Nati's new CD... take 3!

Jun 29, 2012

Again, courtesy of Bill Nerenberg, Director of Chesapeake International Artists….


“This will be my last report on the Nati Draiblate CD project as I am already on my way to Austin, Texas for the world premiere of a new concerto by my composer/client Jonathan Leshnoff.

Yesterday was a long, grueling, and at the same time magical day. I must bring two new names into the mix – producer Alan Bise and engineer Bruce Egre, our Azica Records team.  They are intelligent, efficient, sensitive and talented and they immediately established an enduring trust with Luigi and Nati on Wednesday.  It continued today as Lura Johnson and her expert page-tuner mom, Molly came into the studio.

This was a LONG day.  Nati and Lura started rehearsing just a little after ten and we did not leave the studio until nearly ten last night.  Normally, musicians are used to a two-hour rehearsal and then a break and then maybe a concert performance of an hour and a half sometime later the same day.  IN THIS CASE, EVERYONE WORKED FROM 10 TO ALMOST TEN WITH ONLY TWO SMALL BREAKS!

Given the complexity of the music and the physical and mental demands of recording which is infinitely more exacting than performance, the musicians performed superbly.  Beginning with the final movement of the Mendelssohn violin sonata, a movement so demanding that playing it perfectly is like swimming up a waterfall, Nati and Lura did a superb job with the great advice and help of their producer, Alan Bise.  Alan is a former violinist himself, having attended the Cleveland Institute of Music, so he knows his stuff both in the studio and inside the music itself.  Bruce Egre is an engineer with decades of experience, great technical skills, and tremendous patience.  Together, these two men have developed artistic product from their label which rivals any of the best recordings from any company anywhere in the world.

The microphone placements these fellows made were intriguing.  There were close microphones, then another set about four feet behind the first set, and then a third set about four to six feet beyond that.  It enables the producer to move the sound of each instrument “in and out,” sometimes taking in more of the room, and at other times making the instruments sound as if they are right next to you.  It’s remarkable technique!

The work goes section by section, sometimes retaking just a few bars here and there in order to put together a phenomenal performance.  All the while, the musicians must maintain their enthusiasm and heart, and even moreso their abilities to maintain their pitch.  It’s grueling work that requires tremendous inner strength.

The Mendelssohn came out sounding as amazing as the composer intended when he wrote this piece during his tragically short life.  The attention then turned to a quiet and short piece by Elgar which provided a little rest from the technical demands of the Mendelssohn.  The came the most magical moments for me – the second movement of the Mendelssohn, a slow, dreamy and transformational set of notes of the kind that reinforces for all of us the genius of Mendelssohn and establishes his deserved right to be one of the most prominent composers of the 19th century.

There were breaks for the retuning of the piano at 12 and 5 – it gave us a chance to run across the street to a sandwich shop for sustenance and a break.

The final work of the day was the first movement of one of the Grieg sonatas.  Edvard Grieg was a composer of surprising depth given his geographic displacement from the Vienna mainstream in Norway. This piece starts with two chords which lead in one direction followed by the entrance of the violin in a completely different mode and rhythmic direction.  The movement is lively and reflective at the same time.  Demanding, moving, folksy, classical – all those descriptions can fit this nine-minute movement.  Even though they were dog-tired, Nati and Lura showed the depth of their talents and their endurance by giving a beautiful performance.

Today, Friday, will be the last day of recording but more of the same – the first movement of the Mendelssohn, the second and third Grieg movements and a Fritz Kreisler short piece.  And then, well-deserved rest for the crew, a trip home for Lura, a trip to Brazil for concerts and teaching by Nati.  I will get home sometime on Sunday and collapse into my bed for about 12 uninterrupted hours of slumber!

This has been a fabulous project.  It’s Nati’s first commercial solo recording, and it was made possible by the generosity of Elizabeth Richebourg Rea, whose photography will become an integral part of the CD package.  Thanks to the wondrous wizards at Azica, thanks to Nati for spending all his bonus miles on very comfortable hotel accommodations for all of us, and finally and certainly most importantly, the artistic contributions of Luigi Mazzocchi and Lura Johnson, two incredibly fine professional musicians who supported and complemented Nati’s talent to give us what will be a first-class recording.

Until next time!”

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Lura Johnson