The project was a real success. We recorded in the Glenn Gould Studio, a small concert hall in the CBC broadcast centre that is outfitted as probably the finest studio for recording classical music in Canada. We recorded two pieces, Dark Dream, which I just completed a couple of months ago, and Chase, composed three years ago. I flew into Toronto last Wednesday, getting in at 1:30 in the morning. At noon the next day I had a rehearsal with Val which was our first run-through of the piece. As she is a highly accomplished chamber music musician it went very smoothly and we largely worked out the ensemble problems. The next day I attended the rehearsal of Val with pianist Todd Yaniw for the much shorter piece, Chase. That went quite well, though I was not impressed with the beat up piano at the Conservatory. Saturday Val and I had another rehearsal of Dark Dream and Sunday we recorded both pieces at the CBC. Total rehearsal time Dark Dream: 3 1/2 hours and Chase, 1 1/2 hours. Total recording time: Dark Dream, 2 hours and Chase 1 1/2 hours. Dark Dream turned out to be about 14 minutes long and Chase about 4 minutes. I expected Dark Dream to come in at ten minutes as that is how it was originally planned. However, I rewrote the piece three or four times so it just grew!
Here is a look at the Glenn Gould Studio, named after perhaps Canada's most famous classical musician, pianist Glenn Gould who was pretty much resident in the CBC building for much of his career:
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Inside the control room:
Our recording crew, Paul, technical assistant from the CBC, Pouya Hamidi, our recording engineer, and pianist Todd Yaniw. I believe that Pouya is performing a traditional invocation of the gods of recording for a successful session.
Myself, Pouya and violinist Valerie Li, getting ready to do a take:
I will have more about the actual recording in future posts.
While the recording itself went very well, there were a few unexpected challenges. As I said in a previous post, I completely forgot my charging cables for my iPhone, my Chromebook and my Kindle. They were all charged up when I left so it was not a complete disaster. In fact, the Kindle lasted the whole trip. Val had a spare iPhone charger, so that helped. But the Chromebook only lasted the whole time due to stringent rationing! I was going to do a lot more blog posting and maybe watch a few shows on Netflix, but had to keep the usage to an hour or two a day. It turned out that the Chromebook, advertised as having up to 12 hours of battery time, actually delivered about that much. However, taking an Uber to the Royal Conservatory for a rehearsal, my iPhone slipped out of my jacket pocket in the back of the cab. It took several days of phone calls and a significant tip to get the phone back. Luckily, I did! But my recommendation is to NEVER leave anything in an Uber.
On the plus side, I discovered a really good sushi restaurant near my hotel.