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Clameur Matthew Pollard Music

Recording Clameur

Writing this a week after the recording sessions for the CD Matt and I are putting together. We recorded the tracks in St Michael and All Angel’s church in Brighton, which was the same venue that we premiered the main piece This Concert Will Fall In Love With You in the Brighton Festival Fringe in May 2010. Matt was in love with the acoustics there, and our recording engineer Simon Scardanelli loved the sound there too, and made a point of recording the silence which for all kinds of philosophical reasons I loved. I remember when we first performed the piece marvelling at how the sound from Adam’s vibraphone being bowed hung in the air for seconds, like a giant wineglass being rung with a wet finger.

Musicians were Cem Muhurram, on violin, Glem Capra on piano, Tom Norrell on marimba, and Adam Bushell on vibraphone (and marimba on Clameur track). I noticed that Adam had brought a patch of carpet to stand on. Matt and I had socked feet to prevent floor squeaks. This could not prevent the odd car going past or, this being Brighton, the yarps of stray seagulls.

The recording went smoothly, and the playing was splendid on This Concert. We doubled back at took various takes, but this was very different to how I’d read about how rock bands record. As everyone knew what we were peforming and knew our pieces we sailed through it. The choir, present in the last few variations, were sounding confident too. I had naturally been rather anxious about my own part, but I was pleased with how my performance went. Simon gave me some kind of vintage microphone which made my voice sound better, and I had a slight sore throat too, which may have worked in my favour. However we’ll have to hear what we have when Matt and I start the editing process with Simon in a couple of weeks.

The two choral pieces Found, and Clameur were then recorded, while I ran through Minotaur with Glen. This was literally a last minute piece, Matt had finished the score for the morning of the rehearsal, after we’d talked about it a couple of weeks ago. By 9:00pm everyone was a bit shattered, and all of us were all quite keen to get to the pub. Full of a slightly crazed energy, Glen and I did Minotaur in one take, which for a novice like me was exhilarating. And what we recorded was the first time the piece had ever been played right through.

Next steps are to work with Simon and start to create a definitive sound for the CD. I have also been working on designing the cover, employing some photos that were taken by the excellent Adrian Turner at our final pre-recording rehearsal.

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Clameur Matthew Pollard Music

It’s ‘Clameur’

So Matt and I have agreed our CD will be called Clameur. This is the title of one of the choral pieces Matt based on my poem of the same name, which appeared in A Guernsey Double. Clameur means a cry or plea, and there is an ancient legal procedure still extant in Guernsey law called Clameur de haro. But the idea of a heartfelt cry certainly fits the empassioned nature of the main piece This concert will fall in love with you too.

Matt has begun to rehearse the choir for the three choral pieces. They have already started tackling Clameur and Adam. Last night we got together with Cem Muharren (violin), Adam Bushell (vibraphone), Tom Norrell (Marimba) and Glen Capra (piano) for our first pre-recording rehearsal for the longest piece This concert will fall in love with you. I was a bit twitchy beforehand as it is a year since we performed it for three nights only. But although a bit rusty, I felt I was picked up the threads fairly well and mostly finding my cues.

As ever a humbling and fascinating process working with professional musicians. Although everyone was relaxed and cheery, nobody messed about and biffed straight into it. I find it exhilarating, and a good antidote to the often solitary life of a writer.