Notes on the new recording: a project diary

It’s been quite a while since my last blog entry.  I suppose I’ve felt that I haven’t had anything of importance to say.  But it has also occurred to me that I probably have a great deal more to share than I give myself credit for.  But now that I’ve begun to take some steps toward my next recording project, I feel that I ought to begin keeping some sort of public record of my progress.

This will be the first of a series of blogs that will journal the progress of this next recording.  In each of the blogs I’ll discuss one facet of the process, focusing on the works that I will record.  As a sort of  pre-production process I’ve decided to video record myself playing each of the compositions that I plan to record.  I’ll include these videos in each blog.

After some discussion with my producer, I’ve decided that my next recording will be a CD of music by composers who have been influenced by the Impressionist movement.  It might be argued that the only true “Impressionist” composer was Claude Debussy, and to the extent that I’ve examined the structure of his music, and his harmonic and melodic language I’d have to say that it is a position that I share.  In fact, I’d go as far as to say that the closest composer to Debussy in any way other than the most superficial may well be Edgard Varese, whose music sounds nothing like Debussy’s!

Nevertheless, there are plenty of composers who owe something of a debt to Debussy, and it is those composers that I’ve decided to record.  My recording will focus on works that are, for the most part, originally for guitar.  The only exception may be a work by Albéniz, which although it was originally for piano has become so closely associated with the guitar that I feel compelled to include it.  It may also be argued that much of the music of Albéniz was composed for the piano with the sound of the guitar in mind. Maybe, maybe not, but at any rate I plan to include Torre Bermeja in the recording.

That Albéniz was influenced by Debussy is never questioned, and although Torre Bermeja is not from his most impressionistic suite, Iberia, predating it by some 15 years, I felt that there are enough elements of the Impressionist esthetic to warrant inclusion.  It was, in fact, written at the same time that Debussy was first beginning to explore his own unique sound.

The transcription of Torre Bermeja that I play is by Miguel Llobet.  This makes is an excellent follow up to my last recording, which was the complete compositions of Miguel Llobet.  I fact, as a child of the same era and a friend to the most important composers who were associated with Impressionism, Llobet’s fingerprints will inevitably be all over this next recording.

So here is a video that I recorded a couple of years ago of the little masterpiece by Albéniz, Torre Bermeja.

Fast Tube by Casper