Saturday, July 24, 2010

July: Recording Chen Yi

Another fantastic day in the recording studio. The biggest project for the last day was Chen Yi's "Spring Dreams" which we have sung all over the world in the last year or so and which now occupies a permanent place in our ongoing repertoire ( like Biebl Ave Maria and Shenandoah) because people like it so much. It's a soundscape evoking the sight and sounds of a beautiful garden which has been has been destroyed in a storm. We recorded a concert version - as it would be heard in concert, that is- and then an enhanced version which will be an even more fascinating soundscape. We recorded a "bug bed" of the insect sounds which are part of the score, and then the multi-talented Ben Johns (our Education Director) came in and did 10 minutes of bird calls.

We do bugs.

Ben does birds.

We eat, we rest, we play. Don and Matt work things out in the booth.

It's a wrap! Until September when we'll do it again. Eric pours some very very good scotch to celebrate. Watch the website for announcements of when you can put these tunes on your playlist. We hope you will!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

July: we're recording your requests

Back at Fantasy Studios for a second day. We've done Lesur, Whitacre, Byrd, Bates, and Cui because you've asked for them. We'll be releasing them as singles for download starting in the fall. As you may have noticed, we have also started releasing live performances - right now you can download "For Thy Soul's Salvation" which we did in June. To record "Stelle" by Mason Bates (part of the cycle "Sirens" which he wrote for us in 2008) we decided to move into the adjacent studio. It doesn't have a resident piano, so Jace and Gregory experimented with getting pitches from the I-Phone. In the end, the electronic piano was moved out of the control booth.

There are short breaks every few hours, and an hour for dinner, calling upon our inner resources to pass the time. We all have hidden talents. One of Adam's is the ability to create the map of the US and all the states from memory. Something about time spent at his grandmother's house as a child. Given the amount of time we spend together, we've all seen this trick before, but Don Fraser, our recording producer, hadn't.

Cui's Magnificat was the longest and most complicated piece of the day - challenging for most everybody, particularly the sopranos - we did that after a lovely dinner of Mediterranean food. Matt and Don came up with a way of achieving balance between the soloists and the choir which is going to sound awesome!!! You'll see.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

July: We're back, and we're recording!

Back from vacation and right into the recording studio (this time Fantasy Studios in Berkeley)
so that by September we will have lots of good things for you to download and buy at the CD table! We're starting recording some of your most requested favorites - today our 'mashup' of
the chant and Palestrina versions of Veni Sponsa Christi and Daniel-Lesur's Epithalame - probably the most complicated piece we're recording, so we did it first.

Our fantasy is that you'll download all our new stuff onto your I-Pods SOON.

Since Fantasy is a recording studio in California, the outside is very pretty. The inside is much like other studios - we're liking the intimacy of the sound stage. The short distance between the stage and the booth make it easy for Matt and recording producer Don Fraser to confer.

How many recordings has Eric made?? We'll ask him. It is obvious that his long experience with long recording sessions has taught him how to relax during the breaks...This is dinner on Day 1.
We'll be back tomorrow and Friday.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

June: While we were in China

Education Director Ben Johns went to the Chorus America annual conference in Atlanta to receive the 2010 Chorus America Education Outreach Award from Mary Lyons. Thanks, Chorus America!

This video was shown to illustrate Chanticleer's commitment to education.

Since next year's annual conference will be in San Francisco, Ben was asked, along with Melanie Smith ( ED of the SF Girls' Chorus) and Vance George ( Music Director Emeritus of the San Francisco Symphony) to do a little patter encouraging people to come here next year. Ben displayed one of his extraordinary skills.