EWI and other wind synthesizers in classical music

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    Default EWI and other wind synthesizers in classical music

    With the electric violin being used occasionally in classical music now - John Adams and Nico Muhly for example - I wonder if any contemporary composers had used a wind synthesizer?

    I have never heard, nor read a review of a work, that uses this instrument although I am sure someone has probably used it.

    (I put this in the classical music section because I am particularly interested in chamber music/orchestral use).

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    CaseyReed's Avatar
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    Default Re: EWI and other wind synthesizers in classical music

    find the Maurice Jarre reference towards the bottom of this page:

    http://www.patchmanmusic.com/NyleSteinerHomepage.html

    here's a brief excerpt:
    http://www.allmusic.com/album/mauric...l-mw0000091146

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    Forum Contributor 2008 DaveR's Avatar
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    Default Re: EWI and other wind synthesizers in classical music

    Before the EWI was first introduced I worked extensively at the National Theatre in London playing the Lyricon Driver, coupled to various analogue synths via CV and Gate. The composer Dominic Muldowney was a keen user of the electronics at that time and still is. I used the Lyricon at first with a Roland SH101 and later with an Oberheim Xpander playing various shows at the Theatre. Shortly after buying the Oberheim, Akai released the EWI Mk1 which of course worked over midi.

    I also used the Xpander and an Akai sampler and a couple of hardware effects units racked into a flight case. Particular shows that I used this final version were The Pied Piper (for Muldowney) and the original productions of Tony Kushner's 'Angels in America' with music composed by Paddy Cuneen. During 'Perestroika', the second play from 'Angels in America' I sampled my own Oboe playing and triggered it with the EWI so that the sound could seem to come directly from the actor who was 'playing' on stage (the speaker was hidden in a 'rock').

    I have also played a number sessions on the EWI for films and TV, particularly for composer Jennie Muskett for various National Geographic nature programs, one of which won an award in the USA.

    I also bought a WX7 and a WX11 and a Yamaha VL1m physical modelling synth (the rack mounted job) which was interesting and used on Under Milk Wood at the National for Muldowney and in a production of Phillip Glass' '1000 Airplanes'.

    I haven't played it much recently, I sort of got bored with it all. The saxophone is infinitely more interesting to play.

    Dave



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    Default Re: EWI and other wind synthesizers in classical music

    Quote Originally Posted by CaseyReed View Post
    find the Maurice Jarre reference towards the bottom of this page:
    Many thanks for your reply Casey. I found quite a long excerpt of Jarre's Concerto For E.V.I. on Youtube. There were a few sections that I thought worked well, although there was beautiful sound that was only used for a few seconds unfortunately.

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    Default Re: EWI and other wind synthesizers in classical music

    Many thanks for your reply David with examples and the list of equipment you used. The Roland SH101 must have sounded good - and been unusual - as it it was the stalwart of synth bands and techno etc. I would guess the Oberheim was particularly suited to the wind synth.

    I have seen the keyboard synthesizer used in classical music and it seems to be used for sustained chords (or pads) and rarely takes an upfront part. The only prominent part I have heard played by a synthesizer was many years ago in work by Thea Musgrave.


    "I haven't played it much recently, I sort of got bored with it all. The saxophone is infinitely more interesting to play."


    I can certainly understand that, the same as many keyboard synth players often end up playing grand piano later on. A good example is Ryuichi Sakamoto, an excellent synth player/programmer who then went on to play piano with the electronics performed by someone else on laptop. Now he plays with a piano trio with violin and cello. It does seem unusual though that the synthesizer, electric piano, electric guitar, bass guitar only really make their way into post-minimalist music or the really way-out, experimental groups.

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    Instrument Attic's Avatar
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    Default Re: EWI and other wind synthesizers in classical music

    Portuguese composer Henrique Portovedo wrote a piece for sax and EWI entitled "Sofomania in Senatus."
    Here's a performance by Portuguese saxophonist Hugo Correia backed by the French Orchestre de la Garde Républicaine Wind Band.
    (starts at 43:05) https://vimeo.com/140793550#t=43:05
    youtube.com/user/instrumentattic
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    Default Re: EWI and other wind synthesizers in classical music

    Quote Originally Posted by Instrument Attic View Post
    Portuguese composer Henrique Portovedo wrote a piece for sax and EWI entitled "Sofomania in Senatus."
    Here's a performance by Portuguese saxophonist Hugo Correia backed by the French Orchestre de la Garde Républicaine Wind Band.
    (starts at 43:05) https://vimeo.com/140793550#t=43:05
    Many thanks for the link. It was really useful and also introduced me to a composer I had not heard of. It was really well played as well.

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    Default Re: EWI and other wind synthesizers in classical music

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Stewart View Post
    Many thanks for the link. It was really useful and also introduced me to a composer I had not heard of. It was really well played as well.
    Glad to know you saw it. There's really not that much repertoire out there and that one stood out to me. Please add links to this thread if / when you find more!
    youtube.com/user/instrumentattic
    current Attic occupants: sop Holton | alto Silversonic | tenor Mk VI, King S20 | bari Vito (Yana) | bass Conn | mouthpieces galore

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    Default Re: EWI and other wind synthesizers in classical music

    Hi dear Ian, actually i'm the performer and Hugo Correia is the composer. It's the other way around
    I just released a new album with all of his music for saxophones, EWI and electronics. Maybe you would like.
    The presentation of the album is just on the next 2nd of February but, anyway, the album is already available at CDBABY http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/henriqueportovedo4

    Best wishes,

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    Default Re: EWI and other wind synthesizers in classical music

    Quote Originally Posted by Instrument Attic View Post
    Glad to know you saw it. There's really not that much repertoire out there and that one stood out to me. Please add links to this thread if / when you find more!
    Two weeks ago in a saxophone festival in London there was a premiere of a work - Tinto - for EWI by British composer Charlotte Harding. It was beautifully played by Alistair Parnell, an EWI specialist, although as yet I don't think there is a recording on the web.
    If anyone is interested in this work you can contact Charlotte through her website http://www.charlotteharding.org.uk

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