This season is bringing with it a most amazing opportunity to record some of my more challenging pieces with live musicians. I have always said that I would rather hear my work done by even mediocre live players than by a computer. To be fair, of course I want to present my work accurately, too. 😉 But there’s something raw, visceral, and alivethat human players bring to the mix that a computer just cannot equal.
A couple Saturdays ago, I and four of my talented friends got together in a gorgeous, echoey church sanctuary to record the live performance of my “tarot quintet,” The Oracle.
It was a most wonderful session! There’s something about the colors and nuances of each unique instrument in the player’s hands, when it melds and mixes and (sometimes) clashes with the others, that just can’t be duplicated by a computer.
A central lesson of acoustics is that, the more instruments you have, the less the lack-of-human-nuance is noticeable in digital playback. Take my “Madrigal, for Orchestra,” for example. This recording was made with my own digital playback, with the few solo lines in the middle and at the end recorded live by myself. When a piece is written for full orchestra, the individual player’s nuance disappears into the mass of sound. So a computer can recreate this wash of sound better than it can for any kind of a chamber group, where there is only one player per part. With chamber music, everything is so open and exposed that our ears can tell when it’s not a live player on the recording.
And, wouldn’t you know it, my most favorite forces to write for are various chamber groups!! Good thing I have wonderful friends I can call upon to play my music! 🙂
Coming up next in this adventure toward a new Summer 2017 album is the April recording of my neo-Romantic work, “Of Roses and Lilies.” It calls for full string orchestra, soprano recorder, english horn, piano, small women’s choir, and soprano soloist. It’s pretty epic–it’ll be so wonderful to have an official recording of this work done! Then in May, we’ll record three final chamber works…
Lots to look forward to! Whenever you get the chance to support live musicians, please consider doing so. We do what we do because we couldn’t imagine not making music. 😉