- Meet the Committee
- Our Tasmanian Rep
- Miriam Morris - "A Souldier's Resolution"
- A Letter from Brent Wissick
- The Score: News gatherings from near & far
- Taking viols into the community
- Geoff Wills
- Professor Peter Platt
- State Reports
- The AVdGS website
- Letter to the Editor
- Care and maintenance of your viol
- NSW Event: Consort Day
Hume's "A Souldier's Resolution"
A recording completed
I have always loved the music of Tobias Hume, "pashenate", quirky, going from the sublime to the virtual ridiculous, but always providing the "gambo violl" with every opportunity to show its inherent character and resonance. So, when I finally decided to embark on recording a CD, the "souldier's" music was at the top of the list. To be able to choose lovely music from the first large collection of solo viol and lyra viol music from 1605 was not difficult. In fact I recorded more than actually went on to the final recording.
I have been involved in various recording projects, but this one was the first of my own initiative, also the first of its kind in Australia. I started it last year and didn't quite finish before the summer break, after which I waited for a change in the weather before resuming. Gamba players have to think of these things! I made the recording at Martin Wright's studio at Move Records in beautiful Eaglemont, Victoria with Thomas Grubb as producer. The young counter-tenor Christopher Field joined me for three of the songs from The First Part of Ayres.
I had performed most of the repertoire on the CD many times over the years. I have to say that I had not realised how different recording would be from performing, with its ongoing routine of playing, listening back, discussing, then playing again. Especially in the solo playing, I had to tell myself to be objective and keep a sense of proportion. Looking back on it, after the initial shock, I think I learnt more about my playing in that short time than at any other time in my career. It is like being under a microscope. Also, playing a musical instrument is a somewhat transient occupation, unlike say, painting where every brushstroke is documented. I realise now, all the more, the importance of musicians being able to have those recorded documents.
Various colleagues had told me of the joys (ha ha) of editing where one chooses from all those different versions of the tracks. Thomas Grubb had proved himself to be an excellent producer with a keen ear, good sense of style (he is a fine organist) and, most importantly a good psychological approach in getting the best out me. He was a great help when it came to the editing choices, even though I had to be the final arbiter. I tell you, after a few hours of being cooped up with a computer and a couple of speakers, not only the head goes round, but also the ears.
Once the graphic design was done and I had proofread my notes for the umpteenth time it was time to have a final listen to the recording. When everything was finished I felt rather similar to the times when my books had just gone to the publishers. That is, somewhat flat, and with a slight feeling of fear and trepidation as to what might have been overlooked. I then busied myself with preparations for the Melbourne launch.
Professor Harold Love (well known to many Australian viol consort players) gave a most informative and witty introduction. He started off quoting Qantas flight numbers, quickly got himself to the National Portrait Gallery amongst the Elizabethan and Jacobean paintings and then on to some illuminating points about the music. Chris Field and I performed highlights from the disc interspersed with Shakespearean excerpts carefully chosen and eloquently performed by the actor Bruce Kerr. We had a capacity audience in St James the Great Anglican Church and it was lovely to sense the support of friends and colleagues.
On September 17th, I launched the CD in Adelaide where, in addition to Hume, I was joined by Lynton Rivers (voice flute) and Simon Martyn-Ellis (lute and theorbo) for Dowland, Hotetterre and Forqueray. In spite of competing with (no, not in) the Olympics for an audience, we had an enthusiastic gathering. Graham Strahle gave an engagingly erudite introductory speech about Hume and the viol. When we got to the champagne stage of the events, Simon Healy from ABC Classic FM officially launched the CD. Next stop Sydney. I'll keep you posted.