© 2010 by Suzanne Birrell
RECORDED IN SUDIO D!
Guitarist Tom Duarte and I finished laying down the tracks to the 10 songs in the project. I always like to record live, the magic happens, but it was a new experience for Tom. I am happy to report, he is a now a convert.
I went back in to add bass and percussion. Lots of rubato made it difficult to get in the groove. What can I say, I have a free spirit. Somehow, I just fell in. One take on the song Incidents in the life of My Uncle Arly which goes back and forth between adagio and allegro and different adagio tempos at that. The words dictate all!
The room itself is perfect. Engineer Joel is a WHIZ. He plays the pro tools with the virtuosity of a piano player. Keeps the energy up and creative sparks flowing. I performed the songs-rather theatrical- so I was not glued to the mic. Joel and Jason captured the magic moments. We laid down 10 songs in two sessions-total time 9 hours. Tom was reading the music-one song was 9 pages (7 minutes) long. We had to pause in order to rotate pages.
The compositions are composed to the poems of Edward Lear, a British poet (1812-1888). Edward Lear is most famous for his Nonsense Poems which include such favorites as the Owl and the Pussycat. (All the lyrics can be found in this site in a ready to print format- http://thisoldhippy.com/artist/graphic-artist/booklet-calico-pie-and-other-poems-by-edward-lear/)
When I first started setting the poems to music I found it interesting that all the tunes seemed to fine themselves in a minor key in spite how wonderfully fanciful I found the poem. In doing the background search on the author, I discovered he was a manic depressive. I had connected!
A Side Note:
In college I had a wonderful professor, Linda Rockwood, who insisted that a true artist is known through art that is true. In an exercise of creativity, freshmen artists, who were unknown to us seniors, rendered interpretations of the artist behind our art. I, a consummate musician, was drawn holding a wind instrument and a stringed instrument. I am an oboe player, wind; and a bass player, stringed.
I later did exercises with my own students and found that, much to their amazement as well as mine, that a sense of art communication does in fact exist innately within us.
My melodies took on a life of their own. I initially wrote the play around the first three compositions. I ended up throwing away the first act and leaving the singer behind. However, the subsequent acts became dotted with of bits and pieces of the poems of Edward Lear. It became obvious that I needed to compose melodies to rest of the songs. With those compositions, the singer re-entered the play as a street musician, which is where the songs are performed.
The poems are stories. As songs, they are mini opera’s.
The following video is a brief compilation edit of some of the material as I recorded it. I put it up for all of you to see, but secretly it is for my Grandchildren to see their grandmother doing her thing!
Suzanne Birrell Recording Lear