After a long wait of nearly 6 months we are pleased to share with you the results from our first session back since lockdown.
But first, lets wind the clock back all the way until February. We had just completed our first shared orchestra session and were gearing up for our second. Things were in place to go ahead in March, with two composers flying in to Manchester from the USA to work with us. We were extremely excited at the prospect of recording with two international composers and were busy preparing for the session.
Then came Covid-19 and these plans had to be put on hold. With the increased restrictions on large gatherings and social distancing, orchestras are sadly going to be out of the question for some time. We tried everything we could to find a workable solution but unfortunately the physical limitation of our recording venue has restricted us to smaller ensembles. Wanting to remain operational so that we can serve the demands of the composer community, we took the decision to scale things back to smaller ensembles for the time being until orchestra recording can safely resume.
For our first session back, we chose a string quartet.
Location: The Stoller Hall, Manchester
Session Supervisor: Jack Hughes
Music Director: Lewis Meaden
Engineering: Simeon Ogden, John Lancaster
1st Violin – Matthew Chadbond
2nd Violin – Elizabeth Lister
Viola – Natalia Senior-Brown
Cello – Abi Davies
We kicked things off with “Fire Night” a disco inspired track from welsh composer Michael Lewis. This piece was a fun and featured some challenging string runs, which our quartet absolutely nailed.
We then recorded two pieces from composer Mitchell Gibbs, who previously recorded with us back in January. These were stand-alone pieces for string quartet and took things in a more dark and dramatic direction.
Also returning to work with us again was northeast based composer Alexander Proudlock. His piece “Transposed Heads” was inspired by the early string quartets of Dmitri Shostakovich.
Transposed Heads - Alexander Proudlock
After a short break we were joined by film composer Rosetta Bachofner to record her score for the short film Return To Resistance. This film featured some very interesting animation that definitely enhanced the recording experience. Rosetta was plugging in to our session remotely from Bulgaria.
To conclude the day, we had composer Cathryn Davis who joined us remotely from Minnesota USA. Her piece “Sacral Chakra” is one of a series of compositions based on the 7 chakras. This piece had some very beautiful sections, and contained a large amount of musical variation.
It was great to be back working in Stoller Hall again, and they did a fantastic job of guiding us through the added safety restrictions. Everybody definitely appreciated the experience of hearing live music such a superb acoustic space after such a long break.
Inside the tech booth.
None of this would have been possible without the work of our technical team who had the added challenge of coordinating the realtime audio and video feedback for the composers joining us remotely. Providing composers with the means to record from the comfort of their own home is what we are about in terms of breaking down the barriers into orchestral music, so thanks for making everything go smoothly!
We are now in the planning stages of our next round of sessions and will be making more information about these available soon. Contact via the email address below if you would like to learn more.
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