Recording Reports

Canto Ostinato on Sax 8tet

Canto Ostinato is hugely popular in The Netherlands and has been performed in many different ways. There is no fixed length of the piece and there are many legendary performances of over 3 or 4 hours. According to the composer the musicians should decide during the performance how and when to continue a next section. This version on saxophone asked for a more compact performance of ±70 minutes, simply because of the fact it is physical impossible to play such a long time on a saxophone without losing sound quality.

The result is definitely a performance which brings you slowly into different worlds with seemingly repetitions. It is about the journey, there is always drive and pulse and sometimes there is suddenly this beautiful and famous theme.


This is the first time this composition is played by eight saxophones. Different from a traditional quartet this ensemble has the possibilities to extend from chamber music sound to a real orchestral sound. When preparing the recording we looked for a venue with in which we could catch the whole range from intimate chamber music sound to orchestral sound. Because of this and also because of the character of the piece with minimal changing music elements we found a beautiful acoustic place with quite a long natural reverb: The Cunerakerk in Rhenen (Netherlands).

This place has the unique combination of clear direct direct sound with a long reverb. So in my opinion ideal to play with the chamber music sound versus orchestral sound


For the microphone setup we choose as usual a stereo pair supplemented with a center microphone and two surround microphones for the surround version. So for the stereo version I only used the stereo pair. Most critical was to find the right spot (distance and hight) to achieve a perfect balance between direct sound and reflected sound, especially because all 8 saxophones have an equally role in this piece. They might have a solo or might blend in the whole group. A quicker solution is always to add spot microphones but with this general approach you leave the perfect balance completely to the musicians who are capable to do this theirselves. In my opinion this is always the most exciting way to make a recording as impressive as possible.

For the headphone lovers we also made a binaural recording in parallel. This recording technique provides a very exact placement awareness of the musicians on a headphone while the stereo version has a more explicite sound richness on loudspeakers. My advise is to try both. Of course everything recorded in the highest quality: DSD256.

Strongly recommended!

Written by

Tom Peeters

Tom is the founder, producer and recording engineer at Cobra Records with a demonstrated history of working in the music industry. Skilled in Audio Engineering, Record Labels, Audio Recording and Audio Post Production. Tom produced over 400 recordings for many international artists. Many recordings were reviewed internationally very well, several albums were awarded with an important international nomination and in the Netherlands it resulted in several Edison awards.


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