We went to the Czech Republic last month to record once again with the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, one of our top partner ensembles, this time including works by contemporary composers Carl Vollrath, John Carollo, and Daniel Crozier. It was a nice time of year to experience Moravia, and I wanted to write up a quick post to share with you all some of the scenery and the music (along with my strong recommendation that you visit too should you get the chance)!
As the holidays approach, we arrived just in time to see vendors setting up shop in squares around the city of Olomouc for the traditional Christmas market, surrounded by festive lights, a big tree, and even a lit-up merry-go-round for the kids (and kids-at-heart). Besides buying locally-made trinkets, clay bells, hand-painted ornaments, wood carvings, knitted hats and the like, one could walk through the pleasantly-crowded city center most evenings to the sounds of live music and the smells of savory/sweet street food like sausages, corn-on-the-cob, warm punch, and roasted chestnuts (my personal favorite was the Trdelník [I accidentally ordered coconut instead of chocolate, but it was still excellent!]).
For sessions, we started off in the studio with Carl Vollrath‘s “The Land of Lanterns” for solo clarinet and wind ensemble, a lovely piece
which showcased the lone reed instrument lyrically and effectively against the pressing textures of the larger ensemble. Although I’ve heard the Moravian Philharmonic players through countless PARMA releases in the past (see our recent playlist for a few examples), there’s really nothing quite like sitting in the production room as dozens of professional musicians work together seamlessly to bring a well-crafted piece of art to life. This session set the stage for many more excellent recording sessions to come, which would take place over the next few days.
In our next session, we worked with composer John Carollo to record the first of what would end up amounting to six new recordings. His dynamic Symphony No. 2. had many moments of catchy, rhythmic syncopation throughout, and dramatic use of the orchestra in passages both forceful and lyrical (the word “wow” was uttered more than once!). The resulting audio, along with a string work “The Rhetoric and Mythos of Belief,” dedicated to his late partner of 35 years, and other works for string ensemble which we recorded later, will be heard together on an upcoming album of Carollo’s works currently planned for release in August of 2017.
The third composer with whom we recorded was Florida-based Daniel Crozier. His work, “Balade” for full orchestra, was impressive to hear, an intricate-yet-turbulent swirling of orchestral textures with a quiet, serene center holding it all together. A challenging work to perform for sure, the ensemble did a tremendous job with the well-orchestrated guidance of conductor, producer, and composer working together, with a definitive recording sure to be the result.
After all was said and done, audio files safely on their way back to PARMA’s Audio Department (roughly 4,000 miles away), I took a brief break to walk around in Prague before flying out the next morning – I hope you’ll enjoy browsing through a few more photos I took along the way (below), and here’s some relevant holiday music to listen to while you view: