Magazine article Gramophone

STUDIO FOCUS: Richard Blackford's Niobe

Magazine article Gramophone

STUDIO FOCUS: Richard Blackford's Niobe

Article excerpt

The composer, the violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen and conductor Ben Gernon discuss recording his new concertante work for violin

What's it like, as a composer, listening to a premiere recording being made?

RB Having given a live performance just before, the challenge is to maintain similar levels of adrenalin, excitement and intensity while creating as perfect an interpretation and vision as possible.

You evidently enjoyed working with the producer ...

RB We were very lucky to work with a very experienced Czech producer, J if f Gemrot, who worked often with Jiff Belohlavek. He's also a composer and knows the orchestra extremely well. He didn't let one misplaced or out-of-tune note, anything off the beat or a misplaced dynamic go by. He has a phenomenal ear and heard mistakes I didn't hear. He immediately established a first-class working relationship with Tamsin and Ben--and they completely trusted him in terms of improving intonation and articulation.

TW-C You want a producer you can completely trust, who listens for everything and picks everything up. They are the ones who make the recording, really. The orchestra [the Czech Philjarmonic] have embraced the piece too. It's been a really lovely few days--a really great team.

You went very quickly from a live premiere to a studio recording, in the same hall ...

BG Yes. Suddenly we have a producer and sound engineer in the team. It brings a new intensity. The acoustic in the Rudolfinum is very 'live'--you might call it a 'bathroom'-and it is easier to judge balance through headphones on a playback than in the hall itself. …

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