May 25, 2007

A Friday Musical Offering

String Quartet #1 -- Bible Pictures (2007)
In five movements:
1) Miriam at the Red Sea
2) Wandering in the Wilderness
3) Balaam (Waltz)
4) Dinah (Love is Strong as Death)
5) Jordan and the Promised Land

by Tobias Haller


Anonymous said...


Just when I think I'm about as amazed as I can get with your creativity, you come out with this! I could only listen for the moment on my laptop's built-in speakers -- are the strings synthesized? Would you say a bit about any technology you use to compose or render your compositions? I'm just getting into home recording, having invested in a Presonus Firepod, MIDI keyboard, and entry-level microphone.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Thanks for the kind words, Dylan. The strings are indeed synthesized, or rather digital. They come from the Garritan Personal Orchestra, a rather amazing bit of digital audio software that sampled an entire symphony orchestra and all its instruments and put it together in an amazingly compact package.
I use it with Coda Finale music software, which does just about everything. I've been using it for years now and still discovering new twists. The latest, as of two versions ago, was the inclusion of a "special edition" trimmed down version of the Garritan product -- which means that right out of the box you can do some pretty amazing things.

I built my first synthesizer way way back in the 70s with a soldering iron; and before that I even did "musique concrete" with tape deck and splicer. Nowadays I've gone almost entirely digital -- though I still enjoy playing a real acoustic instrument or two. And singing, of course...

All the best,

June Butler said...

Tobias, how many talents do you have?

From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.

I believe that you are one of Christ's slaves that he will find working when he returns.

Jane R said...

Wonderful, Tobias, thank you.

I just referred my friend Joe to your blog for a listen. His areas include Jewish mysticism, geekdom, music (some interesting things with voice and people who were students of Pauline Oliveros), and language -- his latest project combines some of these and he's charting his progress on blog at The Book of Voices. There's also a Jewish-Episcopal connection here since one of the people with whom he sings (one of the Oliveros students) is an OHC associate and they and others live in close proximity to the OHC monks in Berkeley.

Again, thank you for the gift of your music! (And your poetry, too.)

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Dear Jane R,
Thanks for referring me to the Book of Voices. Some truly wonderful meditations there.

Anonymous said...

very nice! the samples are very cool, but i would love to hear this with musicians; i can hear in this music things which a musician could make sing.

the technology is great; it lets me hear what the music would sound like since i do not have beethoven's skill at knowing what things would sound like from printed music.

i hope you can find musicians to bring this to reality! this is by far the best thing i've heard of your compositions.

and, did you know that Abelard was quite a musician too? he wrote a number of songs, including a half-dozen "planctus" (laments) which are stunningly beautiful. one is, as it happens, about Dinah.

his hymns are (some of them) still sung today; one is in the Hymnal 1982. anyhow, the Dinah connection made me comment. :)

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Thanks for the comment, Thomas. Having used synths from their very beginning days (piles of patch cords connecting oscillators, filters, and tone generators!) on up to the present, I'd say they are now at about 90%. One could spend a lot more time "tweaking" and get an even higher level of "realism" -- but I'm content on this with the 90% -- plus my imagination! Doing solo instruments, as in this piece, is the biggest challenge for synthesis; larger orchestral ensembles are nearly indistinguishable from the real thing, especially when you take the extra time to do some of those tweaks. But as you know, extra time is not necessarily on my calendar... ;-)

johnieb said...

I hesitate to say much (don't worry; it's really me), both from musical ignorance and the nobler desire to listen more first. Thanks for th gift, and what a wonderful way to share it. You drove me back to the Torah for our sister Dinah's story (fascinating on so many levels)and some wonderful by-ways: the pleasures of God's Word! May its reading always bear fruit, whether it reads us or vice-versa.

Enough tarrying; on to your vocal music.

R said...


I listened to the full work just before my vacation. Great stuff!

Can't shake up a musical ensemble for you, but I would (selfishly) love to get my hands on the score of at least the first two movements at some point. . .might be fun to play a piano transcription of them, if you're game!

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Thanks, Richard. I might be able to generate a piano reduction... will give it a try.