Maestro Zubin Mehta endorses and participates in a NewYorkBrass production
Zubin Mehta recently endorsed and collaborated on a really cool interactive classical music children’s book, which is in the final stages of production and QA and will be available in stores across the globe starting in July.
About a year ago we have been approached to help arrange music for an interactive classical music children’s book, by Amit Sopher of Classikids.com, who produces interactive books for children. Amit developed a very interesting electronic platform that plays 10 minutes of high quality mp3 on a surprisingly good speaker.
To kick off the project, I contacted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s personnel manager – Mr. Stewart Taylor. Mr. Taylor is my teacher, mentor, and close friend, and was played principal trombone for many years. He suggested talking to another friend – Mr. Yaacov Mishori. Mishori, now retired, served as principal horn player of the IPO, as IPO spokesman and was a member of the management. Mishori has written other books and today teaches at the Buchmann-Mehta High School and presents a weekly radio program.
Mr. Mishori helped us select 11 short pieces that would represent classical music and open this musical world to them. We then set out to work. We produced the songs in MIDI with live sweetening. In addition the songs were mixed to have the best possible sound coming from the afore mentioned 1″ speaker. The other constraint was time: Some music needed to be shortened, and sped up to fit both the time frame of chip, and the attention span of little children…
Copying music off a CD was not an option for several reasons among them: copyright problems, tempo problems, beginning and ending, overall consistent sound and other reasons. The size of the speaker did not warrant hiring a full orchestra, so we decided to try working with MIDI and sweetening it with live music.
After some work we completed the music, here are a few samples:
Excerpt from Tchaikovsky’s Swan-Lake:
This rendition of and excerpt from Tchaikovsky’s Swan-Lake features live brass (trumpets, french horns, trombone, tuba) and a sweetened midi violin performed by our dear friend Ms. Cenovia Cummings. Not bad for MIDI!
Medely from George Bizet’s – Carmen Variations
Cenovia is featured playing a wonderful solo, and again brass is live. Also sweetening of the whole string track was done. Note that the tempo is faster than the usual relaxed tempo, which makes it hard to play musically. Cenovia easily rises up to this challenge.
Mr. Mishori then contacted the legendary Maestro Mubin Mehta (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zubin_Mehta). Maestro Mehta reacted enthusiastically and has endorsed a project. He also decided to put his own efforts into this by allowing us to use several live recordings of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Some excerpts include Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” and Mozart’s symphony no_40. Lets just say there are certain things that MIDI can’t beat… He also decided to purchase a large number of books in order to give them as educational gifts, and distribute them to schools.
What started as a small project ended up very high profile… I wonder what will be up next for this book. If you are reading this and you are a book distributor, feel free to contact us with ideas!
Here are a few photos: