Thursday, August 25, 2011

Vivaldi Recording Day #2

The second day of recording (August 23, 2011) at Glenn Gould Studio.   We recorded #14 C Minor RV 480, #2 A Minor RV 498; #12 A minor RV499 & #6 E minor RV 484 plus the third movement of #27 E flat Major RV 483.
Only 36 hours ago but already a blur
Awakened at dawn after the first day  --- killer headache caused by lack of espresso and not by eight hours of recording Vivaldi concerti.  Once I figured out that the ghastly noise was my alarm and managed to bury the offending device under the duvet (easier than turning it off), I required a trip to local espresso shop to suck on two high-test cappuccinos.  A bright beautiful day and a free morning but not quite enough time to make a new reed.  I really prefer new reeds!  Embouchure feeling a bit swollen after the previous day of recording but not bad.
I picked up David Bowles (engineer/producer) from the hotel and we arrived an hour before the start of the sessions.  I listened to some of the previous day’s takes and we decided to have another go at the last movement of #23 as my first solo jumps weren’t clear --- strange how a passage can suddenly become difficult after being very easy.
This put the sessions a bit behind and we had to record the last movement of the A minor #2 RV498 after the break. My managers, Andrew Kwan and Erin Sparks, showed up for a visit and stayed until we finished the first movement of the E minor #6 RV484.   
Reeds a bit challenged by the 14 hours of playing... I juggled and muttered and kept going.
Our percussionist arrived after the dinner break.  It was my idea to have handbells in the first movement of A minor #12 RV 499 but after 20 bars, both our producer and conductor vetoed my idea.  A tense moment but we all recovered.  I still plan to take him on tour!
We kept going and finished our last concerto two minutes before the overtime button was going to be pushed at the Glenn Gould Studio.
What a team I had!  We recorded all of these pieces with less than one rehearsal apiece, making decisions as fast as we could, trusting each other to invent on the fly.  My support team of three super smart students (Bianca Chambul - note checker; Neil Bishop - librarian and my assistant; Megan Morris - driver and total production assistant) and my recital partner/roommate Guy Few made sure that almost all worry was lifted from my shoulders.  This is the first recording session that I have finished without feeling like I have been in a street brawl.  Everybody else did the heavy lifting.
My producer David Bowles is like a panther, intensely focussed, ready to pounce at a moment’s notice and quick as lightning.  He snarled more than once but also purred a reassuring number of times.. I know he will make something good out of all the takes that we captured.  Our conductor Nic McGegan was generating ideas by the fistful and everyone in the group had input.  We took liberties with the scores but I think that Vivaldi’s improvisatory soul can withstand this kind of interpretation.
Guy whipped up a beautiful wrap party.  At dawn, I grabbed Nicholas and David from the hotel, drove Nic to the Toronto airport for his flight to Cleveland for his concerts with the Cleveland Orchestra  Then David and I continued on to Buffalo to ship all of his gear and fly back to San Francisco.
I celebrated by stopping at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery then driving home.  I am a bit tired today, left hand a bit swollen, embouchure a bit trashed, but I will be playing again tomorrow.  I feel so great even though I am not entirely sure if I nailed it all or not.
OK, this is probably all garble, but I wanted to report before the mists of time close around the memory of the sessions.

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