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!
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