PARMA Takes Futura: The Pierre Schroeder Sessions

John Page conducts “Lowland”

Earlier this month, a few members of the PARMA team ventured down to Futura Productions in Roslindale, MA for a string of recording sessions for VOYAGE, a 50-minute, ten-movement opus by composer Pierre Schroeder featuring a host of chamber and ensemble players and covering an array of different styles throughout the contemporary music spectrum.

Pierre discussing “Late Harvest”  

Pierre and the production team met in the control room as mics were set and the players loaded into the studio early in the morning on the first of three days of sessions. Before the session for the first movement “Lowland” began, Pierre took a moment to thank the players in advance for their hard work and address a couple of quick questions with the conductor and concert master.

Producer Andy Happel (left) with Pierre (right)

After that, seats were taken, bows were raised, and we were off to the races. The musicians rolled right through the large ensemble movements with a strong sense of universal intonation and cohesion. No one voice stuck out – each player built their sound into the ensemble, which resulted in a beautiful blend of timbres that filled the hall with a singular robust, dynamic sound. 

As the day rolled along, the ensemble shifted shape into a number of subsets that demonstrated a more jazz-flavored ambiance, including the serene and cascading “Bleu Nuit” and the west-coast cool jazz vibe of “Highway,” among others.

While the latter pieces differ thematically and stylistically from the larger ensemble works, they shared a similarly engaging character and sense of constant motion which greatly demonstrated the variety of Pierre’s music and his aptitude for writing in a range of styles.

With these sessions in the rear-view mirror as we move towards post-production, I can say that this was one of my favorite recordings we’ve done to date and we’re all excited for everyone else to hear Pierre’s latest work. Stay tuned for news and updates leading up to the release of VOYAGE in 2015. 

Bailey, the studio dog, at attention between sessions

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