New Beethoven Symphony Cycle to Be Recorded by Virtual Ensemble: The Fauxharmonic Orchestra

Classic Arts News   New Beethoven Symphony Cycle to Be Recorded by Virtual Ensemble: The Fauxharmonic Orchestra
The Fauxharmonic Orchestra, which is dedicated to advancing digital performance of orchestral music and contributing to the development of musical software and similar tools, plans to release a recording of Beethoven's nine symphonies, using software recently developed by the Vienna Symphonic Library.

A statement on the Fauxharmonic's website says this might be the first digital orchestra recording of Beethoven's nine symphonies. The orchestra aims to "perform them with some revealing insight or in a way that allows a qualitatively different experience. Quite a challenge in itself, but we are helped by the fact that, sadly, many of the performances of these works are trotted out for listeners without making that kind of contribution."

An orchestra performing a Beethoven symphony, the statement points out, is likely to only rehearse for an hour or so, and cannot afford to dramatically rethink their approach due to time and financial constraints. Whereas, presumably, a computer needs no rehearsal time at all.

The Fauxharmonic's organizers hope to offer their listeners a transcendent experience, although they can't promise anything. The statement reads, "aiming for the pinnacle of symphonic expression with the acknowledged masterworks of classical music — is the only way we can approach (and surely one day attain) that elusive experience."

Most importantly, the orchestra hopes to demonstrate the artistic value and validity of digital orchestral performance and hopes its success will be measured in "musical, not technical" terms.

The recordings will be led by "digital orchestra conductors," including Paul Henry Smith, the Fauxharmonic Orchestra's music director. Like traditional conductors, says the statement, digital orchestra conductors must have an ear for balance, phrasing, rhythm, drama, sound color, tempo etc., and be able to merge those aspects in a cohesive musical vision.

A release date for the recordings has not yet been announced.

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