Mozart Requiem For Orchestra & Electric Guitar
(Thoughts And Realities)


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died in 1791 but not before completing his last work entitled Requiem Mass In D Minor KV 626. That also happens to be the name of an excellent late 2009 CD from Canadian guitarist Warren Robert. An innovator in the realm of heavy rock guitar technique, Robert extrapolates upon Mozart’s final work—a full mass for orchestra—as a motif of sorts for his own guitar prowess. Most classical music fans are quite used to hearing Mozart’s legendary prolific works performed in a classical setting with real strings and things but guitar fans—both classical and rock—who dig this kind of thing, will be in for a real treat with Robert’s instrumental rock approach to Mozart. The 14 track, 50+ minute CD features choruses of wild volume swells and searing guitar lead lines that mark Robert as a guitar player, while the sound is enhanced by Robert’s programmed, synthesized, computerized orchestrations. The sustained harmonic counterpoint of Mozart’s wondrous classical works are in good hands in the rock era thanks to the unique and electrifying rock instrumental guitar sound of Warren Robert. The cover art of Requiem is also quite effective, depicting Robert somber with guitar on the ground, paying homage, ostensibly, at Mozart’s grave site. One of the best hard rock / metal guitar shredders in North America today, Robert can also be appreciated on another of his recent CD releases entitled Music From The Void. An album of Robert originals with assistance of several backing players, Music From The Void summons up a wealth of original, instrumental guitar sounds from the depths of heavy metal and even progressive hard rock lore. www.ThoughtsAndRealities.com


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Musical Background

I started playing guitar when I was seven. I was inspired by hearing both my father and older brother play. I was very lucky to have the chance to learn from a great guitar teacher named Russ Townsend. He introduced me to rock, metal, blues, jazz, celtic, gyspy, finger picking, bluegrass and country and his enthusiasm for learning music rubbed of on me in a big way. I was always very interested in theory, so I worked for several years to complete the Royal Conservatory of Music theory program. This is what gave me a nice foundation upon which I could further my composing and guitar playing.

The most significant part of my development took place during the 8 years as lead guitarist/writer in AVACOST. The group played very experimental progressive rock and released two recordings, the AVACOST e.p. (1989, Independant), and A Peace of the Sky. (1993 Nudibranch Records). After the band stopped playing together in 1995, I took a break from live performance, and focussed on learning and composing new styles. It was during this time that I honed my orchestral writing abilities and began my career as a film and television composer.

In 2004/2005, I recorded and released an album of experimental orchestral guitar instrumentals called Thoughts and Realities. In early 2009, I released my second instrumental album entitled Music From the Void. I played guitar, bass, keyboards, and did all of the orchestral and synth programming. I had three wonderful drummer friends of mine sit in to do a couple of songs each on Music From the Void. I also played drums on a couple of the tunes.

As a film/television composer, I have composed the score to over eighty international documentary programs. I have taken much of what I have learned about writing in this field, and applied it to my guitar music. I enjoy big layered soundscapes and orchestral intensity.

New CD

The new CD is my third solo album, and it is one I have wanted to do since I was 18 and in the thick of my classical music studies. It is a recording of an arrangement of Mozart's Requiem Mass in Dm. The work itself is quite well known. It is the last music Mozart wrote and is extremely heavy and beautiful. It is often performed with soloists, choir and a medium sized orchestra.

For my version, I went to the orchestral setup that I use for my film scoring, and I carefully sequenced in the entire orchestra directly from the score and tweaked the performance to be how I wanted to hear it. The guitars on this recording take on the role of all of the vocal parts in the music. It was my choice to perform them as written, rather than to fill it up with tons of wild technique, sweeps and the like. Besides, that is what my other original records are for. The trick was to give the guitar a vocal feel, and bring out the melodies and counterpoints that Mozart had written.

The guitar parts on this CD were recorded with a minimal setup in my home studio. Basically, just my Ibanez S5470 Prestige, straight into the 18watt plexi tube head that I built. Two microphones, close and room. More reverb added in the mix. The cab I used was an old 4x12 Marshall with celestions. On a couple of tracks, I increased my sustain by using a DOD 250 style distortion pedal that I also built.

Once the tracks were all done, I took it into my friend's recording studio to mix and master.

Favorite Guitars

I have lots of guitars, but my main and favorite ones are my mid ‘90s Fender American Fat Strat Deluxe, my S5470 Prestige and my mid 80's Jackson Soloist Pro. All great axes for recording.

For amps, I record primarily with my homemade 18watt tube amp or my early 80's Richard Onlsow modded Marshall JCM800. Both are sweet sounding amps. I also sometimes record with my 125w Randall head and cab, the Tubeworks 1x12 combo or my vintage Silverface. It all depends of course what style I am playing and what tone I am going for.

I have several commercially available pedals, but most of the tone shaping ones like the TS-9 have been modded to some degree or another. I also have a board of homebrew pedals that I put together and like to call upon for more boutique kind of tones. For strings, nothing out of the ordinary here, just plain old D'Addario 10 gauge. My favorite picks are awesome though. I have recently started using 2mm Agate stone picks. Each one is handmade by Pam at www.fragmentsofthepast.com. Super smooth feel. A tone that reminds me of metal plectra, but they tend to not rip your strings apart like I have seen metal do. They look fantastic too.

Musical Influences

My musical influences are fairly vast. My iPod library ranges from Opeth to Django. I listen to music from many eras and cultures, and for many instruments. There is something magical in all of it. I sometimes joke that I was “trained on Bach, raised on Maiden”. It is pretty much true.

As far as instrumental rock and metal guitar goes, well, I was a teenager in the ‘80s, so it was Maiden, Priest, Fate, Randy Rhodes...then came Yngwie, Satriani and Vai. All of these guys were my motivators. One of my favorites has always been Vinnie Moore. His tone, technique, phrasing and big hair are all most awesome. As for albums, I would have to say that I spent an awful lot of time listening to early Yes albums. That stuff always blew my mind.

Upcoming Plans

I am currently writing new material for another original instrumental record. I am hoping for a release in early 2011. In the meantime, I will be continuing to promote my first three records.

I have recently released two music performance videos. They are heavy on the CGI stuff and are visually thematic to the music. You can find them by searching me on YouTube. The songs are called “Zanshin” and “Somewhere, Something...”

Web Site

My website is www.thoughtsandrealities.com
My email is warren@thoughtsandrealities.com


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