Monday, June 3, 2013

New Recordings

Yesterday afternoon I recorded my Suite No. 1 for guitar that was written in 2011. Next up is the Suite No. 2, written in 2012. After that, there won't be any new guitar music for a while as I concentrate on pieces for orchestra and string quartet.

I haven't done any recording for a while. How long? Well, when I told my friend that was at the session she just said, "shame on you!" so yes, it's been a while. Here is a photo taken during the session:

Click to enlarge

Yep, all the cool kids use iMacs to record.

At least half of the recording sessions I have done over the years have been in rooms that I thought were really unsuitable. The great majority of recording studios are set up to record pop music, which means they are small and acoustically dead. For a classical guitarist, or classical musicians generally, that is a horrible space to record in. What you want is a nice, resonant space so you don't have to use fake, electronic reverb afterwards. Churches and chapels are ideal, which is why, for example, all the Naxos guitar recordings are done in a church in Toronto.

Recently I ran across a house that had a really good space for recording. The house is empty and has a really big living room with a high vaulted brick ceiling. I took my guitar in to check it out and the sound was great. The guitar sounded twice as big as usual! So for this session, I arranged to have access to the house on a Sunday afternoon.

As I said, I haven't recorded for a while, but I certainly haven't forgotten how. My Suite No. 1 for guitar has five movements and we got them down in less than an hour. Three of the movements I did in one take and the other two took a couple of takes. The secret, as always, is careful preparation. I've been playing the suite nearly every day for the last couple of months with lots of slow practice and it came together pretty well.

Next weekend we are going to edit the takes together so the week after should see some new Quicktime movies of the movements. I am fairly happy with the suite. The movements are both melodic and harmonious, meaning that they are a new perspective on traditional ways of writing music. The suite was written to be enjoyed! There is one movement, called "Chant" that I think is quite original. It is influenced by both Gregorian chant and Chopin and my engineer said the guitar sounded remarkably like a cello in the session.

So, keep an eye out for those pieces next week.

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