Notes about this production

I was asked by the music editors of a new documentary about  Robert Cenedella  to recreate Virgil Fox’s rendition of  Charles Ives’ “Variations On America” (var 2 and 3 only). Cenedella, a all known visual satirist, created many paintings about politics and his take on the political process. The director and music editor decided that Charles Ives’ musical satire Variations On America as played by the flamboyant organist would serve as a fitting score for a particular scene.

Mr. Kanefsky wanted me to exactly emulate a particular YouTube performance of this Ives work for organ from 3:30 to 5:30. First, I bought Vienna Symphonic Instruments “Konzerthaus Organ” to add to my Kontakt 5 organ stops and launched Logic Pro. Then, I downloaded the video performance and imported it into Logic. In Logic Pro, I matched each beat of the video performance with the written score by adjusting the tempo track. After defining Virgil Fox’s extreme rubato in this manner, all I had to do is have an accurate, predominately quantized MIDI file of the music to play back – and those tempo changes would do the rest. I employed PhotoScore to interpret a scan of the paper score into MIDI. This was the first time I have used a music scan-to-MIDI reader and though I had to verify each note of the score and fix many, the program did save me time. After importing that MIDI file into Logic, I simply needed to choose the correct stops/sounds. This required a study of organ registrations,watching the video. To achieve the glitzy theater organ sound in the beginning (Mr. Fox is playing his custom Black Beauty electronic concert organ), I used a Leslie phasing plug in on one of the stops.

Robert Cenedella’s art is poignant and hilarious – just like Ives’ work: they are a great pairing. I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing them together! The Director was happy with the track – and I had fun creating it.

“Art Bastard”
Produced by Chris Concannonimages
Directed by Victor Kanefsky
Edited by Jim MacDonald
Music Editor, Mario Sprouse

 

 

My rendering of Charles Ives “Variations On America” for the documentary

 

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