Notes from the recording studio
This has been a relatively quiet week in work for the National Orchestra of Wales. We had two days of recording at the start of the week and on Friday we have three concerts as part of the BBC Radio Wales day.
I always think recording a concerto must be quite an exhausting experience for a soloist. Performing a concerto is one thing, but at least you get to stop at the end, be applauded, get flowers and wear a pretty dress on the concert platform. Recording however, is a very different thing. The continual repetition of patching, retaking and playing through is tiring for the orchestra, but it requires a tremendous degree of both physical and mental stamina from the soloist.
In live performance there is an extra edge to everything, an energy and excitement that is difficult to capture on a recording. In the concert hall you start at the beginning of the work and follow its trajectory through to its conclusion; you go on a journey with the composer that has a definite beginning and a clear ending.
Recording is a mixture of complete runs of a movement, patches, and retakes (I wholeheartedly and unreservedly apologise to all of my colleagues for the retake we had to do of the last page due to my playing a beat early six bars before figure 83 - I felt suitably shamed). I always find concerto recordings particularly taxing because as the day goes on, your concentration inevitably wanes and sometimes, no amount of coffee seems to help.
In addition to this week's recording, on Friday Radio Wales will be hosting a series of shows live from our studio. We will be involved in the Jamie and Louise show (a bit on the early side for my liking) and the Roy Noble show (a much more acceptable time of day).
We have a lot of music to get through (the viola section has already had flapjacks, brownies, carrot cake and chocolate cake this week - morale boosting treats do not last long in our section) and the day will culminate in a Six Nations themed evening performance. It says on the Orchestra website that there will be guest panelists. I am hoping that many of these guest panelists will be rugby players, but I'm not holding out much hope.
BBC Radio Wales will be broadcasting live from BBC Hoddinott Hall on Friday 27 January between 9am-12pm and 2pm-5pm. Limited tickets are still available on the door. For further information please call 03700 10 10 51.