digital Interpretation - in the Sound of three Centuries
The interpretations try to follow the differences in the sound of three eras with today's means, both in the acoustics of performance rooms, the instruments used, the way of playing and the form of virtuosity shown in the cadenzas. The distinctions according to "centuries" are only intended to provide a rough indication of the associated historical periods and do not represent purely chronological data, rather they are intended to summarize the sound characteristics of a "time" established by the end of the century.
Even though Beethoven's concertos between 1787 and 1810 were predominantly composed in the first decade of the 19th century, the 18th century nevertheless developed a performance practice that prevailed at the beginning of the 19th century when Beethoven composed his concertos and is therefore also of interest as a tonal prerequisite for Beethoven's work.
The Ceremonial Hall in the late Baroque Castle Gödöllö (1745) might remind a bit the Eroica-hall in the Baroque Palais Lobkowitz (1685), in wich Beethoven premiered several of his important orchestral compositions. The high, but with about 200 seats rather small hall has a full but very clear surround sound.
A Broadwood grand piano (1796) Beethoven's preferred instrument is richer in overtones and less voluminous in sound than the modern concert grand.
Especially in the early 18th century, violin making was still very much under the influence of the Cremona school of violin making. Therefore, the sample set of an instrument built by Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737) is also chosen here. It is deliberately used for the 18th-century-oriented sound without strong vibrato or sound distortions, which we associate today primarily with romantic intonation.
Small string sections and a largely renunciation of romantic vibrato stand for a rather transparent sound. String groups: 8 I. violins, 6 II. violins, 5 violas, 5 cellos, 4 double basses)
Wind instruments are used one player per voice. Traverse flutes, baroque oboes, but also natural horns or natural trumpets do not make the winds stand out as strongly from the overall sound as the designs of these instruments, which have been further developed since the 19th century..
19th Century Most of the achievements of instrument making in the 19th century did not prevail until decades after the composition of Beethoven's concertos.
Concert Hall Amsterdam (1886). The large hall, designed according to the "shoebox principle", seats approx. 1970, is one of the acoustic models of many concert halls of the late 19th century, along with the Wiener Musikvereinssaal and the Tonhalle in Zurich. It has a full but very balanced spatial sound.
Blüthner concert grand piano (1895) In the late 19th century, the Blüthner piano makers were among the most important grand piano makers preferred by many performers. Even if technically a lot is similar to the modern concert grand, the purity of the bell-like sound ideal of modern concert grands has not yet fully established itself. A richer overtone spectrum supported by aliquot sides gives the Blüthner grand piano its very own character.
Compared to the development of wind and keyboard instruments, the violin remained fairly unchanged in the centuries that followed. No epochal characteristics relating to instrument making are sought here. The intonation and the way of playing, on the other hand, takes on a very emotional character in the Romantic period, which includes a strong and frequent vibrato as well as portamentos that spoil the tone. The sample set used here is specially designed to reproduce such characteristics of the playing style.
The string sections are enlarged compared to the 18th century. The playing styles animate the tone through romantic vibrato and portamenti, for a particularly emotionally appealing vocal sound. String groups: 14 I. violins, 12 II. violins, 10 violas, 8 cellos, 6 double basses)
Wind instruments are usually still occupied twice, i.e. one player per voice. Boehm flutes, Viennese oboes, clarinets with German key system but also Viennese horns or valve trumpets make the winds stand out brighter from the overall sound, which is also fuller overall.
The sound of the Beethoven interpretation in the 20th century is less determined by the stylistic upheavals in the history of composition and "new music" of the 20th century, but in some cases even consciously placed itself within the classical romantic tradition inherited from the 19th century. Nevertheless, there were also developments in the instrument technology and architecture of the venues that left the interpretive and tonal standards of the 19th century behind.
Berlin Philharmonic (1963). The tent-like, asymmetrically designed hall with around 2,300 seats has become the acoustic model for many concert halls of the late 20th century. It has a large but very transparent spatial sound.
Steinway D (1951) Steinways are the grand pianos of choice for most performers in the 20th century. A particularly balanced, clear, penetrating sound has a large dynamic color spectrum. (to compare Beethoven's op.15 with 12 different sampled modern concert grand pianos)
In the 20th century, both the instrument making of the solo violin and the intonation and playing style in the Beethoven tradition largely remain in the classical romantic tradition. The emphatically emotional playing styles of the romantic epoch are only refined with moderation.
Compared to the 19th century, the string groups are still enlarged and achieve an even greater sonority. The way of playing is still very much based on the romantic animated vibrato. String sections have up to 18 first violins, 16 second violins, 14 violas, 12 cellos, 8 double basses)
Wind instruments are stronger, so there are more than one voice per voice. Boehm flutes, French oboes, clarinets with a French key system, but also further developments such as the triple horn or valve trumpets make the wind instruments more present and agile in the overall sound.
This project itself attempts to interpret Beethoven's music using the technical means of the 21st century. In the 21st century, we know and hear more about our musical traditions than ever before. At the same time, digitization allows us to realize musical ideas in a much more detailed, precise and multi-faceted way than ever before. In this project, I am trying to combine both in a meaningful way with my interpretations of the 21st century. Examples of the technology used for this are discussed below.
Most of the sample libraries used have the option of setting room acoustics. In order to achieve uniform conditions and the correct placement of a group of instruments in the orchestra, the spatial components of the sample libraries were largely excluded and only close and very close microphonic directions were used. These signals were then positioned in Inspired Acoustic's room simulation software "Inspirata Pro" in the simulations of the performance space appropriate to each sound epoch: a ceremonial hall of a late baroque palace, the Concertgebouw concert hall in the "Schukasten" form of the 19th century and the Berlin Philharmonic in the tent architecture of the 20th century. Inspirata:
The following digital instruments and sample libraries were used for the solo parts.Grandpianos 18th cent.: Modart-Pianotec-Stage: Broadwood (1796), Schoffstoss (1817), Cembalo: Blanchet(1733), 19th cent.: Vienna Symphonic Library, Synchron-Pianos: Blüthner 1895, 20th cent.: Synthogy: American Grand (Steinway D 1951),
Soloviolin: 18th cent.: Native-Instruments Cremona-Quartett (Straivari), VSL (VI-Solovioline) 19th cent.: Virharmonic Bohemian Violin, 20th cent. Harmonic-Subtones Emotional Violin.
Solovoices: 18th cent. Virharmonic: Soloists of Prague, 19th cent.: 8dio Requiem Pro (the Soloists), 20th cent. East-West (Opera: Sopran + Tenor) and Virharmonic: Soloists of Prague Alt + Bass
Solocello: 18th cent.: Native-Instruments Cremona-Quartett (Straivari-Cello) 19th cent.: Virharmonic Bohemian Cello, 20th cent. Harmonic-Subtones Emotional Cello.
For the strings, several sample libraries were mixed for each sound version. These were always sample libraries, whose instrumentation strength was assumed to be plausible for the sound image shaped by a certain century. For the 18th cent. all string libraries used, had the choice of low-vibrato modes which were chosen.The following Spitfire Audio Libraires are used: Chamberstrings ( 4 Vl.1, 3 Vl.2, 3 Vla., 3 Vcl., 3 Cb.), Studio Strings ( 8 Vl.1, 6 Vl.2, 6 Vla., 6 Vcl., 4 Cb.), Vienna Symphonic Library: Dimension Strings ( 6 Vl.1, 6 Vl.2, 6 Vla., 4 Vcl., 2 Cb.), Synchron Elite Strings ( 6 Vl.1, 5 Vl.2, 4 Vla., 4 Vcl., 3 Cb.). For the 19th cent. Playingstyles with notable Vibrato and occasional Portamento are used, with the section strength 1. Violins (14), 2. Violins (10), Violas (8), Celli (8) and Doublebasses (6). Following Libraries der Vienna Symphonic Library are used: Orchestral Strings I + II, Synchron Strings Pro. In order to increase the usual diversity of the attack in the orchestral sound, the Spitfire Audio Librarie Studio Strings 1st violins (8), 2nd violins (6), violas (6), cellos (6) and double basses (4) with vibrato-rich playing styles were used. For the 20th cent. even stronger string sample libraries were used. Playing styles with vibrato are used. The following sample libraries with the number of players (16 Vl.1, 14 Vl2, 12 Vla, 10 Vcl, 8 Cb) are mixed: Spitfire Audio BBC-Symphonic Orchestra Pro, Symphonic Strings Pro, Audiobro Modern Scoring Strings. For this purpose, sample libraries with a stronger presence are mixed (18 Vl.1, 14 Vl.2, 12 Vla, 10 Vcl, 8 Cb) such as Berlin Symphonic Strings East-West Hollywood Strings and VSL Appassionata Strings (20 Vl.1, 20 Vl.2 , 14 Vla, 12 Vcl, 10 Cb) mixed also with a bit of Synchron Strings Pro
For the wind instruments, sample libraries were deliberately selected that come closest to the development status of an instrument type in a specific century. For the sound of the 18th cent., the Historic Winds from the Vienna Symphonic Library were used, e.g. the softer transverse flute, baroque oboe, natural horns and natural trumpet. For the 19th cent., special technical forms such as the Viennese oboe, Viennese clarinet or the Viennese horn that are still used today, especially in the very conservative Viennese orchestral tradition, could be found that corresponded to the level of development of the 19th century cent.s are closer than the established state of instrument construction in the 20th cent.. In fact, the Viennese oboe, the Viennese clarinet and also the Viennese horn can be found in the VI series among the wind instruments sampled by the Vienna Symphonic Library. The wind parts were scored in the same way as wind parts are notated in the score. For the wind parts in the sound for the 20th cent., only sample sets were used, the instruments with the respective modern design, e.g. French oboes, French clarinets, triple horns. In contrast to the sound versions oriented to earlier centuries, practically all wind parts were occupied several times. The following sample libraries were mixed: Spitfire Audio Symphonic Brass Pro, Symphonic Woodwinds Pro, BBC-Symphonic Orchestra Pro, Audiobro: Scoring Brass, Orchestraltools: Berlin Woodwinds, Berlin Brass, East-West: Hollywood-Orchestra Woddwinds + Brass (Opus Edition) , Vienna Symphonic Library: Woodwinds I+II, Brass I+II, Synchron Woodwinds, Synchron Brass.