The Empiricist Soundtrack

About the Album:

The CD contains music from the movie The Empiricist, which was made by Phosphorus Alights, a young movie production company. This movie is the company's first feature. The movie tells about a physician in training, Winston, who discovers that conventional medicine has many basic flaws; and about his fiancee, Claire, who discovers what makes up quality relationships. Details about the movie's story, and its preview, can be found on Phosphorus Alights' web site.

The Composer

Loretta Jankowski composed all of the music except for track one. She received her musical training at several schools of music in this country, as well as in England and Poland. Her music has been performed by many orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony and the New Jersey Symphony. Loretta began to collaborate with Phosphorus Alights shortly after its creation.Loretta, American composer

The Soundtrack CD could have consisted of an exact rendition of the music heard during the playing of the movie, which was 44 separate tracks. But it was decided to take  different approach, which is as follows: the entire Mendelssohn piece was recorded, instead of the bits and pieces of his theme that appear in the movie's soundtrack; the same with Winston's Theme; and with Claire's Theme. Then to add variety to the CD, six tracks from the movie's soundtrack were included: Balstrom's Theme, Latter at Night, Valerie's Theme, The Confrontation, Winding Down, and the song that plays at the end of the movie You and Me Together, Forever.

The Recording Technique

Due to the uniqueness of the recording technique, it is warranted to briefly describe it. Typically, when recording many instruments, a microphone is assigned to each instrument (and with some instruments, such as percussion, several microphones can be assigned). As a result, the initial recording consists of many tracks (sometimes over 100), which have to be reduced to the two stereo tracks that appear on the final CD. The reducing of the initial many tracks to the final two is called "mixing the music". It can take hours to place all the mic's during the actual recording session (because in certain locations they can cancel out each other's sounds via a process called "phasing out"); and the mixing process can take a long time (up to several hours for each minute of final song time).

The mic placement technique that is used in recording the music on this CD is not conventional. Two very small (but very high fidelity) microphones -each one's dimensions being about half an inch in diameter and one and one half inches in length- were placed inside a tennis ball; arranged so the angle between them was about 70 degrees, and the recording end of each mic was flush with the surface of the tennis ball. During the recording, the tennis ball is placed at the front edge of the stage (on which the musicians are located) and raised to about ten feet in the air. In this location, the mics pick up the sound coming directly from the musicians, as well as the sound that is bounced off the walls, and the audience, of the auditorium. This location, plus the placement of the mics in the tennis ball (giving it a unique and excellent acoustical environment), provides the listener with the sense she is live in the concert hall.

This technique allows the music to be recorded in a concert hall, with the hall's acoustics, instead of being recorded in a recording studio (which is designed to deaden any sound that does not go directly from the instrument to the microphone). Also, since the initial recording is the two tracks that will be on the final CD (eliminating any mixing requirements), and since the mic placement time (during the recording) is minimal, significant cost savings occur.

The Individual Music Pieces

*(The music was recorded by a group of musicians assembled specifically for recording this CD. Many of these musicians are playing together for the first time. For convenience the group was named "The Empirical Ensemble".)*

Track 1: "Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage" by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. Mendelssohn composed two sea-inspired tone poems/overtures, the first of which is "Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage". This piece was inspired by two poems written by Goethe (a famous German writer and philosopher):Calm Sea (about a becalmed fisherman), and A Prosperous Voyage (subsequent gently stirring winds and waves and the jubilant arrival back at the home port). While Mendelssohn was a teenager, Goethe had received him at Goethe's home at Weimar, and during that visit Goethe had prophesied that Mendelssohn would have a successful career. [12 min., 23 sec].

Tracks 2-6: "Winston's Theme". It consists of a slightly jazzy theme in a contemporary classical music style followed by a set of four variations.
* Winston's Theme [44 sec]
* Variation 1 [45 sec]
* Variation 2 [1 min, 32 sec]
* Variation 3 [1 min, 24 sec]
* Variation 4 [2 min, 54 sec]

Track 7: "Claire's Theme". The character of this music is more lyrical and gentle than the muscular and angular music found in "Winston's Theme". [2 min, 28 sec]

Track 8: "Balstrom's Theme". This music accompanies a scene in which Paul Balstrom reveals to Winston all of Paul's medical problems. It consists of very slow moving chords in the string section along with occasional rolls on a suspended cymbal. [6 min, 16 sec]

Track 9: "Later at Night". This music was derived from the fourth variation of "Winston's Theme". [1 min, 5 sec]

Track 10: "Valerie's Theme". This music is similar in function and style to "Balstrom's Theme", and accompanies Valerie telling Winston and Claire about her poor health. The orchestration is the same as Balstrom's Theme, with the addition of a bassoon. [5 min, 24 sec]

Track 11: "The Confrontation". This music accompanies the scene where Winston and Dr. Hollings (the chief of Winston's internal medicine training program) and Dr. Ed Ross (the NIH researcher) interact and eventually come to verbal blows. The movie sound track for this scene consisted of eight repetitions of a conflictual theme. Here on the CD, three of those cycles are included. [4 min, 16 sec]

Track 12: "Winding Down". This gentle music for violas, cellos and string basses is derived from "Claire's Theme". [1 min, 9 sec]

Track 13: "You and Me Together". This pop style song (danceable beat with lyrics) ends the movie and continues throughout the credits. Loretta composed the music, and Warren Metzler, with consultation from Alison Madsen, wrote the lyrics. The song portrays moving toward higher and better ground in life. [4 min, 1 sec]

About Phosphorus Alights Music

Phosphorus Alights is a young movie production company. During the recording of the soundtrack for the movie, the owners had a strong impression this music deserved its own exposure (separate from being the movie's soundtrack). So it was decided to produce a soundtrack CD. And based on that realization, they decided to form Phosphorus Alights Music: a company that is dedicated to providing excellent music, recorded in a quality manner, distributed is a reasonable and harmonious way (that gives each artist involvement and ownership of the music he composes and records).

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