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My studio CD recording (Read 4681 times)

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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My studio CD recording
« on: January 15, 2013, 10:08:13 AM »
I am delighted to announce that I have finally completed a long-standing project of mine.

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/andrewwright (digital download; physical CD sales are also available)
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/album/a-night-at-the-opera/id595897047
Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/album/3kepVMC0oyksRevfoJX1Og

(samples and info)

I'd like to thank those who have provided advice and encouragement; I really am most grateful.

The CD comprises studio recordings of nine transcriptions/paraphrases, featuring the world premiere commercial recording of Giuseppe Martucci's Concert Fantasy on La Forza del Destino. Recording made 2012, Reid Hall, Edinburgh, Steinway Model D.

Full track listing:

1. Verdi-Martucci Concert Fantasy on La Forza del Destino
2. Bellini-Thalberg A te, o cara
3. Bellini-Wright Fantasy on La Sonnambula
4. Wagner-Liszt "O, du mein holder Abendstern" from Tannhauser
5. Wagner-Liszt Isolde's Liebestod
6. Wright Thalbergiana
7. Verdi-Thalberg Concert Fantasy on La Traviata
8. Bellini-Thalberg Casta diva
9. Meyerbeer-Wright Concert Fantasy on Robert le Diable


{edited 29/01/13 to include additional sales outlets}

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #1 on: January 15, 2013, 09:58:28 PM »
I hope these fly of the shelves for you. You certainly deserve it.

I have not got very far through the disc, probably because I have listened to the Verdi-Martucci about 20 times.

Katsaris would probably be happy with this.

Good luck old boy.

Thal
Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society

Offline lloyd_cdb

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #2 on: January 15, 2013, 10:38:55 PM »
I have not got very far through the disc, probably because I have listened to the Verdi-Martucci about 20 times.

Likewise.  These are fantastic.

EDIT: I switched my repeat to your Thalbergiana.
I've been trying to give myself a healthy reminder: http://internetsarcasm.com/

Offline ted

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #3 on: January 16, 2013, 08:36:47 AM »
This CD is a superb gem, a rare and poignant glimpse into the old world, a world we would perhaps do well to revisit and learn from. For all its double standards, hypocrisy and inconsistency, its music spoke directly to the heart and from the heart, and still does today if we care to listen. It needs no explanation other than its sound.

How on earth do you get that wonderful, golden sound ? I remarked about it before and I hear it here too. Immensely expressive and articulate but not a trace of the vacuous, steely pounding so common these days in concert artists. I'm in two minds as to whether it is really just as simple as not keybedding, as you suggested before. I am more inclined to suspect it is a complex epiphenomenon you yourself might not understand. I wish I could borrow it for my improvisation.

These recordings deserve the support of all Pianostreet members.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #4 on: January 16, 2013, 08:56:46 AM »
Congratulations Andrew, a fantastic milestone in your bright career!
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
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Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #5 on: January 16, 2013, 10:45:32 AM »
Wow, thanks for these comments! I put in so much work on this project and it's very pleasing to have the end result appreciated.

This CD is a superb gem, a rare and poignant glimpse into the old world, a world we would perhaps do well to revisit and learn from. For all its double standards, hypocrisy and inconsistency, its music spoke directly to the heart and from the heart, and still does today if we care to listen. It needs no explanation other than its sound.


Ted, I so fully agree with you about the music speaking directly to the listener. It is without pretence.

How on earth do you get that wonderful, golden sound ? I remarked about it before and I hear it here too. Immensely expressive and articulate but not a trace of the vacuous, steely pounding so common these days in concert artists. I'm in two minds as to whether it is really just as simple as not keybedding, as you suggested before. I am more inclined to suspect it is a complex epiphenomenon you yourself might not understand. I wish I could borrow it for my improvisation.

I genuinely don't know where the sound comes from. I suspect being relaxed at the keyboard and thoroughly involved with the music has something to do with it, but asking me to examine my own technique, which is largely self-taught and intuitive, is profoundly difficult. Again, I agree with you about "vacuous, steely pounding" - I find some present-day pianists worryingly monochromatic.

Offline naturlaut

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #6 on: January 16, 2013, 11:57:03 AM »
Andrew, this is an amazing programme and fanstastic playing!!!  Congratulations!

I just recorded my first album too but I am using CreateSpace.  I signed up for CD Baby but somehow the distribution and the production aspects confused me, and CreateSpace seemed to be easier (and more suitable for my tiny budget).  Are you getting actual CDs produced at CD Baby too? 

Recording an album is no easy task and I congratulate you once again on a job well done!!!

Offline 49410enrique

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #7 on: January 16, 2013, 02:08:48 PM »
congrats!  can't wait to check it out, i hope it is beyond your expectations successful. keep us all updated and thanks for the mention, I will try to let others in my 'circles' know as well with some word of mouth advertising on my end.


Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #8 on: January 16, 2013, 09:56:10 PM »
Andrew, this is an amazing programme and fanstastic playing!!!  Congratulations!

I just recorded my first album too but I am using CreateSpace.  I signed up for CD Baby but somehow the distribution and the production aspects confused me, and CreateSpace seemed to be easier (and more suitable for my tiny budget).  Are you getting actual CDs produced at CD Baby too? 

Thanks. I looked at a variety of online outlets (though not CreateSpace). I liked CD Baby because they were charging a one-off fee to cover uploading and distributing the tracks, whereas the other places were charging a yearly fee. CD Baby do take 25% of your price, which was more than some of the others, but I felt that as I don't expect to sell a huge number of tracks, I would rather pay the one-off administration fee and accept the 25% charge. If I was expecting to sell a lot of tracks I might have thought differently.

I did everything to do with the CD manufacture independently of CD Baby: artwork and design I hired a graphic artist for, and I purchased my own UPC barcode and arranged the ISRC numbers for the tracks. My engineer burnt the master disc with the UPC and ISRCs included, then I sent the master disc for replication. It's in the CD Baby terms that you send them 5 discs for their warehouse if you are intending to sell physical CDs; those are currently being posted to them. I think it's the case that any time they run out of CDs they will request I send them more. That's about the only downside I can think of just now, because not living in the US, not only is that process inefficient, it's also quite expensive for postage.

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #9 on: January 16, 2013, 10:01:38 PM »
congrats!  can't wait to check it out, i hope it is beyond your expectations successful. keep us all updated and thanks for the mention, I will try to let others in my 'circles' know as well with some word of mouth advertising on my end.

Thanks; that would be very kind of you.

Offline naturlaut

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #10 on: January 17, 2013, 09:14:04 AM »
I did everything to do with the CD manufacture independently of CD Baby: artwork and design I hired a graphic artist for, and I purchased my own UPC barcode and arranged the ISRC numbers for the tracks. My engineer burnt the master disc with the UPC and ISRCs included, then I sent the master disc for replication. It's in the CD Baby terms that you send them 5 discs for their warehouse if you are intending to sell physical CDs; those are currently being posted to them. I think it's the case that any time they run out of CDs they will request I send them more. That's about the only downside I can think of just now, because not living in the US, not only is that process inefficient, it's also quite expensive for postage.

Thanks for your notes.  I am in the UK too that's why I hesitated about CD Baby.  I am sure that our main sales channel would be Amazon and/or CD Baby so either way I think you've made a good choice.

Any plans for a 2nd CD? - or Vol. 2?  :)

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #11 on: January 17, 2013, 10:04:19 AM »
It's possible that I'll do a second volume (of transcriptions). However I deliberately made selections from the pieces which I've had a lot of performance experience with, as I think performance focuses your mind on interpretation in a way that sitting at home practicing doesn't. There were five pieces on the original shortlist for the cd which would be potential pieces for next time; one is a definite whilst one I wasn't happy with as I felt I was still in the "interpretation by rote" stage where I hadn't properly evolved a personal view on it. Selection is also complicated by not wanting to over-use Liszt's pieces: yes, his transcriptions are great, but they have also all been recorded and I would prefer to concentrate on lesser-known material. Finding really good, inspired, arrangements from "lesser masters" isn't always easy.

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #12 on: January 18, 2013, 09:56:36 PM »
For those of you who have been kind enough to purchase the CD in digital form:
it occurs to me that you didn't get the sleeve notes available with the physical CD, so I have added the sleeve notes to the album notes on the CD Baby link quoted in my first post. (Please also feel free to add your reviews to the CD Baby website, should you have time: I'm not fishing for compliments, it just helps attract future sales - thanks.)

Other news: I'll be sending the CD to some critics and/or magazines - I can only hope for the best.

Offline j_menz

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #13 on: January 29, 2013, 03:10:36 AM »
Selection is also complicated by not wanting to over-use Liszt's pieces: yes, his transcriptions are great, but they have also all been recorded and I would prefer to concentrate on lesser-known material. Finding really good, inspired, arrangements from "lesser masters" isn't always easy.

Some you might consider are: Paval Pabst (Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty and a heap of others). Sergei Taneyev did a full transcription of the Nutcracker which is quite lvely - I'm guessing he did others, but am not aware of them. Alexander Siloti did heaps of transcriptions that are really wonderful. Carl Tausig did a heap, including some more from Tristan and Isolde and a great version of the Ride of the Valkyries. And Glen Gould (surprisingly, at least for me) did a number of really amazing transcriptions from Wagner.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #14 on: January 29, 2013, 06:57:10 AM »
Some you might consider are: Paval Pabst (Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty and a heap of others). Sergei Taneyev did a full transcription of the Nutcracker which is quite lvely - I'm guessing he did others, but am not aware of them. Alexander Siloti did heaps of transcriptions that are really wonderful. Carl Tausig did a heap, including some more from Tristan and Isolde and a great version of the Ride of the Valkyries. And Glen Gould (surprisingly, at least for me) did a number of really amazing transcriptions from Wagner.

I'm very fond of Earl Wild's recording of the Pabst Sleeping Beauty. Slightly perversely, it's so good it put me off learning it properly and it remains only half-learnt. I know of the Taneyev but have never looked at it in any depth. I did look at Tausig's Liebeslied but never fully convinced myself about it. I'm a bit wary of Wagner when transcribed: his textures are much denser than, for example, typical bel canto - consequently I'm not sure they translate as well to piano solo. The Ride of the Valkyries is good fun: requires a certain amount of bravery to play it in public though. I can't remember what conclusion I came to regarding the relative merits of Tausig and Brassin's versions. I wasn't aware of the Gould: indeed it does seem surprising, but then again his La valse transcription is terrific.

Offline j_menz

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #15 on: January 29, 2013, 10:20:58 AM »
The Ride of the Valkyries is good fun: requires a certain amount of bravery to play it in public though. I can't remember what conclusion I came to regarding the relative merits of Tausig and Brassin's versions.


The Tausig version isn't bad, and is indeed a lot of fun; it's not, I think the greatest transcription ever, but good enugh to be a great crowd pleaser. His other Tristan stuff is actually really good though.

I wasn't aware of the Gould: indeed it does seem surprising, but then again his La valse transcription is terrific.

I only just got the scores, and they're a real bugger to read, but my impression is that they're  some of the best Wagner transcriptions I've heard. He has a real feel for the polyphonic nature of Wagner, and the musical texture. I only became aware of these recently, but I'm amazed at how good they are.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #16 on: January 29, 2013, 10:55:00 AM »

The Tausig version isn't bad, and is indeed a lot of fun; it's not, I think the greatest transcription ever, but good enugh to be a great crowd pleaser. His other Tristan stuff is actually really good though.

I do have the other Tausig Tristan arrangements - a long time since I've looked at them. The other consideration when compiling a CD or concert program is that, for variety, you just can't have flashy virtuoso showpiece after showpiece - the listener needs time to ease off a bit. I included two pieces from Thalberg's L'art du chant collection on this CD for precisely that reason; I think there's certainly mileage in further investigation of the other pieces.

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #17 on: June 06, 2013, 12:24:25 AM »
First reviews!  ;D

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2013/June13/DL_News_2013_8.htm


(1)

A Night at the Opera
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) arr. Giuseppe MARTUCCI Concert Fantasy on La Forza del Destino, Op.1* [8:53]
Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) arr. Sigismund THALBERG A te, O cara, Op.70/1 [5:40]
Vincenzo BELLINI arr. Andrew WRIGHT Fantasy on La Sonnambula, Op.3 [8:00]
Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) arr. Franz LISZT Recitative and Romance O, du mein holder Abendstern from Tannhäuser, S444 [7:42]
Richard WAGNER arr. Franz LISZT Isolde’s Liebestod, S447 [7:48]
Andrew WRIGHT Thalbergiana, Op.1 [6:25]
Giuseppe VERDI arr. Sigismund THALBERG Concert Fantasy on La Traviata, Op.78 [8:26]
Vincenzo BELLINI arr. Sigismund THALBERG Casta diva, Op.70/19 [6:25]
Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791-1864) arr. Andrew WRIGHT Concert Fantasy on Robert le Diable [5:23]
Andrew Wright (piano) – rec. Reid Hall, Edinburgh, 5-6 September 2012.
* first commercial recording
From amazon.co.uk (mp3) or cdbaby.com (CD, mp3 or flac, with sleeve notes).

Though these transcriptions were intended by their arrangers for bravura public performance and for domestic consumption in an age before musical reproduction was available, there’s still a place for them even now when the vocal originals are so easily available on demand when they’re as well performed as they are here.

The essence of the transcriptions is for the likes of Liszt to show off their technique and there’s oodles of that on display here, but without neglecting the music’s emotional content. The only exception that I thought at first I was going to make concerns the Liebestod – initially it seemed a trifle understated, but that makes the emotional fireworks all he more effective when they explode. Though I’m not a great fan of Maria Callas, I missed her voice in Casta Diva, but this is as good as it gets in piano transcription.

One listener at Amazon has already given this a rave 5-star review and I see no reason to demur. If you’re happy to pay in dollars, however, CD Baby offers the better deal – their price of $8.49 is slightly less than amazon.co.uk’s £7.49 and though they don’t offer the pdf booklet which I received for review, they do include all the sleeve-notes on their web-page and they offer 320kb/s mp3, as received by me for review, rather than Amazon’s usual 256kb/s, and even lossless flac. The recording sounds fine, if a trifle close and Andrew Wright’s notes cast light on an area of the repertoire with which I was all too unfamiliar.

There’s an increasing tendency for artists to publish their own recordings without benefit of a label. If they were all as good as this, we wouldn’t need the record companies.


(2)

This fascinating disc brings together some well-known pieces as well as several transcriptions with which I was previously unfamiliar. The late nineteenth century composer Giuseppe Martucci wrote mostly orchestral and instrumental music and no operas which was unusual for Italian composers of the time. I found his Concert Fantasy on La Forza del Destino very convincing, especially as this is an early work by this composer. It provides plenty of opportunities for virtuosic display by the performer. Andrew Wright plays with a really glittering tone in the brilliant right hand accompanying passage-work and he also shows a good grasp of the music's episodic structure. I particularly enjoyed the first of the two Thalberg transcriptions, A te, o cara from I Puritani. This piece contains much expressive and decorative music, attractively played here by Andrew Wright who always allows the melody to sing through the texture however complex.

Liszt's transcriptions of Wagner are of course very well-known, and Wright is particularly successful with a through-composed work such as Isolde's Liebestod. There is more drama here than in those pieces which consist basically of a succession of largely unconnected themes, often associated with Italian opera of this period. However he adopts a rather slow tempo for the main theme of the Liebestod which is fine for a singer who has a better possibility to sustain the tone, something rather more difficult to achieve on a piano. However there is a real sense of drama here. Wagner, Liszt and Wright together achieve a massive climax at the music's climactic point, and Isolde's Liebestod is the highlight of the disc for me. Probably this is because the work is created from one of the greatest pieces of music of the late nineteenth century!

I felt that Wright was really at his best when performing his own arrangements. I really enjoyed his fabulous and rich sounding piano in Thalbergiana, with its judicious mix of romantic melody and pianistic acrobatics. We hear beautifully expressive playing, excitement and drama in his version of Bellini's La Sonnambula, and Wright concludes his performance with a fine flourish of powerful virtuosity. Similarly virtuosic and entertaining is Wright's Concert Fantasy on Meyerbeer's Robert le Diable, and this makes for a superb climax to a fine and interesting disc.

The entire programme is superbly and thrillingly played and the music is full of interest, including some unusual repertoire. The excellent recording copes magnificently with the vast range of tone colour and dynamics demanded by the pianist. This is a disc well worth hearing. Highly recommended.


Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #18 on: November 29, 2013, 11:28:40 PM »
I hope I can be forgiven for bumping this thread!

But.. I'm delighted to announce that the CD is going to be (re-)released next year on the Divine Art label. This follows on from the very positive reviews I've already quoted above.

To avoid confusion with Divine Art's transcription CD of the same name by Anthony Goldstone, the CD will be released under the new title of The Operatic Pianist. http://www.divine-art.co.uk/forthcoming.htm (near the bottom of the page).

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #19 on: November 29, 2013, 11:52:39 PM »
Well done old chap.

Thal
Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #20 on: November 30, 2013, 11:08:15 AM »
Thanks. It's rather nice to get some sort of "official" recognition! Plus the CD will now get circulated to trade magazines for review, etc.

Offline awesom_o

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #21 on: November 30, 2013, 07:24:08 PM »
Congratulations on completing such an impressive and original project!

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #22 on: December 01, 2013, 11:13:11 AM »
Thanks - it was a long time in the planning and making!

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #23 on: March 17, 2014, 10:24:28 AM »
The CD has now been fully re-issued through Divine Art Recordings Group.
http://www.divine-art.co.uk/CD/25113info.htm

It was reviewed in the (London) Sunday Times - I'm pleased to see the reviewer clearly liked some of the less-known material on it!

"Martucci's splendid Fantasy on Verdi's La Forza del Destino, previously unrecorded on disc, is the first in this sequence of operatic piano transcriptions that includes three plausible excursions into the 19th-century genre by Wright himself. His goal has been to bring together those virtuoso "duellists" Liszt and Sigismund Thalberg, with a special brief for the latter in his bicentenary year (2012). Thalberg's Concert Fantasy on La Traviata makes a gripping centrepiece - not least because of an immensely sustained high trill - alongside Liszt's glorious version of Isolde's Liebestod. And his rendering of Bellini's aria Casta diva sounds like a Chopin nocturne, fascinatingly reversing the direction of influence."

Offline visitor

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #24 on: July 22, 2016, 02:06:59 PM »
bump. deserves fresh eyes in light of the upcoming next release CD. Congrats again, I hope this has been selling well and your newest project refreshes things and you see an uptick on sales of this as well  :)

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: My studio CD recording
«Reply #25 on: July 22, 2016, 05:39:46 PM »
Very kind.  :) It's sold quite well considering it really is fringe repertoire. I could certainly never have anticipated that the disc would get reviewed in Fanfare, on the radio, and in the BBC Music Magazine.

For those who probably didn't see it first time round, an audio sample, with sheet music: