Now that my wife and I have completed our various respective Messiah performances, including one that we did together, I have taken it upon myself to make her a more legible part from Dorico for one production that she does yearly, and for which the cello part has become too small and difficult to read (both our eyesight are definitely undergoing some transformations!). The idea of using Dorico is, at face value, a real winner, because she can then have an annotated part for any version of it with any set of cuts since flows makes that possible and easy. Also, I can work it in a way that layouts have breaks at proper places so she can spread up to four folding pages when necessary, which is often, as most cellists who do Messiah know, especially if they do it with a single cellist, which is the case for that particular production.
I have finished the part, largely through scanning, exporting to xml, importing the xml in Dorico, cutting and pasting into flows, and editing. As easy as it seems, Dorico does slow down substantially as the number of flows and measures increases. At over 3,000 measures and 60 odd flows, that single cello parts now edits VERY slowly. Simple commands, such as adding a single note, can take four seconds to complete. This is unfortunate since – as I was doing this work – I thought I should perhaps go a little further and make my own performing edition of the whole set, since I will be conducting it with a period ensemble group for the first time next December and I wouldn’t mind a set of parts with my own markings, ornaments etc … I’m going to try, but the program’s speed on such a large project is bound to make it much more difficult than it should (I’ll be too busy until the summer anyway).
I am bringing this to everyone’s attention because the concept of flows is one of incredible elegance and has so much potential. However, it would be a shame not to use it optimally because of performance issues. I am not a Finale user, but I do realize that Sibelius gets rather annoyed with very long projects as well, but since it doesn’t use flows, it tends to force us to use separate files for separate sections anyway. So while I’m not surprised at Dorico’s sluggishness in such circumstances, I do want to point it out since the concept of flows – in theory – should allow us to write a very large score without difficulty in order to truly fulfill the potential of this software.
Having said that, since I am the type of used that is in the middle of the “features’ Bell curve”, I find myself writing in Dorico far more frequently (in fact, almost exclusively) than I thought I would by now.