'As always, it was sheer pleasure to observe Robin Hill's remarkable fluent technique: everything looks easy when he plays it.' Colin Cooper- Classical Guitar Magazine ----- 'Wonderful for their (Hill & Wiltschinsky) precision, touch and clarity of sound... refined virtuosity, the achievement of a long interpretive process.' Il Giornale D'Italia (Rome) ----- 'I loved your CD and thought your technique and performance were fabulous...' Rick Wakeman

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Recording: Listen and Learn

Recording of Robin's latest classical guitar CD is getting under way here and he disappears for hours at a time.
When he does venture out of the studio he is usually armed with his latest 'take'.
We then settle down and listen through a number of times.
There are so many aspects to recording, not just the technical side of things, but one of the areas that I'm most involved in is the listening.

I don't mean just listening but really scrutinising every last note.
When we listen to playbacks we are not only checking that the notes are all fine, but the sound quality, tone, flow of the piece and generally that the interpretation is the one that Robin is trying to achieve.
Fortunately, we both have very clear ideas as to the way most pieces should be performed, and luckily they are the same.
This makes the whole process of listening back a much easier one.

Robin learns so much more about a piece as he records it.

As Glenn Gould once said:

"The tape recorder is the finest teacher."

He should know, he abandoned his concert career in his early thirties to concentrate exclusively on recording until his death aged 51.

I can understand that.
A completely different frame of mind is required for recording than is needed for live performance.

Good preparation is essential.
The music has to be learnt and memorised but the learning process doesn't end there.
The more a piece is recorded, the more it is understood, and, hopefully, a close approximation of an ideal is achieved.

I was also very pleased to have positive feedback.
After listening for some time to a Barrios piece Robin commented that my input was invaluable as I could bring extra objectivity to the whole process.
One of the problems with recording is that it is very easy to become so engrossed in the minutiae that the overall picture is lost.
As I generally am out of the way for the recording part I'm able to keep that distance.

I did manage to get insulted at one point though.
Robin announced that he had emailed me an mp3 of the latest movement so that he could hear what it sounded like on my 'tinny' computer!
Well, we can't all have the latest technology can we...?

Recording will be interrupted as of tomorrow, but, only for a few days, as Robin has to prepare for a concert.
Next week, on Wednesday 14th November, Robin is performing at Dewsbury Town Hall as part of the 'Lunchtime Chamber Concerts' series.
This is a rare chance to see Robin play in the UK, so anyone interested and able to get there, doors open at 11.30, the concert starts at 12.30, and will finish at 1,30.
Contact the box office on 01484 22 32 00 for more details.

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