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View Full Version : Mars: Bringer of War - New Demo by Francesco



Garritan
10-04-2004, 02:29 PM
Francesco Marchetti has just submitted 'Mars: Bringer of War' from Gustav Holst 'The Planets' Suite.

http://www.garritan.com/mp3/MARS-MP3.mp3

Holst brings us face to face with the horror of war in the most-famous movement in the Planets suite. Part of this will sound familiar to science fiction fans as there have been variations of this piece in various films. The relentless and aggressive march in 5/4 time evokes the martial rhythm of military drums and underscores the menacing melody. Ample use of GPO brass instruments reinforces the militaristic tone, with high trumpet fanfares rising above the ominous lower brass.

This is a work in progress and Francesco plans to finish the movement. In the meantime, please post your comments. If there are suggestions to improve this mockup, please share your thoughts.

Enjoy!

Gary Garritan

musicpete
10-04-2004, 03:08 PM
Really well done!

I honestly couldn't point out anything that needs improvement, except for the string "col legno"'s in the beginning, that sound a bit muddy (one can't really tell that the string play col legno). Also some of the runs that use the sus+short patches could use a tiny bit less accent (attack) on every note so they blend better together. But that's only my humble opinion...

Very, very well done! Bravo! Really amazing mockup! I like it!

By the way: Where did the "col legno" strings come from? I'm searching for some cheap (translate to "free" ;) ) sounds of that kind.

Garritan
10-04-2004, 03:39 PM
Very, very well done! Bravo! Really amazing mockup! I like it!

By the way: Where did the "col legno" strings come from? I'm searching for some cheap (translate to "free" ;) ) sounds of that kind.
This was 100% GPO. The col lego was simulated with pizz & percussion.

jmc
10-04-2004, 04:36 PM
I love the contrabassoon in the opening. It's the most forbidding instrument ever. Overall a very nice realization, Francesco. Your work is always amazing. I am especially impressed with your clever recreation of col legno. I'm definitely going to try that.

I realize this mockup is still in progress; there were only a couple of thing that really stood out for me. The bass trombone is very intense. The sound really cuts through the ensemble; the last time I used it (can't remember if it's player 1 or 2) I cut the overall volume about 4 or 5db in an attempt to get it to balance with the rest of the brass.

For the most part, the ensemble balance is good, but I think you can get away with making the trumpets louder. I also think if you finess the the balance a bit more between the brass instruments and their respective overlays it will really punch the attacks even more.

I agree with Musicpete that a couple of the strings' accents could come back a little. For the most part, they sat well in the mix, as did the woodwinds and percussion.

I look forward to the final mix!

wes37
10-04-2004, 04:47 PM
I've always liked this piece and this is a great performance of it. Kudos as well to the library it was made with!

dewdman42
10-04-2004, 05:20 PM
one question. Was that using the current GPO that I own or the soon-to-be-released update version?


Ho..I'm sitting here listening to this and it just occurred to me that Hans Zimmer used this in Gladiator..

FredProgGH
10-04-2004, 09:57 PM
This is a really nice job!! If I was going to be picky and it were me doing it I would try and add some dynamics to the fast string passages at the end. Make them really start out as almost subliminal and build to that last climax. That's being really picky though. I always liked this piece at a slightly faster tempo as well- like it is here.

snorlax
10-04-2004, 11:25 PM
Francesco Marchetti has just submitted 'Mars: Bringer of War' from Gustav Holst 'The Planets' Suite.

This is a work in progress and Francesco plans to finish the movement. In the meantime, please post your comments. If there are suggestions to improve this mockup, please share your thoughts.
Enjoy!
Gary Garritan
As someone who has played the prominent tenor tuba part in this piece 10-15 times:

1.I'd bring the tenor tuba out more at the octave Gs (written As in the score) in the beginning (I don't have the part in front of me).
2. I'd make the tenor tuba a bit more in front and "angrier" at the first and second big solos. The first 3 Ds (written Es in the score) need more attack and bite. Mars is, after all, a pretty angry fellow. :D
3. What sound are you using for the tenor tuba? A French Horn?? Or the mythical euphonium patch? Tuba 1 stretched? Can't tell--my sound system is not the best.
I will listen more critically on another system tomorrow!

Maybe Houston has checked this out and can comment based on his experiences if he has played it!

I searched my recordings and don't have one of me playing it, but the first two comments above were pretty universal when I played it under various conductors.

Francesco, if you want a great brass workout, I suggest the first movement of Leos Janacek's Sinfonietta!

Many thanks to you for your wonderful work.

With respect...
Jim

galvedro
10-05-2004, 03:26 AM
Hi all,

First of all, wonderfull work!!!

I like the col legno effect very much, but I think it should sound a bit thinner. What I like the most is the impressive entrance in the fff tutti part around 1:24.

And some constructive criticism:

I find the tempo a bit slow for my taste. It gives the piece a majestic presence, quite similar to the rendition we can find in the EWQLSO demo page, but I think it would better show the "war" concept if played a bit faster and more agressive. I'm working on this mockup myself, and I'm using the "violent" approach but, of course, this is only a matter of personal taste.

2:17 - I can't remember right now how this is written in the score. But I find this string chords quite more effective if played staccato.

3:12 - The woodwinds runs need to be blured someway. Probably making the parts independent. This fragment sounds very chaotic when played by a real orchestra.

Good job Francesco!

Antón

Styxx
10-05-2004, 09:38 AM
Very impressive although I would love to feel more power in the tempo and more command in the percussion, which in this particular Holtz piece is very important because of the march, 5/4 configuration. Also, more staccato as a whole I felt needed more emphasis throughout although not too extensive.
This is indeed quite an accomplishment and remarkable rendition and must have taken some painstaking hours to sequence and edit.
I've played percussion through The Planets and can tell you the power behind the composition is intense! I can't wait to hear the completion.
In addition, col legno could be more distinguishable.
Nice work as Maestro!

Francesco
10-05-2004, 04:43 PM
Hi everyone and thank you for the nice criticism you all did.
however it was very difficult to manage such a big orchestration, plus the fact that I was forced to work section by section because of some CPU limitations.
The COL LEGNO effect was obtained just overdubbing some percussions on the pizzicato sound....so it cannot be so real--!!!
Maybe you are right about the tempo, so I will make it faster, even if I like it as it is.
The Tenor Tuba is simulated, because GPO doesn't has it! I've used the pitch shift to aim the higher notes.....
Finally it was not an easy job...
however I will try to improve it....
Better idea....I will post a midifile so you could help me in some improvements.
thank you all for your support and kindness.
All the very best
Francesco

FredProgGH
10-05-2004, 07:56 PM
The COL LEGNO effect was obtained just overdubbing some percussions on the pizzicato sound....so it cannot be so real--!!!
Maybe you are right about the tempo, so I will make it faster, even if I like it as it is.

The Col Legno was ingenius!! And as far as the tempo goes, at the end of the day you really ought to please yourself. At least, I think so. Herbert Von Karajan never let someone tell him what tempo to play something at! We're just expressing opinions but there's no obligation to listen :D :D

Styxx
10-05-2004, 08:15 PM
So, just a my-nutes here. Are you saying that col legno is not included in the new update(s) or am I missing another cell layer here?
BTW - I have to admit that was an extremely ingenious way to form the col legno effect. As a matter of fact, we percussionist used to sneak up to the string section and hit them on the heads with our sticks while they performed the effect. The added "knock" sound of the stick on their heads added a more percussive attack during col legno passages. :D
Now, you know I am only stretching your dough. Get it? Dough? Ya know, PIZZA DOUGH? :D :D :eek:

Anyway, I still stick to my first critique and add tonight after listening to this again in my home studio through decent monitors, this - You truly amaze me with what you have accomplished with such a huge orchestration as Mars by Holtz! A bit up on the tempo and that's all. Nice work. Still two thumbs up! :)

Craig Reeves
10-06-2004, 12:39 AM
I actually thought the tempo was fine the way it was.

Francesco
10-06-2004, 02:04 AM
The Col Legno was ingenius!! And as far as the tempo goes, at the end of the day you really ought to please yourself. At least, I think so. Herbert Von Karajan never let someone tell him what tempo to play something at! We're just expressing opinions but there's no obligation to listen :D :D

Fred,
I was not disappointed by your opinions...I was only trying to explain the difficulties that I've found along the path to Mars. The actual tempo is around 144bpm...some directors did this one...others go at 148/150...
I will see if I can make it a little bit faster.... you common mortals :D:D:D:D:D
PEACE
Francesco

nexus
10-08-2004, 09:23 PM
Very impressive as I've come to expect from Francesco. I have a bit of a quibble with the brass. I compared it to an excellent very old recording of this work I have. I'm not hearing the Wagner Tubas (some orchestras use euphoniums or tenor tubas) which stand out quite well on my old recording (Ormandy). Holst was quite a user of these unique sounding conical brass instruments. Even euphonuim with it's more 'polite' timbre is a nice contrast to all those conventional orchestral brass which Holst used in abundance in The Planets. (I don't want to let the cat out so to speak, but Gary has sampled the Wagner Tuben for the brass expansion).

Though quite ingenious, I don't think the 'col legno' effect is working as well as it needs to in this work. I would like to see an upgrade of GPO which would have some of these strings effects from GOS, as well as the 'fringe' brass instruments mentioned.

But FINALLY, a forum member has done one of the works I was waiting to hear.

All in all though, a great job Francesco! :D

snorlax
10-08-2004, 09:57 PM
Very impressive as I've come to expect from Francesco. I have a bit of a quibble with the brass. I compared it to an excellent very old recording of this work I have. I'm not hearing the Wagner Tubas (some orchestras use euphoniums or tenor tubas) which stand out quite well on my old recording (Ormandy). Even euphonuim with it's more 'polite' timbre is a nice contrast to all those conventional orchestral brass which Holst used in abundance in The Planets. (I don't want to let the cat out so to speak, but Gary has sampled the Wagner Tuben for the brass expansion).
All in all though, a great job Francesco! :D
Nex...
Careful here...no Wagner Tuben in this piece. Only non-standard brass in any "Planet" is the euphonium (tenor tuba), most prominent in Mars and Jupiter. See my earlier comments based upon numerous performances of the piece, a euphonium player's delight & one of the few orchestra pieces to feature it. As the conductors told me, "polite" doesn't work here.

Any Yardumian mockups, euphonium fans???

Snor

nexus
10-08-2004, 10:31 PM
Nex...
Careful here...no Wagner Tuben in this piece. Only non-standard brass in any "Planet" is the euphonium (tenor tuba), most prominent in Mars and Jupiter. See my earlier comments based upon numerous performances of the piece, a euphonium player's delight & one of the few orchestra pieces to feature it. As the conductors told me, "polite" doesn't work here.

Any Yardumian mockups, euphonium fans???

Snor

Really? I have an old recording of the Philly Phil under Ormandy which states on the liner notes that the orchestra included the 'Wagner' tubas. Could this have been a specific choice by Ormandy I wonder?

I have a very old biographical book on British composers in which Vaughn Williams (good friend and brother-in-law of Holst) mentions Holst's desire to use Wagner tubas in 'Planets and some other works.

I once looked at a score of this work (about 32 years ago!) printed in England around 1925 which I'm almost certain listed "Wagner Tuben" . Its been a long long time since I looked at a score for this work. Most of them show 'tenor' tubas for those parts. I wonder still If the issues of this score now reflect the lack of the Wagner instruments in most orchestras?

Could it also be that "The Planets" doesn't use them anymore, but maybe they were originally included in Holst's ealier orchestration? I dunno.

Any other conical brass of that sort would get the desired sound I imagine. Actually I find most euphonium players far from 'polite' sounding most of the time, just listening to my neighbor practice for our local band! I was really refferring to euphonium samples I have heard!

Thanks for your clarification, snor!
:)

ZeroZero
11-09-2004, 07:47 AM
Before I criticise the Mars MP3 I should like to say that I come across this post because I am reading through every post that ever mentioned you Francesco. Take that as a big compliment.
I am a ex brass now reed player with orchestral experience. I am new to GPO and love it.
I have been listening to Holst's planet suite for about an hour each day for the last three months - as an aid to my study of orchestration. The CD I have is from the London Symphony Orchestra.
Now I am comparing your emulation with the real thing and obviously this is unfair technically. I do this simply because you are the best and I know you can do great things with GPO.
For me the whole piece does not stand up to the LSO (yet). It lacks an intensity. I think this is a lack of dynamic range and possibly bite of the instruments. What I mean is I felt the crescendo's and stabs should be more hostile and perturbing and that overall I wanted more dynamic range between pianissimmo and treble forte. There is a seathing quality that is lacking. As a GPO piece it is great as a real piece of orchestra its slightly limp (sorry). In regard to tempo, a hunter's instinct is required in humanising it.
Your understanding of the issues is far greater than mine, I only offer this as a perspective from a musician on first hearing, one who is very familar with The Planets - aurally. Sometime's its hard to sit back from a mix - as you know I am sure. My sound is coming out through a Audiophile 2496.
Before I go - you obviously are the master when it comes to GPO - how about posting a general thing about your modus operandi and background. There should be a session from you in the Interviews section - how about it?

Styxx
11-09-2004, 09:12 AM
ZeroZero,
An interview with Francesco is a great idea! But, how about taking it a step further with a live interview on the Internet Radio Station!
How about it Christopher Duncan, can it be arranged?

snorlax
11-09-2004, 08:39 PM
Really? I have an old recording of the Philly Phil under Ormandy which states on the liner notes that the orchestra included the 'Wagner' tubas. Could this have been a specific choice by Ormandy I wonder?
Nex, the score of The Planets calls for six horn parts, meaning French Horn in F. It's entirely possible that Ormandy or someone else had the horn players try the Wagner Tuben on the horn parts, but that would have been contrary to Holst's score.

Wagner TUBEN (NOT 'tubas') are just french horns wound the wrong way.
They're not double instruments as the horn itself is. They are pitched in either F or Bb.
They are played by only horn players, fingered with the left hand like horns are, and use horn mouthpieces. Wagner tuben are narrow-bore instruments compared to the horn and are more cylindrical. They have no use as a solo instrument or outside the orchestra. I believe that Stravinsky also had some horn players (8 parts, I think) double on the Wagner Tuben.

The tenor tuba is a euphonium, pitched in 9-foot Bb. It is a wide-bore conical instrument with 4 valves and an automatic compensating system. Mars should be played on NO other instrument but a euphonium.

To further complicate matters, there is near-unanimous misunderstanding about the proper instrument to use in Ravel's orchestration of Bydlo from Pictures at an Exhibition. The score is marked Tuba Ut, which means an instrument in 8-foot C, one step higher than the modern euphonium. It was a very wide-bore instrument, usually played with a tuba mouthpiece, conical, with 5 or 6 valves. Modern tuba heroes try to play Bydlo on F or even CC tubas. Not only do they miss the high G# half the time on the bigger horns, but even if they nail it cleanly, it still wasn't the sound Ravel had in mind. It ought to be played on a euphonium as well.

Yardumian, anyone??

Jim

ixm
11-10-2004, 01:03 PM
Impressive as always. I have always enjoyed your works Francesco.

BlueMax
11-10-2004, 07:21 PM
As someone who has played the prominent tenor tuba part in this piece 10-15 times:
WHOA! Fellow tuba player! :D Though I haven't picked up a horn in five years, I sure loved playing Gustav Holst pieces! Our group tried "Mars" a couple times but couldn't handle it. The military suites in F and Eb were a smash though! Great tuba lines!

Once I have my speakers hooked up again, I'll listen to this one in all its glory! ;)

nexus
11-10-2004, 08:14 PM
Nex, the score of The Planets calls for six horn parts, meaning French Horn in F. It's entirely possible that Ormandy or someone else had the horn players try the Wagner Tuben on the horn parts, but that would have been contrary to Holst's score.

Wagner TUBEN (NOT 'tubas') are just french horns wound the wrong way.
They're not double instruments as the horn itself is. They are pitched in either F or Bb.
They are played by only horn players, fingered with the left hand like horns are, and use horn mouthpieces. Wagner tuben are narrow-bore instruments compared to the horn and are more cylindrical. They have no use as a solo instrument or outside the orchestra. I believe that Stravinsky also had some horn players (8 parts, I think) double on the Wagner Tuben.

The tenor tuba is a euphonium, pitched in 9-foot Bb. It is a wide-bore conical instrument with 4 valves and an automatic compensating system. Mars should be played on NO other instrument but a euphonium.

To further complicate matters, there is near-unanimous misunderstanding about the proper instrument to use in Ravel's orchestration of Bydlo from Pictures at an Exhibition. The score is marked Tuba Ut, which means an instrument in 8-foot C, one step higher than the modern euphonium. It was a very wide-bore instrument, usually played with a tuba mouthpiece, conical, with 5 or 6 valves. Modern tuba heroes try to play Bydlo on F or even CC tubas. Not only do they miss the high G# half the time on the bigger horns, but even if they nail it cleanly, it still wasn't the sound Ravel had in mind. It ought to be played on a euphonium as well.

Yardumian, anyone??

Jim


Oh your right, of course. I was just speaking from a point of different timbre as opposed to the double horns. The Wagner tuben (German for 'tuba' I assumed?) does indeed have a different timbre than the horn, even when the bell of the horn is turned upward. I dug out the old Ormandy recording and it does say "Wagner Tubas" so I guess Ormandy did make a choice to substitute. Vaughn Williams does mention the Wagner Tuben in the old biography I have. I also discovered that Holst went through at least three revisions of parts of the Planets score.

Perhaps this is what Ormandy and V. Williams were on about. They may have been reffering to the earlier score.

As always, I find your insight into the brass 'inner workings' a very welcome contribution to the forum!

I think many GPO owners would like an expanded brass featuring the euphonium etc. Gary did mention to me that he recorded the Wagner Tuben and some other stuff so I have something to look forward to. I like the timbre of them. I feel they have a coarser tone than horns but mellower than the trombones, so I assume that is Wagner's purpose for having them made, to 'pad-out' his brass choir.

Thank you again for all this insight into my favorite section in the orchestra, the brass. :D

Christopher Duncan
11-11-2004, 06:15 AM
ZeroZero,
An interview with Francesco is a great idea! But, how about taking it a step further with a live interview on the Internet Radio Station!
How about it Christopher Duncan, can it be arranged?Once the initial programming is up, interviews are definitely planned. We'd love to have Francesco on the show if he would enjoy it.

What say you, Francesco? :)

Garritan
11-23-2004, 07:18 PM
Francesco has reworked "Mars: The Bringer of War" based on the input from members of this forum. He sped up the tempo a lttle bit (now it is 150bpm-was 144bpm previously) and also made some other adjustments and tweaks.


http://www.garritan.com/mp3/fm-MarsNewVersion.mp3



http://idbdnet.com/lspec/08167431.gif

:eek:


Enjoy!

Gary Garritan