Recording Project with violinist Netanel Draiblate

Jun 26, 2012

Below is a blog entry written by Bill Nerenberg, Director of Chesapeake Artists, used with his permission….

Nati’s New CD – Take One

We left Baltimore at 7 this morning with a cool breeze at our backs as we rose into the Appalachians of Western Maryland and Pennsylvania.  The views were spectacular – crisp, well-tended fields, greener than green trees and shrubs, old farmhouses made new, and a few still pridefully exhibiting their age, and a few McMansions (built alongside an interstate!).

Our route took us west and north along Interstate 70 to Breezewood, Pennsylvania where we got on the westbound Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Beautifully carved through the mountains, including the famous Allegheny Mountain Tunnel, we passed serene mountain meadows, thickly wooded second and third growth forests replete with brooks and creeks and streams and then, once we crossed the Ohio border, things flattened out to our current location, beautiful downtown Akron, Ohio, where Main Street has been renamed “America’s Byway!”

I am currently listening to a rehearsal in what our pianist Lura Johnson describes as, “The Graveyard of Pianos,” a third story warehouse in a downtrodden, railside neighborhood whose only claim to life these days is a half-dozen “Music (read as strippers) clubs” and a hand car wash.  When we asked a fellow coming out of the warehouse where we might find a spot of lunch he proudly directed us to a McDonald’s.  Fortunately our cellphone databases advised us differently and we found the Diamond Delicatessen which furnished us with delicious wraps, fresh fruit and a parking place where we were threatened with prosecution by a local funeral director whose place of business was nowhere in sight!

Back to the warehouse. This place is the warehouse of both the Akron and Cleveland Steinway dealers. The room is about 100 feet square and filled with relics, trash and every manner and make of piano since 1900, most of them not playable.  But in one corner, there are two Steinway concert grands, gleaming in their newness.  One wall has a sign saying “Fabric Cutting Area” with no fabric in sight unless you count aging walnut, mahogany and cherry woods as fabrics.  There are more smiling keyboards here than in any dental office I have ever seen, all begging to be rehabbed – “just one more chance, PLEASE!!!” they all seem to say in a quadruple forte unison.

Nati and Lura are rehearsing the Mendelssohn sonata.  Everyone in high spirits – three off-color jokes in the first five minutes!!! Careful playing, lots of stops and redo’s. It’s the 2009 version of the first edition and it has rarely been recorded. Not too serious – loose as we would want the recording to sound – with nothing forced and every note celebrated! Sometimes it sounds like hide and seek and other times like a lullaby which I could use soon for my afternoon nap!  More later….

Lura Johnson