After using the solo violin sample in Reason’s Orkester pack, I revisited a string quartet I wrote before I started college. I rerecorded it last year using some of Reason’s other string samples, and I never really liked the results.
The Orkester samples aren’t exactly the Vienna Symphonic Library, but they’re not bad. They are far and away better than the Kawai K4 arco string patch which I used when I first wrote the work. I was even reckless and bought the Reason Strings Refill. The viola in the Refill doesn’t have the same quality as the solo violin and cello in Orkester, but at least now I had something close to a real string quartet.
So I made another mix of the quartet with the Orkester samples and really liked what I heard.
I was so encouraged, I went ahead and transcribed the second and third movements of the quartet. If I’m mildly self-conscious about the quartet’s first movement, I’m downright sheepish about the second. It’s really just some watered-down John Williams. But the entire work itself sounds like a movie soundtrack, so there isn’t anything to do but let it be what it is. The third movement is just a truncated version of the first movement, so all I had to do was nip and tuck.
With the quartet done, I was three tracks away from having 90 demos recorded. So I went poking through my archive to see if I could find a vocal work I wrote toward the end of my college career. I posted a request on Usenet for translations of some Roman Catholic prayers, and I got a reply. I used that text to write a piece for three baritones.
Since I don’t have a vocal ensemble at my disposable, I did the same thing for this work that I did for "Palomino" — I rearranged it with different instruments. In this case, I used a cello trio. I still call the work Three Prayers in Irish Gaelic.
And thus became the fifth semi-finished Eponymous 4 EP, 「学生」, or Gakusei, which means "student".
These are the works I could easily produce mechanically. I have other pieces I could have included, but they rely more on improvisation and timbre. One of the works was for prepared piano, another was a game piece.
Now that I’ve put these young works out there, I wonder if my composerly tendencies are not so entirely rusty?