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Marble Surface

Philipp Fahrbach I

Nur Löschen!, Polka (Schnell), Op. 318

Arr. CPE Strauss

00:00 / 01:57

My orchestration from the piano score of this quick polka by Fahrbach senior.

Franz Lehár I, Königin Christine, Marsch, Op. 56, Arr. CPE Strauss
Johann Schrammel, Wiener Frauen Herzen, Walzer, Arr. CPE Strauss
Philipp Fahrbach I, Nur Löschen!, Polka (Schnell), Op. 318, Arr. CPE Strauss
Joseph Lanner, Taglioni, Walzer, Op. 141, Arr. CPE Strauss

After years of putting up with the collection of bugs and design flaws that is Sibelius, I have acquired a trial version of Dorico 4 Pro. I did these four pieces as an evaluation exercise to see if it was worth weaning myself off Sibelius. I took the opportunity to install the upgrade to NotePerformer 4 too.

I chose three contrasting short pieces as a test. I probably otherwise would not have done the Schrammel yet as I have done two of his waltzes recently. However, it was shorter than a full length waltz. The fourth piece, the Lanner, was to test whether the export from Sibelius to XML and the subsequent import into Dorico produced something usable.

Despite the truly horrible learning curve (There are an amazing number of keyboard “shortcuts” that aren’t short at all when you have to look each one up individually.) is is a vast improvement on Sibelius, for my purposes at least. It is much easier to get around and produces a reasonable performance without the amount of kludging required to make Sibelius sound realistic. What you hear in these four pieces is just the result of inputting the score and pressing play … almost.

It has its foibles and eccentricities but nowhere near as many as Sibelius and it didn’t fall over once. It is, of necessity in fairness, bloody complicated. It certainly helped having had a previous life as a software engineer. It was interesting to see some “features” inherited from Sibelius –

Why can’t it play back pauses? I could understand it not doing it very well, but not at all? Given that the workaround is just to input a couple of manual tempo changes, you’d have thought it wouldn’t be that difficult.

Acciaccaturas (grace notes played before the beat) seem to cause problems with both systems. The Lehàr march has three of them before the first beat. Left to its own devices Dorico just didn’t play them. That might be my ignorance but it looked ok to me. Sibelius had similar problems. If a forte passage started with some acciaccaturas but the preceeding bar was piano, the acciacaturas were played piano even if the forte was attached to the acciaccaturas. That might be my ignorance too but I doubt it.

The migration of the Lanner went surprisingly well. The piccolo and double bass parts were at the wrong octave. Getting those right might be an option I don’t know about but it wasn’t worth looking up as fixing them was trivial. It wasn’t good with rit’s and rall’s but editing those was easy and it couldn’t cope with any tempo markings I knew and it didn’t. Apart from that, it just more or less worked. I took the opportunity to get rid of some of the embarrassing bits in this early orchestration of mine.

I was thinking of upgrading my orchestra too. I was a bit put off by the cost and system requirements of most of the big libraries but NotePerformer gives a pretty good performance out of the box and, while I am sure I could master the art of fiddling about with the a DAW, it is unlikely I would want to spend the time necessary at the back end to get a perfect performance. The sound I get from Noteperformer is better than quite a lot of professional recordings and I would much prefer to spend the time exploring the darker corners of the repertoire. If that sounds a bit like quantity over quality, then I would agree. Too much of this music is not performed at all though.

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