RECORDING … Monarca Disc 1
Tuesday 22 January
Dear all, I didn’t post anything last night because I was just too exhausted to do anything but slurp the lentil soup I’d made on Sunday, after arriving in the DF –Mexico City- on Saturday. I left here around 12:30pm and arrived back a few minutes before midnight. It was PianoDelivery day … and of course everything was discombobulated.
The piano, scheduled to arrive around 1pm, didn’t get to Roberto’s studio until FIVE PM. Then miracle piano technician A**C** spent two hours tuning. And then he spent three hours voicing the hammers, because both he and I felt the sound was too brilliant. And then of course I played for a while, because I couldn’t resist. Once we’d finished the voicing the piano just sounded and felt so MAGNIFICENT that I couldn’t resist. My test pieces were Barker’s La Malinche and Berg’s El sueño … el vuelo; and Scubert’s 2nd Impromptu Opus 90. All of these pieces demand the utmost subtlety and delicacy, and in certain moments enormous power and depth of sound. The entire instrument must speak and sing and whisper and moan. So I didn’t get out of there until a bit after 11pm.
Plus this, which is REALLY IMPORTANT and which I didn’t realize until this morning, coming out of the fog … this work of voicing hammers is something for which no mechanical substitute will ever be found. It is a joint effort between technician and pianist: a miracle of ears, touch, and intense concentration on the part of both. That is how it was yesterday. So Schubert and Barker, late at night, were partly a thank-you to this amazingly gifted –and already highly trained, he’s been to the Yamaha School in Japan three times— young Mexican piano technician, so humble and sweet of temperament, so rigorous in his work.
This has to be quick because already it is late … so I am writing in English because I figure most of my Spanish-speaking friends and fans are OK with reading English, whereas not all of my English-speaking friends and fans are Spanish-enabled, at least not fully ;=)) I usually manage to blog bilingually but right now time is a little of the essence. Lentil soup and REST.
This piano is WONDERFUL, especially after the work that miracle piano technician A**C** did on it. All the response, all the power, all the delicacy, all the WARMTH that I want. Let it be said: I do not seek a piano with some cold, exact, “perfect”, “contemporary music” sound. Let it be said: YUCKO!!
No. I want a piano with the transparency and sensuality of Debussy, with the woody tactile sound of a fortepiano, with the desolation and delight of Schubert, with the vocal quality of CPE Bach … because the music I am recording on this first Monarca disc demands all of those qualities. Those of you, dear Friends and Fans, who have experienced some of this music up close and live know of what I speak. So pianistically speaking, I am IN HEAVEN.
Oh, I have dreams … of a Yamaha C5 permanently in Roberto’s lovely homey studio in beautiful Coyoacán, of colleagues flying down from the US to record here … more of that later.
For now, here (below) are photos of the Piano Arriving yesterday and of A**C** working on it. Please take a minute to appreciate that some fifty of you, in the US and in México, made this PianoMove possible, through the Power of One, of Ten, of Twenty!!!
And the Laquijote Recording Team is reunited! Kenji Calderón Miyamoto, who was 2nd Engineer for SOLO RUMORES and mere months later went to the Steinhardt School at NYU to do his Master’s as – GET THIS! a Fulbright-García Robles Scholar México-US – I am SO PROUD … is back here and in the studio with me. And my dear Roberto de Elías, miracle-engineer. (Pix tomorrow, it’s already 1am). Would I ever record with anyone else? Not likely. He is so profoundly simpatico, so caring, with a pair of ears that defy description. He keeps learning, he’s just invented another miking for the piano, he started out as a musician and thus reads music; I could go on. He pioneered this approach to training recording engineers in México and Colombia and in fact Kenji is one of his students. Fat lot of thanks he’s got for it: old prejudices die hard but perhaps, just perhaps this is changing now. Hard for the Old Guard to accept that good audio engineering can be an academic discipline, that the recording engineer is more than a glorified member of the Tech Staff. I hope the Winds of Change are blowing here …
Today’s update is that A**C** came again, for a couple of hours, to check the unison tuning … and then ¡¡WE RECORDED!! Marcela Rodríguez and Carlos Cruz de Castro. Might want to do a second take of the first fast part of Cruz de Castro tomorrow … will have to see. Ears too tired tonight to make a good judgement.
OK, here are the pix ...
Tomorrow, Fortner and Uribe.
Great huge hugs to all of you, dear Friends and Fans!!!