PARMA Takes Futura: The Alan Beeler and Sparky Davis Sessions

On May 14, PARMA returned to Boston’s Futura Productions, one of our many homes-away-from-home, to record a handful of solo and chamber works by PARMA composers Alan Beeler and the late Sparky Davis.

The players on the session included soprano Aliana de la Guardia, alongside longtime PARMA collaborator Karolina Rojahn on piano.

Also present at the session (all the way from Kentucky!) was Mr. Beeler himself, who was dressed to kill (or at least dressed to look sharper than everyone else in the studio).  It was great to watch Alan’s reaction as he heard his music performed so masterfully (he spent most of the session listening and following his score intently with a smile on his face).

Personally, this was my first experience at a recording session of this caliber, even though I wasn’t actively involved with the session.While my mind was free of the pressures of missing notes or being out of tune, it was at full attention trying to absorb everything that I was seeing and hearing: producer Andy Happel’s constructive and insightful advice for the musicians, Alan’s continuously-sought feedback and approval of the performances, the engineer reciting “take 20, measures 43 to the end…”, and of course, the wonderful music that Aliana and Karolina were playing.

It was an exciting and educational experience all around that I would highly recommend to anyone given the opportunity. Hearing everything on a finished CD is one thing, but seeing how the music is created and captured behind the scenes really gives you some valuable big-picture insight of all of the resources and efforts that go into creating the final product.

To tide you over while these new recordings make their way through the PARMA post-production pipeline, you can hear some of Alan and Sparky’s earlier music below. As for their new music, you can look forward to checking that out when it’s released in early-2015. Til then, take our word for it – it’s worth the wait.

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