Orchestral Recording: Alan Parsons records The Sorcerer’s Apprentice


Regular Price $69 2024 Summer Sale Price $39.99

Video / Session 1

* Introduction / clips of rhythm section tracking session
* Approaches to Orchestral Recording
* Background to the recording of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
* Miking

Video / Session 2

* Detailed miking of the orchestra
* Rehearsals and balance
* Recording

Video / Session 3

* Mixing on session day
* Recording Peter CottonTale's Way Up High
* Tom Brooks' analysis
* Bonus interview with Jim Stern on the blend of mics used on the final miix

In 1797 Goethe wrote a poem called "Der Zauberlehrling“ about a sorcerer’s apprentice who, tired of doing household chores, used his powers to get the the brooms and buckets of water to do the job for him; on their own. A hundred years later French composer Paul Dukas put the story to music in The Sorcerer's Apprentice. In 1940, this destined-for-Disney concept was used by The Walt Disney Company in their groundbreaking film Fantasia. In 2018, Alan Parsons recorded a classic ‘prog rock’ version that appeared on his album The Secret. This fly-on-the-wall video is a record of the orchestral recording session, which took place at Hybrid Studios in Orange Country. Grammy-winning arranger Tom Brooks wrote the orchestrations.

The day before the orchestral session, an illustrious gathering of session players including Vinnie Colaiuta (drums), Nathan East (bass) and Jeff Kollman (guitar), supported by Brooks on keys, recorded the rock rhythm section.

This video concerns itself purely with the ins and outs of orchestral recording but including an overdub session that took place on ‘Day 1’ featuring the internationally renown ‘cellist, Michael Fitzpatrick.

The video opens with Tom Brooks explaining both his and Alan's philosophy and practicalities of the arrangement in preparation for an orchestral session.

The orchestral session takes place in Hybrid Studios' roomy sound stage. You’ll see the thinking behind the seating and miking of the orchestra (37 mics were used in total). In addition to the close miking, a "Decca Tree" configuration over the conductor's podium was employed, along with a Sennheiser AMBIO VR mic with its four KE 14 capsules for capturing 360 degree audio via four discrete tracks. Ambisonics specialist Jim Stern brought the Sennheiser along and you’ll see him explaining the technology. As a bonus section at the end of Part 3, Stern reveals exactly which miking techniques got used on the track's final mix at ParSonics Studios a few months after this session.

Dukas' composition and Brooks' arrangement thereof represent some seriously challenging playing but Brooks' exuberant conducting style energizes the 45 piece orchestra who produced a finished recording that is both technically and tonally excellent.

Once The Sorcerer's Apprentice was in the bag, the recording session is given over to Brooks’ orchestral arrangement of a cut from Chance The Rapper's Peter CottonTale. With its minimalist 808 beat and ghost vocals, the contrast could not have been greater with what had gone before.

After the orchestra leaves, you’ll see Alan rattling off an impressive mix of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which is duly uploaded to LANDR for a 'progress master. '

This six hour + Master Class Video is a rare opportunity to see how orchestral arrangements, players, and sensibilities fuse with rock and rap. From general approaches to specific miking techniques (individual pairs of instruments, Decca Tree, Ambisonic) to balancing an orchestra to balancing an orchestra alongside a fearsome rock rhythm section, to the employment of MIDI, the video gives you inside knowledge to what is often ‘mysterious’ if not a closely guarded secret.

Alan Parsons' The Sorcerer’s Apprentice appears on The Secret (2019, Frontiers) and additionally featured the ukulele talents of Jake Shimabukuro and virtuoso guitar of Steve Hackett.

Producer: Alan Parsons
Engineer: Alan Parsons / Noah Bruskin
ProTools: Noah Bruskin
Orchestration: Tom Brooks
‘Cello soloist: Michael Fitzpatrick

Price: $39.99
6 Hours