Archive | Kevin’s Blog

And We’re in Planning Mode 2019 –

As we move toward the release of new recordings in 2019, following up on our release of the amazingly successful and critically well-received album, The Orchestral Music of Nan Schwartz released on Divine Art (dda 25165) earlier this year – and which is currently placed in three separate categories for the 61st Grammy Award nominations – I have been researching how we carry out the planning, collaborative execution, and post-recording editing of records that we want to complete going forward whether with the Australian Discovery Orchestra or with other orchestras in Europe.

As part of this work, I have come across the work of Dr. Amy Blier-Carruthers from the Royal Academy of Music in the UK.  This video presentation (ca. 30 minutes in duration) from a conference held at IRCAM in 2015 is quite informative.  It’s rare to see complete conference presentations online available for free (without the rigmarole of signing up/signing in).


Dr. Blier-Carruthers attempts to unravel the dichotomy between perfection in performance (however this is defined) we strive for in recording sessions and the inevitable compromise that can ensue in loss of music-making in the pursuit of those idealogies around perfection. It’s courageous on all levels to pursue this because the commercial imperatives of releasing recordings that are not otherwise “perfect” in all respects is, in my view, currently insurmountable.
Nan_Schwartz_Record
One of the incredible accomplishments in the making of the Nan Schwartz record was that it was made more possible to achieve both audio perfection and nuanced musical peformances, because Nan’s music is so well crafted and written.

This is most definitely not the case most of the time!

It’s in the academic domain, but I warmly recommend this video presentation, as above, to those of you interested in the fast-changing world of classical music recording.

More soon,

Kevin

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Why Don’t Conducting Books Talk About The Music?

Riccardo_MutiWell, actually, some do.  I am reminded of Riccardo Muti’s truly insightful commentary in a podcast he did with British music journalist, Norman Lebrecht, in September 2011 (worth tracking down if it is still available on the BBC) wherein the maestro laments the prediliction in the USA toward training aspiring conductors how to ‘conduct the music’ as opposed to how to ‘study the music’.  I’m paraphrasing, but in essence this is the point he makes.

I am reminded of this as I have just finished reading several recently published new books on conducting by American conductors.  One was largely a memoir which I found mostly disingenuous; far too preoccupied with lauding the virtues of a much better known American conductor, and the other, offering an alternative approach to technical aspects of conducting distilled through the concept of ‘beauty’ in music.  The latter book has one or two genuine insights in what otherwise is a slim volume with little to offer.  Worse however than its over concision, is that some of what is espoused in respect to the physics pertaining to gestural motion in orchestral conducting technique is plain wrong. Continue Reading →

Fundamental Differences Between Theatre & Classical Music

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CAST FOR INDUSTRY PRESENTATIONS NYC, SEPT. 25

I find it remarkable sometimes how time slips away unnoticed even though you are vaguely aware that some things have gone on far too long whereas other matters, of real importance, appear to vanish hardly before they’ve started.

I have been in NYC on this umpteenth sojourn now for over 7 weeks whilst working on The Stranger from Seville musical written with long-time collaborator, Victor Kazan. At the same time, I have been learning Kurt Atterberg’s Symphony No. 3 for an upcoming concert with the Australian Discovery Orchestra later this month.

The preparation for industry backer audition readings for new musicals in New York is a gruelling process – arduous for everyone involved – including the stupendous cast put together by Stephanie Klapper Casting.  How many actor/singers in the  photo above can you recognize and name?

Time on this project just vanished from when we started four weeks ago up to the day of presentations on Sept. 25 but it culminated in fabulous performances skillfully and sensitively directed by Martin Platt (Dir.) and Matt Castle (Mus. Dir.).

The process of ‘prepping’ readings and workshops for new musicals is so widely divergent from prepping orchestras for performance and recordings that some observations and comparisons might make interesting reading to those of you who follow this blog.  Well, that’s my hope anyway. Continue Reading →