Case

'Drop after Drop' - Kamerorkest van het Noorden

Introduction to the project.

'Drop after Drop'

'Drop after Drop' was originally commissioned by Festivals for Compassion as a symbol of solidarity with Ukraine. Featuring scores exclusively by Ukrainian composers, the event served as a moving and powerful concert, reflecting both the sorrow of loss and the hope for a brighter future.

Kamerorkest van het Noorden

Kamerorkest van het Noorden, which translates to "Chamber Orchestra of the North," is a young and innovative orchestra based in Groningen. Their mission is to present music, whether old or new, in an engaging manner, breathing new life into pieces and sharing their passion with the audience. The orchestra has been praised for its innovative approach and dynamic performances, often collaborating with contemporary composers, like with Maxim Shalygin this time.

Fine Tune Audio

Fine Tune Audio, with our expertise in audio and sound design, was tasked with on-site sound engineering and recording. We worked closely with the composer and orchestra, employing various techniques to enhance the concert's message and emotional impact.

Our concert approach

Working on audio from a live event is something completely different to audio on a radio commercial or album recorded in a studio. Taking into account roomsound, the various instruments on stage and how they interact with each other is crucial to create the sound image you want. 

The goal was to create an event recording of the concert with high quality visuals, and thus audio to match that. To make this a larger than life experience even when watching it on video, everything had to be of grand quality.

Gear and setup

To capture this unique event, we employed a variety of techniques and equipment. Firstly, we used a Decca tree setup, a common method for recording orchestras, and is very adaptable to different room spaces. This setup utilizes omnidirectional microphones arranged in a "T-shape" to create a stereo audio image. For this, we used Neumann KM183 microphones.

Secondly, we implemented an ORTF arrangement for a secondary set of microphones. Developed by the Office de Radiodiffusion Télévision Française (ORTF), this technique captures stereo recordings using two cardioid microphones. In our case, we used Neumann KM184s, positioned at a 110° angle to each other. This arrangement relies on the direction and timing of the sound to replicate the on-site stereo experience.

Finally, to ensure we captured the deep low-end frequencies, we placed an additional microphone near the double bass section.

Audio processing

The quality of the recording makes the post-processing much easier. However, a lot of the magic still happens in post. We naturally go in and subtly EQ the audio. This is to filter out sounds and frequencies that sound bad to the ear and thus compromise the full audio experience enjoyment.

For this recording we also used Soothe, the plugin, to do some parallell processing. Essentially, processing a duplicate of the sound source, then weaving and balancing that in with the original sound.

Since this is an orchestral performance, we already captured a bit of room sound, but for the purpose of this event recording we used Altiverb as well. This is a plugin that replicates, and allows us to apply room reverberation from other spaces. Using this plugin we can use a grand space such as Concertgebouw Amsterdam to make the audio experience get this desired "larger than life" feel.

Composers

Of course, we would have no music to record and process if the music wasn't written. The selected composers for this event were Valentin Silvestrov, Sviatoslav Lunyov, and Maxim Shalygin. Valentin Silvestrov, born in 1937 in Kyiv, is known for his emotionally textured and serene compositions. His piece, "Stille Musik," is a poignant example of his signature style. Sviatoslav Lunyov, born in 1964, also from Kyiv, creates music that often suspends time, with his work "Tristium" evoking the flowing and gradually widening Dnipro River.

Maxim Shalygin, born in 1985 in Kamianske (formerly Dniprodzerzhynsk), not only composed for the event but also took on the role of conductor. His compositions, such as "Drop after Drop" and "Lullaby," are known for their eloquence and emotional depth. As the conductor, Shalygin seamlessly blended his music with the orchestra, ensuring that each piece resonated deeply with the listeners​

More pieces

Listen to some previews of more pieces composed by Maxim Shalygin below or get full versions from his website.

Angel
Maxim Shalygin