Saturday, July 18, 2009

Editing the holidays

There are two good reasons that it's been eleven days since I've last posted.

The biggest reason is that we've spent the better part of the last week moving into our new house, and getting used to our new surroundings. In brief, we love the house, and the neighbourhood. There are still a few rooms that need attention, but for the most part, we are now very much in livable conditions, and the cats seem to be adjusting to the change. The second reason I've been so blog quiet is that we are on Holidays! So when we aren't unpacking boxes, we are playing golf. Edmonton's weather is such that if you don't enjoy the Summer when it is here - it will pass you by.

I'm not taking a complete holiday this Summer, as I have about a half-dozen weddings to play, and I'm subbing in as organist at the Cathedral for the next three weekends as well. I will, however, take two Sundays off in August.

My other departure from my holidays began last night, with the start of the final editing process of Da Camera's CD project, which we recorded live in concert, and followed up with two recording sessions last March, and is set to be released in mid-September, at the start of our season.

I've been away from this recording now for about three months, and it was a refreshing exercise last night to bring out the first draft of the CD for a critical listen. I do think it is going to be a fine product when it is completed. A few of the problems that I remember from three months ago are indeed still there, but I think in general there are fewer places that need attention than I remember.

I'm trying to decide if that is a good thing or not.

I think the danger in doing your edits so close after the recording session is being so focused on minute details, which in the long run probably aren't as noticeable as you think they are, that you sacrifice the balance of accuracy with the excitement of sound. After all, this is being billed as a live recording, so the acceptance of the odd misplaced consonant, or cough from the audience could be let slipped if the take has the adrenaline of a live performance, which is hard to get in a stale recording session environment. This is, at least, what I noticed last night. There are many fine things in this recording - energy and presence that I think are lacking in many studio-type recordings that I've done.

As an artistic director, working on a recording is probably one of the most excruciating processes around. We are our own worst critics, and this is most noticeable to me in the editing room. I tend not to listen to my own live concert recordings, except when necessary for job applications, grant applications and etc. I like to live with notion that the concert was as good as my audience's reaction. If I listen to the recording, I quickly become critical of the concert and lose the emotional high that I had immediately following the event. Is this a healthy process? I suppose it is one of the only ways we can improve, so it is a necessary evil indeed.

Well, that's what I'm up to this week. What musical projects are you involved in this Summer?

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