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Ondes Martenot Sextet
Old 14th November 2009
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Ondes Martenot Sextet

Your electronic music education is not complete until you have heard an Ondes Martenot sextet.

Many years ago, I acquired the LP "Music for Ondes Martenot" from the Musical Heritage Society (MHS-821) in the USA. The setpiece of this LP was "Fete des Belles Eaux," a composition for six Ondes Martenot, by Olivier Messiaen. For the past few decades, this LP has been a prized possession, and was virtually irreplaceable. I have digitized it, and
cleaned up the clicks and pops, and converted it to CD.

For this composition, there is no classical instrument accompaniment to bind the composition to any point in time.

Now, there is a more contemporary performance available on ATMA Classique (ACD2 2621), from Canada. While I prefer the performance of the older older one somewhat, the production in which each of the six instruments are more individually defined, and the metallic screeches
more forward, the newer performance benefits from improved fidelity, and the different performance is refreshing.

If you have not heard Fete des Belles Eaux before, I am certain that you have not heard anythying like it. Check it out.
Old 14th November 2009
  #2
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
You, my friend, are spot on! Are you going to post a copy of the song so we all can share the experience?

In the meanwhile, I will share somebody else's rendition of the song using the Haken Continuum and a Buchla. I think this rendition is quite beautiful and surprisingly close to the original!



Quote:
Originally Posted by kmmcdonald ➑️
Your electronic music education is not complete until you have heard an Ondes Martenot sextet.

Many years ago, I acquired the LP "Music for Ondes Martenot" from the Musical Heritage Society (MHS-821) in the USA. The setpiece of this LP was "Fete des Belles Eaux," a composition for six Ondes Martenot, by Olivier Messiaen. For the past few decades, this LP has been a prized possession, and was virtually irreplaceable. I have digitized it, and
cleaned up the clicks and pops, and converted it to CD.

For this composition, there is no classical instrument accompaniment to bind the composition to any point in time.

Now, there is a more contemporary performance available on ATMA Classique (ACD2 2621), from Canada. While I prefer the performance of the older older one somewhat, the production in which each of the six instruments are more individually defined, and the metallic screeches
more forward, the newer performance benefits from improved fidelity, and the different performance is refreshing.

If you have not heard Fete des Belles Eaux before, I am certain that you have not heard anythying like it. Check it out.
Old 14th November 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
The performance you posted was excellent. I'm going to check out the Haken Continuum, which I have never heard of before.

As you are probably aware, this is one movement from an entire composition that is about 40 minutes in length.

I'll see what I can do about posting some excerpts.

Keith
Old 14th November 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Yes, I am. I have a collection of Messaien work, but it sadly does not contain this and so all I have heard is Oraison. I first heard it on "OHM: Early Gurus of Electronic Music". From that moment on I was devoted to learning more about the Ondes Martenot.

I found a performance book for the Ondes Martenot in the San Francisco Library that gives a brief technical explanation of the machine, but after a bit of searching without illumination, I gave up. It's been 6 months since I have listened to Oraison and it hasn't lost it's luster!
Quote:
Originally Posted by kmmcdonald ➑️
The performance you posted was excellent. I'm going to check out the Haken Continuum, which I have never heard of before.

As you are probably aware, this is one movement from an entire composition that is about 40 minutes in length.

I'll see what I can do about posting some excerpts.

Keith
Old 14th November 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Attached is "Feu D'artifice Final," which is the last movement of Fete des Belles Eaux for Ondes Martenot Sextet. This is from the old MHS LP, with some LP noise cleaned up.

Note that the recent recording (the ATMA CD) is available from Amazon.com.

Keith
Attached Files

feu_d'artifice_final.mp3 (4.94 MB, 250 views)

Old 15th November 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Beermaster's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Probably the most famous ondes martenot must be Messiaen's 'Turangalila-Symponie' bloody wonderful piece.

Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead owns an Ondes Martinot but it's Analogue Systems that developed the 'French Connection' CV controller for the band and this 'variation' on the 'Ondes Martenot' that was used by the band on their records and tours. - check out the amazing string like synths in 'Pyramid song' from 'Amnesiac' - All produced using the French Connection and analogue synths.
Old 15th November 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beermaster ➑️
Probably the most famous ondes martenot must be Messiaen's 'Turangalila-Symponie' bloody wonderful piece.

Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead owns an Ondes Martinot but it's Analogue Systems that developed the 'French Connection' CV controller for the band and this 'variation' on the 'Ondes Martenot' that was used by the band on their records and tours. - check out the amazing string like synths in 'Pyramid song' from 'Amnesiac' - All produced using the French Connection and analogue synths.
Yes, the Turangalila Symphony the by far most famous classical work to feature the Ondes, it's a full symphonic score with a prominent Ondes part. Perhaps the greatest virtuoso, Jeanne Loriod, was Messian's sister in law and was often accompanied by his wife, her sister, on piano.

Interestingly a lot of people have heard a real one in soundtracks and not identified it. The main theme in Maurice Jarre's Oscar winning "A Passage to India" was played on it and it can be heard in "Lawrence of Arabia" too. Elmer Bernstein used it as one might expect in his "Ghostbusters" score where most would by default think it's Theremin, but he also used in in unexpected prominent roles in say "The Field" a film set in Ireland starring Richard Harris. Toru Takemitsu's only Hollywood score, "Rising Sun" set in L.A. had a good amount.

I'd call the Analogue Systems French Connection "inspired by", it's too different in too many ways in my book to call it a 'variation'.

One of the Haken Continuum's major breaktroughs is polyphony. The original Ondes was mono.
Old 15th November 2009
  #8
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
FYI:

Jeanne Loriod is the main performer in the selection that I have posted above.

Also, note the unusual audio envelopes in some of the notes, which "snap" at the end of the note.

Keith
Old 15th November 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I have seen Mme Loriod in the presence of Messiaen playing Turangalila Symphony in the concertgebouw in amsterdam. Ir was the most exciting performance ever seen. (Percussionists were out of breath and had red faces!) The sound blends very well with the orchestra.
Old 16th November 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Nrt
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I always wish someone would make plugin version of Ondes Martenot. Probably it's impossible to be controlled by Midi Keyboard.
Old 16th November 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nrt ➑️
I always wish someone would make plugin version of Ondes Martenot. Probably it's impossible to be controlled by Midi Keyboard.
You will have trouble with the ring controller let alone the left to right moving keyboard action for manual vibrato

As I understand it, the wave output is more or less a sine wave, though what you hear when it's recorded are some unique speakers that I'm sure are a good deal harder to simulate. There are a bunch of tone buttons. Some of them I think pipe the sound out the multiple and quite eccentric speakers, but I've not run into a good explanation of what the tone controls are doing exactly. So I'd sum things up to having a very unique control of a very simple but masterfully comtrolled electronic sound going out unique speakers.
Old 16th November 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Nrt

Then the touch strip would have to be (re) introduced. Probably it has been left out for a sample cannot be transposed by glissando (pitch bend)
However since algorhytms got a lot smarter and anything (including dodgy speakers and irregular circuitry) that should not be a problem.
Roland will never make it, they only work for Tom Dick and Harry.
So it is slightly an issue because softwarewriters would have to work with keyboard makers. (Unless a smart guy would make a 'USB pitch strip')
Old 16th November 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Beermaster's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by itisnick ➑️

I'd call the Analogue Systems French Connection "inspired by", it's too different in too many ways in my book to call it a 'variation'.
.
The 'French Connection' is the only instrument I know of on the market that has the 'traveller' wire system for portamento, vibrato and any form of glide as well as the 'Expression' button used to control say volume. The best thing about eh FC is that all of these function work directly to standard volt per octave to any Gate CV synth can be rigged up to it and perform the faultless sweeps and curves that only voltage control synthesis can carry off.

The FC has all the performance control spec of the Ondes Martenot - but no internal sounds so its up to you what you hook up to it.
Old 18th November 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
matyas's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I've been an Ondes Martenot fanatic since I discovered Messiaen as a teenager nearly 20 years ago. In fact, I got into Radiohead originally because I found out they were using the Ondes Martenot (not the other way around!) As a composer, I've always wanted to write for it, and I've always wanted to play one as well, but they're so rare. Maybe a French Connection or something someday....
What a great instrument!
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