CLASSICAL COLLECTION - THE WORLD'S GEATEST MUSIC
Five years in the making, we have now recrafted, arranged and recorded more than one hundred of the best-loved classical works for use in media, film and TV.
Elgar, Holst and Dukas new releases for Classical Collection
Our 4th instalment of the Classical collection brings us to Holst, Elgar and Dukas. Recorded at Abbey Road with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Our team including Julian Gallant and Rob Kelly come together again to create the quintessential recordings of these pieces arranged specifically for use in media. Shortened and re-orchestrated to highlight the most familiar portions of each work. It’s our privilege to be able to bring our spin to these epic and time-honoured compositions.
Recording the Elgar compositions in Abbey Road Studio 1, in particular, was a thrilling experience. This was where Sir Edward Elgar himself conducted Land of Hope and Glory at the grand opening ceremony of the Studio. Our collection was released on the 88th anniversary of this very occasion.
Pastoral, patriotic - Elgar and Dukas
Sir Edward Elgar was born near Worcester in 1857. He was one of the first composers to fully embrace recorded music, with his first recording session in HMV’s studios in 1914. For the next two decades, he was involved with the development of both recording technology and the gramophone.
Paul Dukas was a French composer who studied at the Paris Conservatory and became a master of orchestration. His best-known piece – and the one featured here – is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, written in 1897.
Walt Disney chose it as the soundtrack for the stunning Sorcerer’s Apprentice sequence from Fantasia.
War, peace and magic - Holst's Planets
From an epic, dramatically building orchestra and choir through flighty, mercurial moments and a cheerfully epic romp, together with quieter, more magical reveals and ethereal choir with cosmic harps, Holst’s The Planets suite contains a universe of orchestral moods.
Written between 1914-1916 by Gustav Holst, The Planets suite represents all the known planets of the solar system that were visible from Earth at the time.
The tone and style of the music depict the planets’ corresponding astrological characters, including Jupiter the bringer of Jollity and the brooding ominous Mars, the Roman God of War.
Listen to our five great new classical albums for Audio Network
THE ABBEY ROAD SESSIONS
Five great new albums added to the Classic Collection
To take the most loved and finest music in the entire classical canon and to rearrange it for the needs of the modern media industry calls for a certain set of qualities among those who are tasked with the job. You can't be too frightened of the task in hand - even the greatest classical composers were just the musical stars of the day. On the other hand, to approach the project with the idea that you are going to casually re-write and improve on the work of the likes of Beethoven, Mozart, Delibes or Tchaikovsky is to court disaster. In all, we have recorded the works of more than 40 of the world's greatest composers from Bach to Waldteufel.
This was the brief facing Jeff and David, together with long-term collaborator Julian Gallant back in 2014 when they began work on what became known as the classical collection. The original plan was to work with the best musicians available to produce four albums of classical music for use in film, TV and advertising. The first four albums featured symphonic works, opera, oratorio and choral pieces. These were followed shortly by two more albums of symphonic pieces, and two more of chamber music.
Across the first eight albums were the works of a classical Who’s Who including: Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Handel, Mussorgsky, Greig, Rossini, Strauss, Saint-Saens, Tchaikovsky, Mendelsohn, Bizet, Puccini, Purcell. Schubert, Delibes, Brahms, Fauré, Rimsky-Korsakov, Smetana and Wagner.
Says Jeff: “We were working with our client Audio Network who knew, as we did, that media professionals were having to do their best and extract bite-sized chunks from original (and often old) symphonic recordings.” Andrew Sunnucks, the irrepressible founder of Audio Network, wanted to create a library of the finest quality symphonic recordings for twenty-first century media.
Adds Jeff: "The project broke down into three parts. The first was choosing the pieces we were going to record. The second phase, recording, was the shortest and most fun part where we sit in a room and listen to the beautiful music that's being made. And then finally there is post-production which accounts for hours and hours of work.
We choose the takes, close the gaps that need to be closed and then Rob Kelly mixes the music. This is a long and arduous process. We then take the mixed versions and chop them up again to create pieces of music that
are anywhere between 30 and 60 seconds long. There could be 20 or 30 versions of each work."The project was broken down into two parts: the first was recorded in autumn 2014 and the second followed in spring 2015. The Abbey Road sessions were the only time that Jeff (Chicago), Julian and Rob (different parts of London) and David (rural Yorkshire) worked in the same location. For the rest of the time, the Internet and Skype provided the means of communication.
Says David: "In post-production, Jeff, Rob and I have to be able to pass pieces of music around between each other. And as we found out on the first set of recordings, if your computer systems are not identical the sound will change." Co-collaborator Julian Gallant says the hours of graft spent on the first project helped the team when it came to the second half. as Jeff admitted: "I can safely say that I have never worked on any project that has taught me more - not just the music and the orchestration, but technical issues and learning how to manipulate the audio. It's been phenomenal."
The five new albums are themed more around the moods of the music, rather than traditional classifications.
Says David: "It's just such a privilege. You are taking the greatest works in the world and saying 'We can change this. Beethoven's Fifth? Let's add a violin in there.' and then we get an orchestra to play it. It's amazing really."
The Classical Collection is available from Audio Network. All of the music from the 13 albums is available on a track-by-track basis. The full track listings are set out below.