Both the Rieger Organ from the Great Hall of the Wiener Konzerthaus and the Bösendorfer Imperial Grand Piano truly reflect the impressive sound of Vienna. This is the city’s legacy, transported to the 21st century by the means of technology, passion, and craftsmanship. These keyboard instruments are complemented by the Special Keyboards Collection, including prepared piano, harmonium, and harpsichord.
The new Vienna Imperial virtual grand piano is in a class of its own. The venerable Bösendorfer Imperial 290-755 that the Vienna team hosted at the Silent Stage for two months was equipped with the famed piano manufacturer’s CEUS technology, which allowed for the most precise and by far most extensive piano sample recordings ever conducted in the history of music technology. 1,200 recorded samples per key represent a magnitude of sampling detail that has been unthinkable up to now.
This is truly a first: The Vienna Instruments Collection Vienna Konzerthaus Organ is the first sampled organ recorded in a concert hall, not in a church, thus blending perfectly with orchestral performances. Obviously, it is also the first instrument not recorded at the Silent Stage, and yet it adheres to Vienna’s overall sampling concept since it has been captured in exactly the same space that provides the essential impulse responses for their revolutionary MIR reverberation and mixing engine. That space is the venerable Great Hall of the “Wiener Konzerthaus”, where the famous “Rieger Organ” was installed in 1913.
The 8 GB collection Special Keyboards offers a state-of-the-art approach to capturing exceptional, rare, but also classic sounds that every sound designer or composer should have. Featuring Harpsichord, Harmonium, and Prepared Piano, the Special Keyboards includes the full sets of samples along with the software instrument, featuring the Vienna Instruments engine.
The Harpsichord has a famously bright sound, rich in overtones. Typically a Baroque instrument, the harpsichord has played a minimal role in classical and romantic music. In modern literature, however, it has been rediscovered by a broad range of musicians, and is also used poignantly and effectively in film and TV music. In our own Silent Stage, the following single notes and repetition performances of a two manual harpsichord were recorded: 8’ register solo, 8’ double, and tutti (a combination of two 8’ registers and one 4’ register).
The Prepared Piano is a technique introduced in 1949 by John Cage, where objects like erasers, nails, wire, paper, etc., are inserted between a piano’s strings in certain places, causing them to produce additional tones, harmonics, or percussive sounds. For these recordings, a Bösendorfer grand piano was treated with all kinds of objects as well as with bare hands (e.g., glissandos over the strings) in order to create all-new, experimental, and sometimes scary sounds.