Recording the new album, "Airs for the Seasons", March 2014
The Evergreen Ensemble will be promoting a new album as it makes it's debut concerts within Australia. The album was, in fact, recorded a year ago in France by Shane and four other french musicians invited on-board for the recording project, but we shall be playing much of the repertoire from the album in our current, australian, line-up. As I make the final touches to the album cover, I thought I'd share some of the behind-the-scenes stories of how this album came to see the light...
Why Scottish Baroque?
After having loved the baroque repertoire and scottish traditional music seperaterately for more than 20 years, it took a wonderful meeting with the classical soloist, Rachel Barton-Pine, to really open my eyes up to the obvious next step, which was to research and perform Scottish Baroque music! She had just completed a recording of the Scottish Fantasy by Bruch, for which she had enlisted the help of the world leader in scottish fiddling, Alasdair Fraser, to assist in rendering her performance more 'scots-like'!. This had sparked a deeper interest for her in the cross-over points between the scottish repertoire and both baroque and classical music, and she gave a performance of the most stunning tunes to my students in France, the memory of which continues to inspire me to this day.
Recording in a Manoir
The album was recorded on the beautiful grounds of the Manoir de Kernault in Brittany, France. The acoustics of the chosen room were similar to that of a chapel; spacious but not echoing. We were accompanied by the sounds of ashes falling down the giant fireplace behind us, mice scuttling around the hearth and the crunch of our feet on the limestone floor! Thankfully there were few visitors to the manor house during our stay as those who passed would inevitably come and chat outside the room to watch us record, unaware that their voices could be heard as clear as day on Pierre's super-sensitive microphones!
The recording consists of two scottish sonatas ( one of four planned for the album, but some ill-timed string-breakage on the baroque cello changed out plans!), vocal works by Purcell and Handel, solo violin, solo violin d'amore (like a viola d'amore, but violin-sized), songs accompanied by guitar or viola d'amore, and several other compositions and arrangements.
A release-date will be posted up on the Evergreen Ensemble's website as soon as it's defined. In the meantime, there are extracts of the album on our 'Sound & Video' page. Enjoy!