This is a collection of tunes that I recorded on sequencers using a variety of techniques; as real-time MIDI data recorders, as step-time sequence recorders, and as a combination, recorded 'live' but more or less heavily quantized to compensate for my poor playing.
The audio output from the synths was recorded to cassette on the Sharp then converted to .wav using Cubasis AV. A CDR was then produced which was later ripped to mp3.
A more extensively-produced version of the tune originally recorded with Chasing Unicorns. This was played entirely in real time, in four stages.
I first heard Jehan Alain's 1939 organ masterpiece when it was adapted as the introduction of 'Running Hard' by Renaissance. I obtained the score of the original and transcribed it without having heard the full work. Alain's output was prodigious during his short career, and is generally similar in style to this piece.
Alain prefaced the work thus:
When the Christian soul in distress can no longer find new words to implore the mercy of God, it repeats the same invocation over and over again in a blind faith. The limits of reason are reached. Faith alone continues its ascent.
I recorded it entirely in step-time on my Yamaha sequencer which can't handle varying time signatures within a piece, so each bar effectively consists of one crotchet (quarter-note). There are 1,209, most of which had to be recorded multiple times because of the organ coupling. The audio comes from the Yamaha synthesizer, running a multi-organ voicing of my own programming. It ran out of polyphony during the tutti section towards the end (everything coupled to everything else), but is still quite impressive. The sequence also sounds rather good on a piano voicing.
This is based on another Jehan Alain piece which he called 'Variations on a theme by Clement Jannequin', although he noted that "the air is, in reality, anonymous. It is the fourth of 31 songs published by Attaignant in 1529"; this air had presumably been pinched by Jannequin and claimed as his own. I have used just the theme, without Alain's variations.
There are three parts in the piece; the pedals and two manuals. I recorded the pedal part in step-time as a click-track then played the manual parts individually in real time, having proved to myself that I could, if necessary, play them simultaneously.
Scarlatti is one of my favourite composers of the baroque period, on a par with Vivaldi and J S Bach.
I was unable to get an authentic period harpsichord sound from my Yamaha, so I programmed the voice for this piece on the Casio.
A somewhat mournful piece, understandably so as the title translates as 'On the Death of my Wife'.
Like much early music, this piece was intended for dancing; the same basic tune is adapted for the three types of dance.
A classic of early music, for many years listed as 'anonymous'; fortunately, Giles Farnaby has finally received his due credit. The voicing simulates a consort of crumhorns.
I wrote this during the Chasing Unicorns days, when it was played on acoustic guitar (tuned to modal D - DADGAD) backed by bass and drums, with the flute solo played on a keyboard. It has words for the last verse which Paul wrote and Sherryl sang. When Paul wrote the words, he didn't know the title, but they suit it perfectly. This version attempts to simulate the original sound. I tried recording it using the MIDI guitar but it wouldn't track quickly enough, so I resorted to keyboard.
This originated as the first part of a three-part suite called 'The Western Land', the remainder of which is still not written. In this version, the piano and bass parts tends to take over from the 'guitar' which opens the piece.
It was another entirely real-time recording.
This is the only piece which was written specifically for this collection. I was playing around on my wife's piano when the opening arpeggio fell out. Fortunately, I caught it and was able to coax it to produce this tune. The key changes toward the end just happened; I would never be able to plan anything that well. The lead part at the end is played on the Casio, the remainder on the Yamaha.
This was all recorded in real-time, except for the very fast twiddly bit in the middle.