Monday, September 7, 2015

On Successful Conductors

I have had a long career in orchestra performance. I believe I have worked under the baton of over 100 conductors. Those that I consider most successful start with a warm sound approach. They lower the base sound of an orchestra to a warm mezzo-piano. Starting with this warm soft dynamic a conductor can achieve wonderful blends of instruments and tone qualities. Then the musicians when needing to play loud have a nice soft base to build upon, and the contrasts can be huge, and at the same time, the loud can be non-forced, but beautiful.

If a conductor were to start by saying "I can't hear you, play louder," which is what most conductors do, we generally have an escalation of volume and a loss of warmth. Yes, there are times when the expression of the music needs harshness, but to start with a sense of beauty makes the music much more emotional.

I have seen a few conductors also start the rehearsal with creating the phrases that he or she feels in the music. This is a fantastic trick, or tool that a conductor can use. Step one is reduced the volume to find warmth and blends. Step two is to suggest a few phrases. Once the musicians are listening for blend and approaching the music with warmth in their tone, the phrasing of the first two phrases carries through the piece and with two simple approaches the orchestra starts to sound as if they have music in their souls.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Burdick's Chamber Symphonies

After more than seven months work I have completed all 10 demo videos of my Chamber Symphonies.

This process that was quite a lot of work; getting the music into "Sibelius", some transferring from the program "Encore", and some entering from the handwritten score.

I wrote quite a few new movements and revised even more. Improved orchestration and re-orchestrated.

After the score is done, I record them in Digital Performer adjusting the sound files and recording the horn parts. From there, the video is extracted form Sibelius, the cover art is created and the film is put together in Final Cut Pro with the aiff (sound) files.

At the same time, while I am working on the video, I get the parts edited and uploaded to for download.

This process of finalizing the scores to all ten symphonies (40 movements) for chamber ensemble or chamber orchestra has been one of coming to terms with who I have been and one of really finding what it is that I like in my music. I still like quite a diversity of musical styles, but a few of the items that prevail through all of them have been stabilized for future works.

To see ones output of works that spans 33 years is quite significant.

The whole play list can be found on youtube: