Stravinsky’s Petrushka, Done In The Classitronic Style

This is a short preview of Paul Shillito’s classitronic arrangement of Stravinsky’s Petrushka:

Igor Stravinsky’s Petrushka done electronically ( or Classitronically as I like to call it) in an Isao Tomita style.

This is a selection of highlights from the full piece. The whole piece is over 22 minutes long but this gives you a good idea of the contents & sounds in 5 and a half mins.

If you are familair with Tomitas works then you will recognise that parts of it are similar in style and sound to that of his “Pictures at an Exhibition” which is what I was aiming for, though Petrushka is quite a different piece of music from the Mussorgsky work and the full version sounds more like that than the cut up version here.

This was adapted from the 3 part piano version with the Shrovetide fair and Charlatans booth also from a piano version added at the begining, so while it’s not the absolute full orchestral version, its more than the normal 3 part piano one.

Petrushka is the story of 3 puppets that are brought to life by a magician in a travelling fair. Petrushka, the lead puppet falls in love with a female puppet but is eventually killed by his love rival (that is a very short and simple explanation).

The whole piece was done on hardware synths and effects processors with only a tiny fraction being samples which is just the choir parts. It took about 4 months to put together and will form part of a CD to be released in 2011 which will include the Rite of Spring also by Stravinsky.

The equipment used was a Analogue modular synth, Arturia Origin, Creamware Prodyssey and Pro 12, Roland V-Synth GT, Eventide Modfactor and Pitchfactor, EHX Cathedral, Digitech Timebender, Line 6 M13 stompbox modeller, EHX Small stone phaser, Cubase 5 running on a i7 PC with Windows 7 64bit.

The animations where taken from Winamp Milkdrop 2 plugin and recorded using FRAPS ( and I forget to move the mouse cusor in most of the screen grabs DOH!).

For fans of 70’s classitronica, Shillito’s upcoming album sounds like it could be a treat. Check it out and leave a comment with your thoughts.

via paulshillitomusic

8 thoughts on “Stravinsky’s Petrushka, Done In The Classitronic Style

  1. I liked Paul's choice of sounds.

    Awesome, especially the Charlatan's booth and Merchant… I found the lead in Petrushka's room annoying but I'm just nitpicking now…

    1. I wish could perform it live, what a time saver that would be ! but alas even Tomita admitted that he could never perform truly live because of the complexity of edit and the best he could do was maybe do a lead line with the rest on backing tape. I think most of the time though he just engineered the performance and got others to do the playing. Even now with midi and banks of presets it would till be a tall order to perform live, so I take my hat off anyone that can do it.

      Paul Shillito

  2. Paul, 5 stars on the demo collection. Doing classical renditions is an added layer of work and a half, which makes your music all the more gratifying. I cut my teeth on Tomita and his peers of the time, so I am pleased to hear someone carry that torch along a few more steps. The nearest thing to a critique I'll offer is just that those duck-quack leads scream "TOMITA" too strongly, IMO. Otherwise, very well done. I think part of why you nailed this so well is that you have a marked variety of sound sources that cover pretty much every base. Thinking laterally is a major component of good synthesis. Keep at it!

  3. Yes, I admit I have used a few (quite a few) of Tomita's sounds but they do work very well and he did cover such a lot of ground that it sometimes difficult to do the continuously changing instrumentation and retaining the 70's retro sound without running into some of his sound sets. The whistling patch was one he used a lot and I have used it here too but it just sounds so good that it can fit in to many places

    Funny thing is that I don't think that he would mind, back in the 70's he used to do lecture tours on using the Moog and in the Sound Creature album of 1977 he goes in to great detail of how to make some of the sounds he used, which is still a useful reference 35 years on.

    Paul Shillito

  4. I'll take that on the chin, it does work better when you hear the full version but I think it does help portray the loneliness of Petrushka in his room/cell. There is such a lot going on in the score that hearing it in bits is not really the best way to show it.

    Paul Shillito

  5. I agree with the quacking sounds, as they sound a little out of place in Stravinsky. I do like the whistling sound (always a favorite Tomita sound of mine). Nice work on this, a true labor of love with all that hardware.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *