is an old thread. I appologize for the ressurection.

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Incorrect. I am not a fan of people who drudge up ten year old threads for silly reasons. This thread is less than a year old and is about a specific John Williams CD. It would be assasine to start a second thread about the same CD, and it's completely logical to bump the existing thread to continue the discussion about it.

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Well, I'm glad it got bumped, 'cause I missed it the first time around. The guy's probably long gone by now and will never read this, but still. . . .

The odd thing throughout the discussion is that almost everyone who seem to be having an issue is not basing their opinions on the final product as released.

Before offering an opinion, at least give it a listen before being critical of it.

That at least is the fair thing to do on any creative project.

This misses the point entirely. Look at it another way: let's say I do an "experiment" in artistic rendering by programming a computer to paint a picture. I might get my own HAL to generate a very realistic portrait, and the end result may be impressive to look at. But if I tried to sell it at a gallery with my own name as the artist, it would be misleading. People would be pissed off if they discovered that I didn't really paint that picture, but had my computer do it for me. It's doubtful they'd put any money up for it . . . unless, of course, I was up-front about the source and the reasons for it. They might find it an interesting curiosity at that point, and maybe even worth a few bucks.

So judging by the end result isn't necessarily the only fair assessment at all. When I first saw the cover at the top of this thread, I assumed it was performed by Mr. Hauser, with his hands on the strings. To find out it was his hands on the mouse and keyboard changed the picture, and (honestly) diminished it. This may be worthy of sharing around—maybe a feature on YouTube or some similar public forum—but I'm not up for shelling out money for push-button music, especially if it's not original. (And I'm not holding anyone to a higher standard than I do myself. I consider myself a fairly talented video editor, but I wouldn't dream of charging anyone for my work, especially since—like this CD—it's based largely on the works of others.)

And besides all that . . . I have to confess, I've never been much of a fan of "Fluffy's Harp" arranged for harp. It's much better on trombone.

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Why have people study their instruments for years to improve their skills if you can get the same results by keying a performance in MIDI and simply tweak the performance a bit?

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To me, as a person listening to music, I want the music to sound good. That's the only metric for me. I've listened to tons of synth "covers" of music, and MANY of them have been bad, grating, 90s-Internet-MIDI-quality stuff. None of BSX's recordings (or London Music Works' for that matter) are that way, in my opinion. Their sampled instruments sound good and the choices they make in using sampled instruments are good also (i.e. harp acquits itself much better than some synth instruments).

I thought this release sounded good, and I'm happy to have it.

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I agree with Uni.

There is a difference between performing on an instrument or performing via a software patch.

Why?

In the end, you're still the one performing. Whether it's with the actual instrument or just a mouse click doesn't matter.

But would you really call that a "performance?" There's an aspect to live playing (even if it's being recorded) that isn't the same if you're able to line up all the notes (or colors, or movements, or whatever) ahead of time and then hit the play button when everything's just the way you want it. It's the opportunity for mistakes, the real breath of life, the flair that each player is able to put into their presentation that gives a real performance its identity.

I went to a circus a couple of years ago with the family. It was a pretty cool show. One of the best pieces they did was a scene acted out between two people. They weren't doing much—just a few fairly routine things: sitting at a table, pretending to eat and drink, getting up, walking around, etc. No big deal . . . except the two of them were doing it upside down about 70 feet above the center ring. It was an amazing sight. And what made it most amazing is that they were two actual people, having to work with real props, with the ever-present possibility that the could drop one of those props "up" to the ground (not to mention the danger that they could follow right behind themselves). Now . . . would that same scene be even a fraction as impressive if it were rendered in CGI? Hardly. Every move could be perfected before it was rendered, and all they'd have to do is flip the picture to suspend it upside down. You could never refer to it as a "performance." It just wouldn't be the same thing.

That's not to say there's anything wrong with animation, or with using sampling to create a piece. All I'm saying is that it isn't performing.

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So basically, what you want are mistakes? OK...

Deja vu. Remember the study that said kids are learning to prefer MP3 over superior formats because that is what they grow up with? "So, a preference for crappy sound is actually becoming learned behavior." http://www.audioholics.com/news/kids-prefer-poor-quality-mp3?date=100220090311

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While there is no excuse for substituting a sampled instrument when a real one and a real person playing it *can* be utilized, it is still possible to "perform" with a sampled instrument in a subtle and nuanced way. You need not enter in the notes by hand and take the mechanical computer playback that you're given.

For those limited, for whatever reason, to digital performances of their work, this can all be an art form in its own right.

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