To try and keep myself in shape (and not too depressed about the possible cancellation of concerts for the rest of the year... or two...), I've started to do home recordings of various bits of Baroque repertoire (and possibly Classical repertoire soon...) that can be done with Violin, Viola, "cello" (a digitally altered Viola) or Viola dámore. That range of instruments makes it possible to record most string repertoire... without the harmonic component of a harpsichord or lute/theorbo. However, it is still something that can still engage me and keeps me playing for a reason...
Over the last two days, I tried my hand at a trio sonata... so, it is a slightly trickier concept than the Corelli Violin sonata movement that I did the other day... introducing an extra part does mean that there needs to be extra care taken in fitting the parts together... I had tried to do it in a single take for each part, but I found that due to some tempo changes (the Adagio at the end) and also certain sections where a part would just be holding and developing a long note (which is hard to do without hearing the other parts...), I had to do it in stages.... which is a bit of a poop, as that really isn't the sort of thing that lies naturally with my own instinct...
I had to record the bass line first (always a good foundation to begin with...), and as before, it was on Viola and was digitally altered to transpose an octave down to sound like a 'cello. It's always a bit tricky remembering how the bass line needs to fit in direction and intent with the parts that are not being played... however, mostly, it is quite intuitive... I guess that is the sort of thing that comes with decades of music experience! Likewise, the parts that I need to give space without knowing exactly how much space is required... that said, music has a certain flow and grammar to it... much like speech, so if things are done in ta way that makes rhetorical sense... you do know how to predict the timings! That said, I did find that it was impossible to properly time the tempo change at the end (the Adagio in the last two bars) as the character change would be set by the first violin... So, in the end... I just stopped the recording at that point to be added in later when the first violin was present in the mix.
Next up, was the 1st Violin part... that was quite easy. Pretty much everything was laid out properly by the motion of the walking bass line of the "cello".... and I was able to set the character of the final Adagio... which meant that I could go back and record the last two bars of the "cello" part and splice that in.
Lastly, the 2nd violin part was added and recorded in the evening with the help of my two recording assistants (my two daughters...) who did the button pressing and any running around required! Obviously with a 3 and 8 year old "helping"... it took quite a bit longer to finish this last part... the toddler kept starting to sing along with me! Then the older one would have giggling fits... still, it was fun to do it all together! I had time, and no pressing time restrictions... so, I had the capacity and patience to just keep doing it over and over!
So, this is the final result... it is a piece that I am quite familiar with, as it is a standard part of one of my ensemble's repertoire programme. It was also one of the pieces that my wife and I had during the signing at our wedding! The ensemble of the recording is not perfect... there are moments when it isn't quite as I would like... however, I'm not so much of a audio cheater to slice and dice until it is perfect... that for me isn't music!
I miss playing with other musicians... however, in this period... this will have to be the way it happens!
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