What Happens When Everything Goes Right in A Recording Session

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(from left to right): Ovidiu Marinescu, Samantha Granville, Sylvia Ahramjian, Anna Kislitsyna, Brad Michel, L Peter Deutsch

Often times with PARMA, we’re in a hundred different places at once. As a record company recording music all over the world, sometimes we have sessions that overlap, like the recent Czech Republic, Poland, and Philadelphia sessions. Three different recording sessions in three parts of the world with multiple performers and composers. However, despite these overlaps, each session is consistent with the fact that each is unique in experience.

In A&R Representative Marina Altschiller’s recent blog post A Moment of Reflection in the Czech Republic, she tells the story of when everything goes right during a session. For her, it was in St. Mortiz Church as the performers played a few bars on the 6th take of Peter Greve’s “Aria for Trumpet and Organ.” It was a moment where everything came together and the engineers, composer, directors, and whoever else was in the sound room, just paused for a second and listened.

It’s funny that what we do here a PARMA is “make music that sounds terrific” but sometimes, in the heat of making sure each take is perfect, each string is tuned, every piano key rings smooth, that we are not truly hearing a piece until it’s mastered and sitting packaged in our hands. However, moments like these created in the process is what makes it all worth it.

After reading Marina’s piece, I was reminded of my own experience in Philadelphia, recording five pieces with the PARMA infamous Trio Casals. On the last day of recording, we began takes of L Peter Deutsch’s “Ocean Air.” This piece, originally based on the story of a cat dreaming, was rewritten to paint the picture of sailing on the ocean through the night.

I was sitting in the recital hall, legs crossed and jotting down notes of the day while the Trio tuned up and rehearsed before the red light went on. GRAMMY Award-Winning producer Brad Michel “radio silky voice” (as Ovidiu pointed out) chimed in from the sound room and the red light turned on. The Trio announced that they were going to do a run through of the second movement of the piece.

As I sat there writing, taking in the last day of recording, I noticed that my heart felt like it was caught in my throat and goosebumps began to climb up my arm. I set down my pen and rested my eyes on the moving bows and swaying bodies of the Trio as they synced together and listened. It was that special moment. The moment where everything was just perfect.

Following their run through, there was silence for a moment as their bows and heads raised to the ceiling. Then, starting to smile at one another and laughed. Brad overhead said, “that was beautiful.” I couldn’t help myself, I clapped!

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What performers look like when a take goes well…

Not every moment is like this but every session has them. Recording sessions are a process full of repetition, flats, and squeaky notes having to be done over. But when it works, it works and you end up with a moment that’s not only captured in the master, but also in your veins.

– Samantha Granville, Social Media Specialist

 

The PARMA Album of the Day: AUGUST RUINS

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Peter Vukmirovic Stevens is a composer whose music is informed and guided by deep connections with visual media, literature, travel, and works by composers past and present. AUGUST RUINS, an album of Stevens’ works for solo cello, gives these influences life through the cello’s unequivocal range and timbre, allowing for a raw, isolated expression of emotion, history, and visual beauty unencumbered by accompaniment. The Classical Reviewer says “This is one of the finest pieces for unaccompanied cello to come along in a long time.”

Find the album on iTunes and  Amazon.

 

The PARMA Album of the Day: ALBERT’S WINDOW

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From Stravinsky-esque rhythms and impressionistic harmonies to Xerox® machine-inspired gestures, Eight Strings & a Whistle – comprised of flutist Suzanne Gilchrest, violist Ina Litera, and cellist Matthew Goeke – present a diverse selection of contemporary and 20th-century works that highlight the ensemble’s blend of technical prowess and emotive interpretation on their debut Ravello Records release ALBERT’S WINDOW. Kathodik says the trio “handled with absolute mastery and confidence.”

Find ALBERT’S WINDOW on Amazon and iTunes.

 

The PARMA Album of the Day: THE MUSIC OF ERICH ZANN

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Michael J. Evans released his most recent PARMA album and first string quartet works THE MUSIC OF ERICH ZANN in February of this year. The digital only release, featuring Sirus Quartet, is a string rendition of H.P. Lovecraft’s short story  “The Music of Erich Zann.” The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society says, “it is very apparent that the melodic, pretty, and poignant scoring is taking us on an intriguing journey along the story line of Lovecraft’s tale.”

Find the Album on Amazon and iTunes.

April 2017 New Releases on Navona and Ravello Records!

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Happy Friday! Are you ready for another round of releases featuring new ensembles and artists, compilations, and re-releases? Well, take a deep breath and try to relax as you take in these big releases…


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DRESS CODE  |  Altius Quartet

A bold treat of fresh arrangements of popular staples, effortlessly combining the appeal of classical, jazz, and pop, in such pieces as Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and “Kashmir”; Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me”; a-ha’s “Take on Me”; and a newer pieces Take It, an unlikely pairing of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” and Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five.”

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  ArkivMusic  |  YouTube  | Spotify


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REAWAKENING  |  Jeffrey Jacob

A collection of varied works for orchestra and chamber ensembles, showcasing composer Jeffrey Jacob’s lush, mystical style.

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  ArkivMusic  |  YouTube  |  Spotify


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ERGO  |  Zhen Chen

An impressive contribution to the decades-long legacy of composers blending Chinese and western instruments and musical materials.

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  ArkivMusic  |  YouTube  | Spotify 


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THE CHAMBER WORKS OF ALLEN BRINGS  |  Allen Brings

A triple re-release containing a collection of works for small ensembles comprised of a diverse selection of instruments.

Amazon  |  iTunes  | Spotify


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WINTER’S WARMTH  |  Andrew Schultz, John A. Carollo, R. Barry Ulrich, J.A. Kawarksy

An orchestral compilation featuring works from John A. Carollo, J.A. Kawarsky, Andrew Schultz, and R. Barry Ulrich, presenting conceptual pieces that all act as soundtracks to our resiliency during the toughest moments of the human experience.

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  ArkivMusic  |  YouTube  | Spotify


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SMALL STORMS  |  Meredith Blecha-Wells, cello; Sun Min Kim, piano

Features Bohuslav Martinů’s duos for cello and piano from the latter half of his life, with the performances of Blecha-Wells and pianist Sun Min Kim fully embodying the folkloric sensibility and conservative style that typify the composer’s oeuvre.

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  ArkivMusic  |  YouTube  | Spotify


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TWILIGHT REMEMBERED  |  McCormick Duo

A re-release of a collection of contemporary compositions for percussion and flute, including works from various composers.

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  Spotify


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RED LILIES OF BELLS GOLDEN LILIES OF BELLS WHITE LILIES OF BELLS  |  Alla Elana Cohen

Previously compared to the likes of Beethoven and Mozart, creative and evocative composer Alla Elana Cohen presents a collection of wildly imaginative works for string quartet, small ensemble, solo cello, and chamber orchestra.

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  ArkivMusic  |  YouTube  

*RED LILIES OF BELLS GOLDEN LILIES OF BELLS WHITE LILIES OF BELLS will be released April 21st, however the album is available for pre-order.

 

The Inside Story: Altius Quartet

Altius Quartet is made up of Andrew Giordano and Joshua Ulrich on violin, Andrew Krimm on viola, and Zachary Reaves on cello. The Classics Artists Alive Grand Prize-Winning string ensemble is currently holding the position of Fellowship String Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Today the quartet is our next featured ensemble/artist for “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the personalities and inner workings of our artists. Read on to see how these guys keep a sense of humor.

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 *This is Zack answering for the group.

What was your most unusual performance, or the most embarrassing thing that happened to you during a performance?

This is a funny story that actually led to a great friendship and to the production of this album!  A few years back we performed at a fundraising event for a concert series and the presenter had asked us to make a sales pitch for the silent auction before we began the 2nd half.  One of the auction items was to sponsor the various artists that would be performing at the festival a few months later, including us.

At this particular performance, we were wearing brightly colored bow ties with our suits, which many of the patrons commented on.  So to people to bid on our sponsorship, we jokingly offered a house concert to be performed in “only our bow ties.”  Several old women ran to the back to bid on us and the laughter among the audiences took several minutes to die down.  Ultimately two couples won with bid somewhere around $20,000.  They ultimately got their house concert, but (thankfully) our wardrobe was not bow ties only. One of these couples has become great friends and supporters of ours and gave us our first major donation towards funding this album!

Moral of the story: Always keep a sense of humor!

What is your guilty pleasure?

Fantasy Football!  We’ve had a league for about 5 years with friends from school.  None of us have won yet…  Two of us have achieved the last place.

In the event of a zombie apocalypse, what are the three things you absolutely can’t live without?

Our spouses (assuming they’re not already zombies…), Torchy’s Tacos, and some good scotch.

If you could spend creative time anywhere in the world, where would it be? And why?

Being based in Colorado makes for a pretty special place to rehearse and be creative.  The weather, the scenery, the proximity to the mountains.  It’s a pretty great place to be.  That said, we recently spent some time in Vienna and were very inspired by the musical culture there.  We had some deep and effective rehearsals while we were there.  So perhaps that would be our top spot for a creative destination.

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What was your favorite musical moment on the album?

For me, it’s the opening section of Stairway to Heaven.  I’m very proud of how that turned out and it’s a beautiful showcase of what a string quartet can bring to something normally played by a classic rock guitarist.

Was there a piece on your album that you found more difficult to compose/perform than the others?

“Take It,” for sure.  The solo section is really tough for each member to not get separated from the underlying groove.

What does this album mean to you personally?

This our way of saying that music is music and doesn’t necessarily have to be put in a specific box or category. We’re passionate classical musicians, but there is so much music out there to be excited about.  We wanted to bring a fun attitude to this album that bridges genres and gets listeners to hear something they might not expect from a classical ensemble.

Altius Quartet’s debut release on Navona Records DRESS CODE is available for purchases April 14th. Pre-order on Amazon, iTunes, and ArkivMusic. Until then, here’s a sneak peek:

The PARMA Album of the Day: GOIN’ HOME…A RETROSPECTIVE

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For her second album release on Big Round Records, pianist and composer Gay Pearson presents GOIN’ HOME…A RETROSPECTIVE. This album, which is a live recording of her most recent annual chamber-jazz concert, features an eclectic ensemble with Pearson on piano, John Lockwood on bass, Phil McGowan on drums, Tracy McMullen on saxophone, Lea Pearson on flute, and Shannon Allen on cello. Kathodik says the album, “never ceases to surprise and fascinate.”

Find GOIN’ HOME…A RETROSPECTIVE on Amazon and iTunes.

New PARMA Project: The MOTO Series

PARMA is excited to announce the third installment in the MOTO recording and performance series! This new album will again feature PARMA lead cellist Ovidiu Marinescu and his group, Trio Casals.

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Trio Casals (L-R): Sylvia Ahramjian (violin), Ovidiu Marinescu (cello), Anna Kislitsyna (piano)

 

The first album, 2013’s MOTO PERPETUO, featured a set of moving works for cello and small ensemble.

 

The second release, MOTO CONTINUO, built upon the strengths of the first album and expanded the concept to include works for piano trio and solo cello. Both projects culminated in performances of the full programs at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York.

 

The new project is tentatively slated for release in spring 2018, with a concert to take place at Weill Recital Hall after the release.

We’ll be sure to keep everyone posted as the project continues to develop. In the meantime, please take a moment to get to know the featured composers on the album:

Stay tuned for more updates!

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