PDA

View Full Version : Are there "studio" recordings of classical works?


TLDRIDKJKLOLFTW
12-02-2006, 05:11 PM
Most classical music I hear - and by "classical," I refer to non-pop/rock orchestral works - is recorded as an "ensemble," on a stage or a soundstage, with what sounds like two microphones perched at the opposite end of the auditorium.

I understand that much of the effect of a good conductor/piece/orchestra is the natural effect of sonic mixing and blending that occurs when the group plays together en masse, but are there any classical recordings (of traditional works) done in a more "close-mic'ed" or "studio" manner? That is, recording one instrument or section at a time, overdubbing, and close-mic'ing particular instruments, finally mixing the entire thing with a studio console rather than having everything happen live in a room together?

fachverwirrt
12-02-2006, 06:24 PM
My guess would be no. It just wouldn't work, and wouldn't be worth the time and expense if you could make it work. Why record something thirty or more times (then mix and master) when you can just do it once?

Of course small scale or single instrument works (such as piano sonatas) can be recorded in studio, but I assume you mean larger scale, multi-intrument stuff.

According to Pliny
12-02-2006, 06:42 PM
They do often record in studios, with lots of people wearing headphones, and many retakes of passages. But I don't know about combining tracks from different sections.
I would presume they might combine the vocals for an operatic recording, something like that.
Plus of course they can and do add in the special percussion, like bells in the 1812 overture, which are notoriously unpredictable on stage. Why waste a good orchestral performance just because the bells weren't perfect?

garygnu
12-02-2006, 08:35 PM
Many DVD making-of features show movie scores being recorded in a giant studio, with enough microphones to be able to reasonably isolate different sections of the symphony. Remember that a symphony can be thought of like one big instrument, why not record it all at once?

I had the good fortune to see the San Francisco Symphony on a night they were recording. 16+ cameras, countless mics, purpose-built acoustics, and they really turn up the intensity.

lissener
12-02-2006, 08:47 PM
The CSO is usually recorded at Symphony Hall, but with an array of microphones. There is some editing and mixing done before the final release.

Glenn Gould did a lot of post production stuff on his later recordings.

ultrafilter
12-02-2006, 09:03 PM
I've seen a studio recording of Wagner's ring cycle, so it's not completely out of the question. It doesn't seem to be at all common, though.

MovieMogul
12-02-2006, 09:23 PM
Many DVD making-of features show movie scores being recorded in a giant studio, with enough microphones to be able to reasonably isolate different sections of the symphony. Remember that a symphony can be thought of like one big instrument, why not record it all at once?I have dealt with original studio recordings of film scores and they're often on 2" 16 or 24trk audio tape, so isolating all the different sections of the orchestra (while playing together) for mixing purposes is quite commonplace. And very often, those are in studio environments (as opposed to, say, concert halls where the acoustics are different).

Exapno Mapcase
12-02-2006, 10:31 PM
It appears to be a Very Big Deal to classical music buffs that the music be reproduced as ideally as possible faithful to hearing it live in a theater. The thought of individually miking and recording the instruments would be to anathema what anathema is to ice cream. So from a sheerly profit-motive point-of-view such works are unlikely to the extreme.

fachverwirrt
12-02-2006, 11:59 PM
I would presume they might combine the vocals for an operatic recording, something like that.

I've done one opera recording, which was done as a unit--everybody was there and recorded in toto, just like a live performance (only out of sequence and with lots of takes). Judging by the pictures that accompany most of my opera recordings (more than a couple) most opera recordings are done similarly. The singers are miked separately, but it's all done at the same time.

It would be really difficult to record vocals after the fact. There's too much give and take, push and pull in a good operatic performance to do it without the conductor there guidig the whole thing. You won't have that if you're overdubbing.

GorillaMan
12-03-2006, 07:11 AM
It appears to be a Very Big Deal to classical music buffs that the music be reproduced as ideally as possible faithful to hearing it live in a theater. The thought of individually miking and recording the instruments would be to anathema what anathema is to ice cream. So from a sheerly profit-motive point-of-view such works are unlikely to the extreme.
Ironically, one way to get close to this acievement is to use a vast number of mikes, and do a lot of post-recording editing of levels. And for recordings of live concerts (mainly for broadcast), this is common, because you don't get a second chance to play any of it.

Having said that, in a studio recording, sections from multiple takes can be spliced together. Some performers like this, others want to preserve a single take, warts and all, because it more faithfully represents what they actually do.

are there any classical recordings (of traditional works) done in a more "close-mic'ed" or "studio" manner? That is, recording one instrument or section at a time, overdubbing, and close-mic'ing particular instruments, finally mixing the entire thing with a studio console rather than having everything happen live in a room together?
No, it's not done like that - a major element is having the whole ensemble working as one, not to mention the issue of how you'd keep everything in time for individual players' takes (click-tracks aren't a solution!)