Erik Satie’s ‘Les Fil Des Étoiles – Prelude no2 L’Initiation’, Performed With SWAM String Sections

Reader James Worthington (Ghost Money) shared his performance of Erik Satie‘s piano piece Les Fil Des Étoiles – Prelude no2 L’Initiation, arranged for Audio Modelings’ SWAM String Sections.

SWAM String Sections is a suite of four plug-ins, corresponding to the orchestra sections Violins, Violas, Cellos, and Double Basses, and based on Audio Modeling’s modeling technology.

Here’s what Worthington say about the performance:

“My Principle reason for doing this arrangement of the second prelude – L’Initiation, is that I wanted to hear how Satie’s very simple, plain and innovative music from this period would sound with an arrangement for strings. When one considers that it was composed by a 25-year-old Satie in 1891, it demonstrates his radical harmonic invention and distinct departure from the stylistic idioms of it’s time. Roland Manuel made full orchestral versions of the first and third preludes. There are no dynamic markings on the original score and in keeping with the feel of the score I have kept this aspect within bounds.

Also an opportunity to try out the new audio modeling (sic) SWAM string sections. In General, remarks about the qualities of these physically modeled strings is that they are very expressive, but not as sonically realistic as the high end sample libraries. What I like about them is that you can hear the movement and action of the bow on each note and phrase. On reflection, I also decided not to use any vibrato as this better reflects the calm, mystical nature of the music.”

6 thoughts on “Erik Satie’s ‘Les Fil Des Étoiles – Prelude no2 L’Initiation’, Performed With SWAM String Sections

  1. Excellent. I love Satie. Good choice, Ghost Money. If you were unaware of SWAM, this fixes that handily. All of their offerings are at this level. Physical modeling is slowly taking over territory that used to be samples-only. Expressive E offers similar strings, but still only under Rosetta for Macs. I figure they’re busy filling Osmose orders. Check them out as well as SWAM.

    I have some nice specialized orchestra sections from Spitfire that speak up well. I plan to add to that with some more physical modeling mojo. I still find Chromaphone amazing after 3 years.

  2. Thank you for constructive feedback and favourable comments Dave. I do feel the manner of controlling the performance could do with a re-design. Currently expression and bow pressure have seperate controls for example. I would venture it would be simpler to have controllers assigned for bow speed and pressure with a switch for bow direction. There are a number of mpe controllers that make good partners for this type of software, osmose being one. I’m currently doing a piece with all manner of bowing and expression which is going swimmingly. Flautando harmonics sounding particularly engaging.
    I still have a Yamaha Vl1 from back in the day. The floppy drive went kaput, as did the replacement and the screen is pretty shot due to amount of use it’s had. Here’s a piece I did with my own string presets from some time ago. It’s interesting to compare the then and now of physical modelling.:

  3. My one gripe with SWAM is that they don’t ALLOW you to control dynamics with velocity.

    In most cases I’d opt for a breath controller, but using a wheel for dynamics is not intuitive even for long-time keyboardists. Also, I prefer to use that wheel for vibrato– which is pretty intuitive.

    It’s not just that it’s not the default, they actively prevent it. I have to use a 3rd party tool to convert velocity to CC, which is a pain.

    Yes, they have a valid argument, but so do I– which is, in short, “Velocity to control dynamics is better than nothing.”

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