recording objects (1999)


Glenn Freeman, who produces OgreOgress Records, has asked me to perform the electronic organ part of my 1999 piece objects for marimba, piano and electronic organ. It was premiered in 2006 by Hugh Sung, Daniel Beliavsky and Bill Solomon (electronic organ, piano and marimba, respectively) and the piece was pretty well received. One prominent composer, who I assumed was not someone who would like my music, sent me an e-mail telling me how much she loved the piece, so I learned never to assume who might or might not like my music. In any case, even my daughter likes that piece (which is a good thing, since I wrote it for her).

The recording is going to be a high-resolution audio DVD and will also come out on iTunes and Amazon as MP3s. While the album has not yet been finalized, it will likely include works by some very prominent composers like Maria de Alvear and Bunita Marcus, so I’m really humbled by being included. The pianist for objects will be Paul Hersey and Glenn will likely play marimba. The recording will be multitracked, so I got to record my part here in a Palo Alto hotel room while on the West Coast for work. It’s taken me three nights to do several takes, but I think I’m there. I knew objects was a hard piece based on the feedback I got from the performers at the premiere. It looks simple, but requires a ton of concentration and stamina. One of the hardest parts for me was one section in the beginning where the organ plays the same measure 90 times in succession. It’s also pretty fast-as it was, I took the tempo down from quarter = 100 to quarter = 86, which is more in keeping with the premiere. I used a M-Audio 88es USB controller plugged into Reason for the organ sound, and had Finale 2011 play the piano and marimba parts at the same time so I could stay in tempo and keep things relatively synchronized. Like I said, it was really tough-I’m not a keyboard player despite all my years of dabbling, and playing in public or recording a take is stressful since it’s just too easy for me to make a mistake. But it all worked out so far, so hopefully Glenn won’t have to hire someone to play electronic organ for this recording. Anyway, the recording is likely to take a bit to get recorded, edited and released, but it’s definitely in progress, which is great news.
Also on the performance front, the pianist Stephane Ginsburgh is looking into a performance in Belgium of my piano work quartet for piano, which is a piece I think is one of my better efforts. There are a few other performance possibilities out there, but less probable for now. But this is all good.