*** UPDATE (Nov 3, 2016)***
Now available, Virtual Playing Orchestra (free) which expands upon Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra with more articulations and updated instruments using newly available samples.
Released in January of 2011 by Mattias Westlund. At the time of this post, this is still widely considered to be the best and most complete free collection of virtual orchestral instruments. The Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra (or SSO) contains both solo samples and multiple section articulations for woodwinds, strings, brass as well as a good selection of percussion instruments including cymbals, cymbal rolls, timpani and snare drum (both including rolls) glockenspiel, as well as the expected percussion toys (wood block, triangle, tambourine and more)
Visit the Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra web site.
To hear how it sounds, listen to how I used it in the song Playing With Autumn Leaves
Later Additions from the author
In November of 2012, Mattias Westlund released a few additions to the orchestra which you can find here: Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra extras. Most useful to me was the staccato violas addition.
Marcato and Keyswitch patches for Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra
Linked below are my marcato and key switch patches in .sfz format. No new .wav files are needed. Unzip this in your Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra directory with the rest of your .sfz files and that’s it.
(*** I’ve since realized that the samples are not actually marcato, but are still useful as an articulation between slow sustain and fast staccato)
The key switches don’t seem to work with Cakewalk’s SFZ player but they work fine with the sforzando SFZ player which is better because it’s less processor intensive, is still free and is under active development.
My “marcato” and key switch additions cover the following instruments:
Trumpets, French Horns, Trombones, Tuba, 1st Violins, 2nd Violins, Violas, Celli, Basses, Flutes
NOTE: the Violas “Marcato” patch will only work if you also download the Viola staccato patch from the Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra Extras link above.
Documentation for which key selects which articulation can be found in each of the key switch .sfz files and it’s very easy to change the keys if you wish.